“Gentleman Broncos” actress speaks with the Villanovan

Brittany Epps

Actress Jennifer Coolidge, from movies such as “Legally Blonde,” “American Pie” and “Best in Show,” chatted with The Villanovan about her new film “Gentlemen Broncos.”

Director Jared Hess, famous for his comedic films “Napoleon Dynamite” and “Nacho Libre,” brings the same contemporary humor here.

In the film, Benjamin (Michael Angarano) is sent to writing camp by his mother, Judith (Coolidge). While there, he writes a science fiction novel that is stolen by a top-selling author (Jermaine Clemente) who takes his ideas and converts his book into a movie.

Jennifer Coolidge discusses her experience working with Hess and the cast members, and her career in the film industry.

Q: What was it that first attracted you to the role of Judith in this movie?

A: (Laughs). That it didn’t require an audition. They just called me on Christmas Eve asking if I wanted to do the role. I was extremely excited about it.

Q: How was it working with director Jared Hess?

A: It was better than I thought. Hess makes you feel like you aren’t working, that you can just be yourself, not that you’re not doing it for money. You’re just doing what you love. A lot of times people come to set, they’re thinking about the money aspect of it. But with him, it was just simply being yourself and having fun. It was kind of like you’re just doing a college film for fun where you can be silly.

Q: In the past, you’ve starred in multiple comedies. Are comedic roles your favorite type to play?

A: Yes. They’re also the only ones that people see fit for me to play. People have seen me in movies like “Legally Blonde” and the “American Pie” series, and they just see me as this funny woman. I would never be able to play in a dramatic movie because of that. In the film business, certain roles limit you to playing one type of character.

Q: So have you always been a comedian, for example, in school?

A: I was always really shy in school. Going to Groundlings (comedic troupe in Los Angeles) really made me break out of my shell and get to experience things from a different perspective. It was good for my experience in film because it taught me to think and to act like a man. Basically, I know it sounds strange, but that’s really what it was. You’re being a man and just letting go of your insecurities. I really developed a personality after Groundlings.

Q: What was your favorite part of the movie?

A: My favorite part was a scene that was cut short. It was when I was dressed in a genie outfit, like from “I Dream of Jeanie,” and there was a story about Ted Bundy being told. It actually was Jared’s mother’s story, and it was really sad and beautiful. In it, Jared’s mother was about to go on a date with Ted Bundy. I was sad that it wasn’t in the movie. Another scene that I loved was the snake with diarrhea. It was so hilarious, and I just had a lot of fun doing it. I tried so hard not to laugh and to be serious because you know you have to be, but it was really hard holding my laughter in at first.

Q: It must be hard doing a serious scene when you really want to laugh hysterically.

A: Yes, it is. But you know that you have to do it anyway. Once in a while there are just those jokes that you just can’t stop laughing at. It takes you a while to regain your composure. And it’s funny because I’m afraid of snakes.

Q: Did shooting the scene with a snake help alleviate your phobia of snakes?

A: A little bit. There was the snake in the movie, Peaches, that one day put his head down and started staring weirdly. It looked like it was staring directly at me. I got really scared. I was telling the other cast members, “Oh my gosh! It’s looking at me! Let’s wait a while to start filming this scene. It needs a break. It’s mad. Look at it. It’s mad!” They were trying to calm me down, but I was convinced that the snake was angry.

Q: Is there a movie you have filmed that was your favorite to do?

A: I wouldn’t say that I prefer one movie over another. I liked different aspects of different movies, and they’re all kind of in their own categories. “Best in Show” was great to film, and if I could just go back to Utah to film it, I would.