Actress Jillian Bell Talks ‘I’m Really Good’

Actress Jillian Bell Talks ‘I’m Really Good’

(left to right) Natalie Morales as Jennifer and Jillian Bell as Vanessa in the comedy ‘I’m Totally Fine,’ from Sticker. Photo courtesy of Decal.

Opening in theaters, on demand, and digital starting November 4 is the new comedy ‘I’m Totally Fine,’ directed by Brandon Dermer (‘Flatbush Misdemeanors’).

The film stars Jillian Bell as Venessa, who goes on vacation alone after her best friend Jennifer (Natalie Morales) suddenly dies. However, Vanessa is shocked when she finds Jennifer alive and claims to be an extraterrestrial.

In addition to Bell and Morales, the film also features Blake Anderson (‘Dope’), Kyle Newacheck (‘Murder Mystery’) and Harvey Guillen (‘What We Do in the Shadows’).

Actress Jillian Bell started her career with roles in popular TV shows such as ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’, ‘Workaholics,’ and ‘Eastbound & Down,’ but has appeared in successful films such as ‘Bridesmaids,’ The Master,’ ’22 Jump Street. ,’ ‘Inherent Vice,’ ‘Bill & Ted Face the Music,’ and ‘Godmothered.’

However, he is perhaps best remembered for his famous performance in the comedy ‘Brittany Runs a Marathon.’

Moviefone recently had the pleasure of speaking with actress Jillian Bell about her work on ‘I’m Totally Fine,’ how she got involved in the project, helping play Natalie Morales, changing roles, the idea of ​​having extra days with her late boyfriend, phone acting, working with director Brandon Dermer, and his love for rock band Papa Roach.

Jillian Bell as Vanessa in the comedy 'I'm Totally Fine,' from Sticker release.  Photo courtesy of Decal.

Jillian Bell as Vanessa in the comedy ‘I’m Totally Fine,’ from Sticker release. Photo courtesy of Decal.

Moviefone: First of all, how did you get involved with this project and what was your first reaction to the screenplay?

Jillian Bell: I like the script. First, I heard about the idea from Kyle Newacheck, who is a friend of mine from ‘Workaholic’, and even before that we were friends. He called me and said, “I’m trying to make this film with Brandon Dermer directing it. It’s about the fact that none of us are in control right now,” especially since the pandemic has just hit, and we’re still on lockdown.

So I said, “Well, what’s your approach?” He told me the premise of the film, which is very difficult to say in one sentence. But it was awesome, fun, unique and different. I just said, “I’d love to be in it, and let me give Natalie Morales a call. I feel like she’d be the perfect companion for this film.” He’s perfect, so I’m really glad he’s going to do it.

MF: So you played Natalie Morales yourself in this film, correct?

JB: Well, I had an idea about him and they were like, “Do you know him? Can you contact him?” I’m like, “Yeah, I’ll call him now.” So I did, and he painted the bathroom and I said, “Wait a minute. Let me give you an idea.”

I said, “Look, we shot this in 10 days. That’s it. It will pass, it will be emotional, crazy, messy and hopefully beautiful, and we will not be paid anything. Do you want to do it?” He’s like, “Yeah.” So, he’s as wild as I am.

MF: Vanessa faced a lot of sadness during the film, can you talk about your approach to playing the character and her various emotions?

JB: Well, sadly I lost my father 10 years ago. I was actually supposed to play the alien and Natalie was supposed to play mine, but when we read it, we both connected to the other. So, we were like, “Can we give you an idea? Can we play opposite roles?” Everyone is excited about it, thank goodness.

It just resonated with me on a deep level because I know what sadness feels like. I know what it looks like. I’ve experienced it firsthand, and I feel like I’ve never been able to do something like that in a movie before. So it was a huge challenge but also a very vulnerable side so I felt lucky enough to get this type of exploration and it was very therapeutic.

Jillian Bell as Vanessa and Natalie Morales as Jennifer in the comedy 'I'm Totally Fine,' from Sticker release.  Photo courtesy of Decal.

(left to right) Jillian Bell as Vanessa and Natalie Morales as Jennifer in the comedy ‘I’m Totally Fine,’ from Sticker. Photo courtesy of Decal.

MF: Has it happened to you before, where you swap roles with another actor right before you start shooting?

JB: No, not usually. I mean, I was lucky enough to get an offer for the movie, ‘Office Christmas Party.’ They wanted me to play an assistant, and I just did ‘Workaholic’ as an assistant, so I was like, “Is anyone playing a 60 year old Russian male pimp?” They’re like, “No.” I said, “Can I play that role?” They’re like, “Yeah.” So, it’s happened before, fortunately in my career, but never swapped roles, I don’t think so.

MF: This film examines the positive and negative effects of the opportunity to spend one more day with a deceased loved one. Can you talk about it and how Vanessa came to terms with Jennifer for the second time?

JB: I mean, the highlight is that you get to spend two more days with the people you love. Who wouldn’t want to do that? I think that’s part of the reason I got into the premise because if someone said, “It won’t be exactly the same, but this person has your father’s memories and looks just like your father. Would you like to spend time with them?” I would be like, “Yeah, in an instant.” I think that’s the positive.

The downside is that sometimes things are better left unsaid. I think my character finds things about his friend kept secret in order to protect the friendship. It’s part of friendship. There will always be little moments where you choose to keep a secret to be nice or to protect a friendship.

I think when you have him, in this film, it feels really weird to say but, an alien who takes that form and is very outspoken because he doesn’t know how feelings and emotions work. Obviously, he knows more than my character might expect. The problem is realizing that I’m not just saying goodbye again to my friend but to this new person or this new creature I love.

MF: Can you talk about working with Natalie Morales and seeing her create this quirky alien character?

JB: Oh, that’s very interesting. I really felt it was a fun choice he made and also the arc is really beautiful because if you watch the movie, he starts to become more human. It’s less alien and more human. I think it’s a cool choice. It’s not just one thing in the entire film. That’s why someone like Natalie, I’m like, I’d love to see her take this.

MF: How does it feel to be reunited with your ‘Workaholic’ co-stars Blake and Kyle in this film?

JB: That’s good. I mean, Blake has been cast and I’m so glad he played the part, even though we couldn’t do one thing together. All of our scenes are on the phone and I wasn’t there when he shot them and he wasn’t there for my stuff. So, we can barely be together.

But Kyle wasn’t supposed to be in it, we had a COVID scare on set and didn’t want to bring in more people. So, we were just like, who’s in this group? Obviously, Kyle would be awesome playing the weird stranger we meet on the street. So, it worked out for the best.

MF: Marlon Brando once said that acting on the phone is the most difficult type of film acting. Do you think that’s true when shooting your phone scene with Blake?

JB: Yes, I actually agree with that. There’s something that feels so disconnected when you answer the phone and then has a lot of emotion. It felt so wrong that there was a dial tone or nothing at the other end. At least if you have someone in the other room calling and actually doing the scene with you, that can really help. But that rarely happens.

We have a scene in this film where one of Natalie’s friends calls and voices for her sister during the Papa Roach scene. It was a very emotional scene. So it’s very important to have someone on the other end of the line. But if you don’t, you can feel really silly.

MF: How did it feel to be directed by Brandon Dermer and to see him carry out his vision for this project?

JB: That’s beautiful. He is one of the most beautiful people I have ever met in my life. He couldn’t be more supportive, making sure that everyone got what they needed on the scene, he was there emotionally and answered any questions. I’ve never seen him confused. He always has a great attitude and really knows what he wants, and then leaves room for creatives to just flow.

He’s also behind the scenes being very supportive of making sure he connects people with each other and making sure more opportunities come from everything, which I think is a very rare quality, especially in this industry. I don’t think everyone thinks about that all the time in their spare time.

MF: Finally, Papa Roach’s band played a big role in the film. Are you a fan?

JB: Well, I’d say I love Papa Roach. I actually have a swimsuit that says, “Cut my life into pieces. This is my swimsuit.” So, I like the band. I was a total geek when we met them.

Jillian Bell as Vanessa and Natalie Morales as Jennifer in the comedy 'I'm Totally Fine,' from Sticker release.  Photo courtesy of Decal.

(left to right) Jillian Bell as Vanessa and Natalie Morales as Jennifer in the comedy ‘I’m Totally Fine,’ from Sticker. Photo courtesy of Decal.

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