The monstrously talented and naturally killer cool actress Elizabeth Banks has teamed up with Nestle to celebrate the launch of the Nestle Crunch Girl Scout Candy Bars (modeled after the iconic and tantalizing to the 10th power Girl Scout cookies. Seriously - mmm). Banks took a time-out from Nestle Crunch Girl Scout Candy Bar-land to talk about everything from her favorite part about being a Girl Scout (hint: It was a talent she learned that came in handy while filming Seabiscuit) ...to her Ivy League strategy to competing/dominating in The Hunger Games...to the coolest off-camera moment from her upcoming film People Like Us.
MM: Elizabeth Banks – superstar actress and former Girl Scout?
Elizabeth Banks: Yes, I was both a Brownie and a Girl Scout! The Girl Scouts are just an incredible organization. The camaraderie, leadership, life skills. Why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that? I’m such a fan of Girl Scouts.
I’m also really excited that Nestle has teamed up with Girl Scouts. They took two years to develop some pretty amazing crunch bars. My favorite Girl Scout cookie is the samoa. I have to report that the caramel and coconut Nestle crunch bar tastes exactly like a samoa!
MM: How many caramel and coconut crunch bars have you eaten?
EB: I’ve eaten more than I want to tell you about. They come in little bite size so you think you’re not eating a lot but really it’s three times as many!
MM: What’s your favorite memory about being a Girl Scout?
EB: My sister was a Girl Scout, too and she’s 13 months younger than me. We were very competitive over badges. It was a fight to get the most badges [laughs]. I also learned to ride a horse. I grew up in a working class family and I wouldn’t have had that opportunity without the Girl Scouts. I used that skill when I came to Hollywood and rode a horse in “Seabiscuit.”
I also went on my first overnight camping trip. Again, I wouldn’t have had that opportunity to do that without Girl scouts.
MM: Oh, hello camping question! Can you start a fire with your bare hands?
EB: The big secret of my Girl Scout experience is that I get what it is physically to start a fire, but I’m not good with the friction part. I wasn’t able to get it done [laughs]. Other girls would get the fire started and I was really good at blowing on the fire and gathering kindling [laughs].
MM: Your new film, People Like Us, looks 1,000% incredible, moving and funny. What do you love about the story?
EB: There are so messages of the movie I love. Like forgiveness. The message that your past doesn’t determine your future. If you’ve been damaged you can forgive and move on. My character, Frankie, has trouble asking for help. I like how the film emphasizes that you need people, and to make connections. You can’t choose your family, but you can choose to love them. We’re pack animals, we’re not meant to be loners.
MM: What’s your favorite off-camera memory?
EB: The truth about making movies is that it’s not very glamorous, but we found a glamorous day driving along the coast in Malibu in a convertible. It was me, Chris Pine, and Michael Hall D’addorio. There were no cameras, we could blast music and improv and be silly. The picture from the film’s poster is from that day. We really were that happy [laughs]. It was one of those perfect days.
MM: The coolest part about The Hunger Games is your character’s [Effie Trinket] accent. Do you slip into it sometimes and leave voicemails on friends’phones a la Effie?
EB: It feels like cheating! It belongs to Effie. I haven’t done it since filming.
MM: You’re a UPenn magna cum laude grad. If you were competing in The Hunger Games, what would be your Ivy League strategy?
EB: Be like Mike Tyson [laughs]. He bites ears, I’d bite hands. Bite hands all off.
MM: You’re so prolific. The Hunger Games, Man on a Ledge, What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What type of project would you kill to do next?
EB: I love great literature. I’d love to do Shakespeare or a musical. There are lots of boxes unchecked I want to do.
MM: You directed an upcoming Farrelly Brothers project? Tell…everything!!!
EB: The Farrelly Brothers created a series of shorts and I directed one and was the only female director. I think my short is the best of all clips [laughs]! I got very lucky and worked with actress Chloe Moretz. I adore her.
MM: You’re the one, the only, the superstar Elizabeth Banks! But did you ever have a freak-out moment when you were first starting out in Hollywood - and how did you bounce back and power through to become said one, only and superstar Elizabeth Banks?
EB: I have these moments every day [laughs]! The entire industry is built on "no." You have to work past it.