When in Rome - Kristen Bell
Beth (Kristen Bell) © Touchstone Pictures

Kristen Bell stars in >When in Rome as Beth, an ambitious New Yorker who, fed up with romance, steals three coins from an alleged fountain of love, while she is in Rome for her sister’s wedding, only to discover the three men who threw the coins in, a street magician (Jon Heder), a painter (Will Arnett) and a sausage magnate (Danny DeVito) are passionately pursuing her. But when a handsome reporter named Nick (Josh Duhamel) also starts romancing her, she has no idea if the love is real.

Best known for her roles in TV’s Veronica Mars and Heroes, Kristen Bell has also done several romantic comedies including Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Couples Retreat. She spoke with us about her new film and the ongoing question from her fans … is Veronica Mars ever going to be a movie?

How did you and Josh Duhamel build your relationship for this?

When in Rome - Kristen Bell and Anjelica Huston
Beth (Kristen Bell) and Anjelica Huston © Touchstone Pictures

It’s a difficult thing to capture. I’ve seen a ton of movies where I’ve believed the couple, and a ton of movies where I have not believed them at all. As an audience member you check out if you don’t believe them, so we knew it was important and I think that’s something you trust your director Mark Steven Johnson with, to just capture those moments.

Josh and I got along so well from the beginning that I think it was just natural that it read as romantic chemistry. It’s kind of a crap shoot. You have to hope for the best. You really don’t know until you’re in the editing booth and Mark figures out whether we captured it.

We shot the wedding scene [where their two characters meet] very, very late in the game and we had already established a friendship and so it was much easier to connect immediately. I think the [order] in which you shoot is really beneficial to your actors sometimes. So, I think we lucked out there.

What was it about this movie that attracted you to the project?

When in Rome - Jon Heder, Mark Steven Johnson and Kristen Bell
Jon Heder (Back To Camera), Director Mark Steven Johnson and Beth (Kristen Bell) © Touchstone Picture

What I liked about this is it’s not the girl chasing the guy which you so often see; the sad, downtrodden girl who is chasing after the guy all the time and revolving around his world; this was the opposite. Who wouldn’t want all of these guys chasing after them, so I thought, ‘Okay, I’ll do it’.

How was the experience for you on this film being the straight man to all your comedy co-stars like Danny DeVito, Will Arnett and Jon Heder?

Being surrounded by those guys is so flattering because they all have a style of comedy that I really envy and I laugh out loud at them often. I was grateful for the opportunity. I’m glad they had the faith in me to pull it off and I tried to do the best I could.

Your character doesn’t believe in magic or superstition. How about yourself?

I’m not very superstitious at all. I never have been. No. I walk under ladders. Who cares?

Are you as klutzy as your character Beth?

When in Rome - Kristen Bell, Alexis Dziena and Peggy Lipton
Beth (Kristen Bell), Joan (Alexis Dziena) and Priscilla (Peggy Lipton) © Touchstone Pictures

Luckily for me, the character was written fairly klutzy. People embarrass themselves on a daily basis. I know I do. This character did a lot, which I think makes her likable and also leaves room for a lot of funnies. I’m very klutzy in real life to begin with and we just captured that on film. There wasn’t much training or stunt-coordinating going on. I would just trip and Mark would just happen to be rolling the camera and we put it in the movie.

Fans of the TV show are still asking if there will be a Veronica Mars movie.

The way it stands now, from the information I have is that Rob Thomas wrote the treatment and brought it to Warner Brothers and Joel Silver and Warner Brothers said, ‘There’s no enthusiasm to make a Veronica Mars movie at this point,’ which means they don’t think they can sell tickets. I think the Veronica Mars fans would say otherwise.

It’s a matter of convincing them that people would see it which I know some of the online groups that are so dedicated are trying to do which is awesome but, at this time, we have no control. One day Rob and I will just shoot it in his backyard. I’m positive of that.

Judy Sloane

Judy is Film Review Online's regular Los Angeles based reporter.

One reply on “When in Rome – Kristen Bell on working with comedy co-stars”

Comments are closed.