The Island of Isla Fisher

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PHOTOGRAPHER: Viktorija Pashuta | @viktorija_pashuta

PRODUCED BY: Jackson Chong | @jacksonchong_

PRODUCER: Tanya Quenko | @quenko

STYLIST: Jennifer Mazur | @jennifermazurstyle

MUA: Sabrina Bedrani | @thewallgroup

HAIR STYLIST: Chad Wood

STYLIST ASSISTANT: Jesse J. Guillien | @jessejcollections

VIDEOGRAPHER: Cameron Dunbar

PHOTO ASSISTANT: Alex Vinaja

RETOUCHER: Valeria Golynkina | @golynkina

ART DIRECTOR: Roberta Hall | @robertadeehall

SPECIAL THANK YOU TO: The Box House | @The_Box_House, Matt Wayne and Katerina Fedosova

Australian actress and author Isla Fisher, has warmed the hearts of film aficionados with her eccentric humor and vibrant charisma. A woman of strength, authenticity and pure joy, Fisher has a natural flair for comedy and an earnest appreciation for life and all of its wonders. From roles including the bipolar nympho maniac of Wedding Crashers to the inspirational Rebecca Bloomwood of Confessions of a Shopoholic and the fierce Myrtle Wilson of The Great Gatsby, Fisher has established herself as one of Hollywood’s most gut-busting, yet eloquent personalities.

You spent early childhood in Scotland, moved to Australia where you started your acting career appearing in commercials and have been in the entertainment industry for over 20 years now. Tell us a little bit about your upbringing and what got you into acting. 

ISLA FISHER: I come from a complicated culture because I was born in the Middle East with Scottish parents and then I immigrated to Australia when I was six. My accent used to be kind of English, but I was in Australia with my red hair, so I felt like I didn’t really belong anywhere. I remember as a kid, my mom taught amateur dramatics and she did a production of Twelfth Night and I just remember waiting in the wings when she got ready. When she sang her solo, I just thought it was exciting and magical, so I am sure that was one of the reasons I wanted to go into acting was watching her do plays. I also grew up being obsessed with Elvis Presley and I thought that if you become an actor you get to meet him, but I wasn’t made aware that he was dead.

Your latest film, The Beach Bum, is being released on March 29th. Tell us a little bit about this project and how it was working with such an eccentric cast, including Zac Efron, Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey.

ISLA FISHER: I play the wife of Moondog, who is inhabited by the incredibly talented Matthew McConaughey. He really does such an incredible job in this role. It’s like it was made for him. We have this extremely loving relationship, extremely boundary-less. They sort of have this totally free, non-conformist attitude. They don’t care what society thinks. They aren’t conservative. They are bohemian in every way. They indulge in drugs and they aren’t monogamous, but they are passionate about each other and passionate about having a good time. My character’s name is Minnie and she’s incredibly wealthy. She is from old, old money and kind of funds their lifestyle which is decadent and indulgent. It was a lot of fun to play. I also got to do some scenes with Snoop Dogg which was a total blast and it was wonderful to work with Harmony Korine, who directed the film. I’ve always loved his films and his aesthetic, the way he puts colors together and shoots things and the lenses he uses on his camera. The way he approaches a scene is so unusual. We’ll shoot in one way and then the exact same scene we will shoot again in a totally different location, but in the same costumes and then he breaks it apart and leaves room for so much improvisation. I really enjoyed every minute of it. 

You have starred in over 30 films. What has been your most rewarding film and most challenging film to work on and why?

ISLA FISHER: I think one of the most challenging films to work on was Hot Rod. Even though it was such a fun movie and I loved working with the guys, it was the first time in comedy where I played the straight man and it was quite frustrating to watch all of the guys make jokes. I remember feeling very jealous of all the boys doing improv while I sort of had to ground the story. I’m older now and I have made more comedies and really understand the importance of a great straight man. You need a straight man so the other person can make the jokes, you know? But that was my first experience with it. So even though I loved that movie and am so proud of it, I still remember that it was a challenge because I wanted to tap into my inner idiot and say stupid things, but I couldn’t. Rewarding is such an interesting word because all the roles I play are rewarding and have changed my life in some way. I’ve gotten to explore something emotionally within every character, which has helped me later in life. But I think maybe I really enjoyed The Great Gatsby. It’s not just because I was always obsessed with the book and had to read it in school, and actually, every time I read it I feel like I identify with a different character for a different reason. But playing Myrtle, who is such an iconic character and what she represents in terms of class and just being an outsider, I really loved playing her. And Baz Luhrmann has always been my dream director. Working with him was incredible. 

You have played a variety of roles from the hilarious Gloria Cleary in Wedding Crashers to the spectacular Myrtle Wilson of The Great Gatsby. How do you pick the projects you work on?

ISLA FISHER: I would say that before I had kids, it was very obviously based on the director. If it was a great director, even if the role wasn’t amazing, I would take it because I’m a student of film. I love to be the dumbest person in the room and learn from everyone else around me, just keeping up with everyone. I love that feeling. Now that I have babies, to be honest, the first thing is location, then director. I can’t really pull my tiny people out of school and drag them around the world. They’ve got their own education to consider and I’m not inclined to do that anymore. As for the role, it’s funny because in a way, when you get to a certain point as an actor, and I don’t even know if this is a point or just subjective, but they tend to offer you more stuff than you tend to audition for, and in a way it’s confusing because you think, I want to audition, I really want to know I can play this character and how I get along with the director. But when it’s just offered to you, you’re sort of taking a leap of faith. It may not be the right match for you, but with the role, I tend to kind of just trust the fear. The more afraid I am to play somebody, I feel like the better maybe I might be at that person. And once you play the crazy person in a comedy, they sort of always think of you in that role and they’ll offer you every kind of crazy person in comedy. But you always want to be expanding as an actor and try to in-habit as many emotional landscapes as possible because it’s just more exciting and challenging.

You released your first children’s book Marge in Chargein 2016, the first of a three-part middle school book series. Since then, you’ve released a couple new ones including Marge and the Great Train Rescue and Marge in Charge and the Stolen Treasure. Tell us about what prompted you to begin writing children’s books and what the creative process was like.

ISLA FISHER: Well firstly, I’ve always felt that there’s only so long you can survive on impressions of your children’s friend’s parents or pretending to be Peppa the Pig, oinking around my kid’s bedrooms at night time before I needed new material. So, I just thought I’d make up stories in a funny voice and Marge just kind of appeared. She’s this naughty babysitter who breaks the rules that mommy leaves for her. She just became a hit at bedtime so I was kind of doing it for my family. And also, I felt like it would make kids want to read more, you know? It was kind of like a missed opportunity during the transitional phase of reading before kids were ready for more sophisticated authors like Roald Dahl or Francesca Simon. I just wanted to create material that would engage young readers and push them beyond their years socially and emotionally. I just feel like all I see now in restaurants or just when I’m out, are kids on tablets or phones. And you know, how can words on a white page compete with music and bright images on the screens, but I feel passionately about reading and I want kids to love it as much as I do. When I was growing up I felt like books really helped get me through tough times in my life and I want kids to have the same experience. As a mother, author and A-list actress, it must be a challenge at times, juggling both family life and big screen roles.

You have three children. How do you stay centered? What keeps you ambitious and motivated to continue your professional endeavors?

ISLA FISHER: I would say that I really, really love acting and writing. It’s something that gives me so much happiness and a creative outlet. In some ways I prefer writing because obviously I don’t have to travel and I get to play all the characters in my head, versus when I’m acting I only get to play one. But it’s a really hard balance. I had last year off completely from both and it was really wonderful. And I definitely feel that as the kids get older, homework increases and playdates increase and it gets really challenging. I must be honest, I have to remind myself to kind of keep a toe in business stuff because you know, there will be days before I check emails because I am trying to catch up with my family. And a lot of it is conscious. The kids are only small for so long and they only need you in a certain way for so long, so you don’t want to miss a single moment really.

Where do you see your career heading in the near future? Is there any special projects you are currently working on that you can share with us? 

ISLA FISHER: I have another movie coming out called Greed with Steve Coogan. We shot it at the end of last year and I’m really excited about it, but I haven’t seen it yet. But it was wonderful to work with Michael Winterbottom. And then I just finished working on a top-secret project, which I can’t mention unfortunately, but I had a lot of fun shooting that. And this year, at the moment, I’ve got a couple of things around summer time and I don’t really know how it’s shaping up, but we will see. 

Out of all the characters you have played throughout your career, which one would be your best friend in real life?

ISLA FISHER: I think April from Definitely Maybe

What is your favorite thing in your closet right now?

ISLA FISHER: Oh, goodness. I’ve got a pair of mom jeans from MOTHER and I love them.

Tell us about one of the most romantic things Sacha Baron Cohen has ever done for you?

ISLA FISHER: I would say, staying with me for the last, almost 19 years. It’s incredibly romantic! It’s not a one-off thing; he’s still here. He’s lasted this long!

What is the biggest misconception about you?

ISLA FISHER: Oh, goodness, that I’m Amy Adams.

QUICKIES:

HOT OR COLD? Hot

BURGERS OR TACOS? Burgers 

BLACK OR WHITE? Black

CLASSIC OR MODERN? Classic

CAKE OR CUPCAKES? Cupcakes

PANCAKES OR WAFFLES? Pancakes

FROZEN YOGURT OR ICE CREAM? Frozen Yogurt

PANDAS OR WHALES? Whales

DRESS OR BLOUSE? Dress

SIMPSONS OR FAMILY GUY? Simpsons

ORANGE CHICKEN OR CURRY? Curry 

NIGHT OR DAY? Night

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