|Intro||American actress, comedian and singer (*1976)|
|A.K.A.||Ana faris, Anna Farris, Anna Kay Faris|
|Is||Actor Television actor Film actor Voice actor Film producer Singer Internet personality Podcaster|
|From||United States of America|
|Type||Film, TV, Stage & Radio Internet Music|
|Birth||29 November 1976, Baltimore, USA|
|Residence||Los Angeles, USA|
Anna Kay Faris (/ˈɑːnə ˈfærɪs/; born November 29, 1976) is an American actress, podcaster and author. She rose to prominence for her work in comedic roles, particularly the lead part of Cindy Campbell in the Scary Movie films (2000–2006). Her other films include The Hot Chick (2002), Lost in Translation (2003), Brokeback Mountain (2005), My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006), Smiley Face (2007), The House Bunny (2008), What's Your Number? (2011), The Dictator (2012), and Overboard (2018). Faris has also had voice-over roles in the film franchises Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (2009–2013) and Alvin and the Chipmunks (2009–2015), as well as The Emoji Movie (2017).
Faris had a recurring role as the birth mother to Monica and Chandler's twins in the tenth and final season of Friends (2004). She has played the co-lead role of Christy Plunkett on the CBS sitcom Mom since 2013. The show has earned the actress further critical and popular acclaim and three People's Choice Award nominations. In 2015, she launched Unqualified, an advice podcast, and in 2017, her memoir of the same name was published.
Anna Kay Faris was born on November 29, 1976, in Baltimore, Maryland, the second child of Jack, a sociology professor, and Karen Faris, a special education teacher. Both her parents, natives of Seattle, Washington, were living in Baltimore at the time of Faris' birth, as her father had accepted a professorship at Towson University. When Faris was six years old, the family relocated from Baltimore to Edmonds, Washington. Her father worked at the University of Washington as a vice president of internal communications, and later headed the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association, while her mother taught at Seaview Elementary School in Edmonds. Faris has an older brother, Robert, who is also a sociologist and professor at the University of California, Davis. In interviews, Faris has described her parents as "ultra liberal" and said that she and her brother were raised in an irreligious but "very conservative," traditional atmosphere. At age six, her parents enrolled her in a community drama class for children as they usually encouraged her to act. She enjoyed watching plays and eventually produced her own material in her bedroom with friends who lived in her neighborhood. Faris has said in interviews she often imagined her retainer talking to her, remarking that she would picture herself "on talk shows to talk about [her] talking retainer".
Faris attended Edmonds-Woodway High School (from which she graduated in 1994), and while studying, she performed onstage with a Seattle repertory company and in nationally broadcast radio plays. She once described herself as a drama-club "dork," stating that she used to wear a Christmas-tree skirt in school and did not date until senior year. "I liked guys, but no one really liked me," she recalled. She then attended the University of Washington and earned a degree in English literature in 1999. Despite her love for acting, Faris admitted she "never really thought [she] wanted to become a movie star" and continued to act "just to make some extra money," hoping one day to publish a novel. After graduating from college, Faris was going to travel to London, where she had a receptionist job lined up at an ad agency. However, she ended up living in Los Angeles "at the last minute," once she committed to the idea of pursuing mainstream acting, eventually getting the starring role in Scary Movie. At 22, she lived on her own in a studio apartment located at the Ravenswood in Hancock Park.
1980s–1990s: Early acting credits
Her parents encouraged her to pursue acting when she was young, and she gave her first professional acting performance when she was 9 years old in a three-month run of Arthur Miller's play Danger: Memory! at the Seattle Repertory Theater. For her work, Faris was paid US$250, which was "huge" for her at the time. "I felt like I was rolling in the dough," she recalled. She went on to play Scout in a production of To Kill a Mockingbird at the Issaquah, Washington, Village Theatre, and played the title character in Heidi and Rebecca in Our Town. While attending high school, Faris appeared in a frozen yogurt TV commercial. Around this time, "my third or fourth job was a training video for Red Robin, which is a burger chain out West. I play, like, the perfect hostess. And I think they still use it," she said in May 2012. Faris had a small role in the made-for-TV movie Deception: A Mother's Secret, where she played a character named Liz, and later was cast in a supporting role in the small-scale drama Eden, which was screened at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival. Faris' first major film role came shortly after college with her independent slasher film, Lovers Lane (1999), in which she played an ill-fated cheerleader. A B-movie, it received a straight-to-video release, to little attention. Critical reception towards the feature was mixed, but for her part, Faris got her early acting reviews by writers; website efilmcritic.com's Greg Muskewitz found her to be "the one center of interest" of the movie.
2000–2006: Scary Movie and breakthrough
Faris' break-out role came in 2000 when she starred in the horror-comedy parody film Scary Movie, portraying Cindy Campbell, a play on the character of Sidney Prescott (Neve Campbell) in the slasher thriller Scream. It marked her first starring credit, as she had only appeared in small and supporting parts in theater plays and low-budgeted features until then. Faris saw the experience of working on the movie as a "great boot camp" for her, as she told UK's The Guardian in 2009, explaining that she "hadn't done much before that. With those movies, you have to be so exact with your props and the physical comedy and everything, so it was a great training ground." Scary Movie was a major commercial success, ranking atop the box office charts with a US$42 million opening weekend gross. It went on to earn US$278 million worldwide. For her performance, she received nominations for the Breakthrough Female Performance and Best Kiss Awards at the 2001 MTV Movie Awards. Faris subsequently reprised her role in Scary Movie 2, released on July 4, 2001.
Her next film role was that of the lesbian colleague of a lonely and traumatized young woman in the independent psychological thriller May (2002), which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received a release in selected theaters. In its review for May, The Digital Fix found the production to be "one of the finest examples of independent American genre filmmaking" and asserted that Faris played her role "with an infectious level of enthusiasm, frequently skirting the border between a believable performance and one that is completely over the top, but always managing to come down on the right side." Later in 2002, she starred alongside Rob Schneider and Rachel McAdams in the comedy The Hot Chick, about a teenage girl whose mind is magically swapped with that of a 30-year-old criminal. Christopher Tookey of the Daily Mail described McAdams and Faris as "talents to watch, but they are let down by everything around them." The film was a modest commercial success, grossing US$54 million worldwide.
In 2003, Faris was "cast last-minute" opposite Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson in Sofia Coppola's drama Lost in Translation, where she played a "bubbly, extroverted" actress getting in with an aging actor in Tokyo. Faris felt that the film gave her the chance to get people to know her body of work a "little more," and called it "the best experience of [her] life" at the time. While Variety remarked Faris "contributes an amusing turn" as her "vacuous movie star" character, New York Times concluded that the actress, "who barely registers in the Scary Movie pictures — and she's the star — comes to full, lovable and irritating life as a live-wire starlet [...] this movie will secure her a career." Budgeted at US$4 million, Lost in Translation grossed US$119.7 million globally. Also in 2003, she portrayed Cindy Campbell for the third time in Scary Movie 3.
In 2004, Faris debuted on the last season of the sitcom Friends in the recurring role of Erica, the mother whose twin babies are adopted by Chandler and Monica, and in the summer that year, she filmed a small part in Ang Lee's drama Brokeback Mountain (2005). As her character had just "one scene in the movie," she only spent two days on set in Calgary. For the film, Faris, along with her co-stars, received a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.
Faris starred in the 2005 comedies Waiting... and Just Friends, both alongside Ryan Reynolds. Waiting... was an independent production about several restaurant employees who collectively stave off boredom and adulthood with their antics. Budgeted at US$3 million, the film made US$18.6 million, but a View London reviewer, remarking that the director had "assembled a decent comic cast," felt that "he gives them practically nothing to do. Reynolds and [...] Faris were hilarious together in Just Friends, so it's a shame that their talents are so wasted here." In Just Friends, Faris portrayed Samantha James, an emerging, self-obsessed pop singer landing in New Jersey with a formerly overweight nerd (played by co-star Reynolds), now a successful record producer. Just Friends grossed US$50.9 million around the globe, and earned Faris nominations for one MTV Movie Award and two Teen Choice Awards.
She played Cindy Campbell for the fourth and final time in Scary Movie 4, which premiered on April 14, 2006. It was initially intended to be the final chapter in the Scary Movie franchise but a fifth feature was released on April 12, 2013; she did not return to appear in the film. Also in 2006, she appeared opposite Uma Thurman and Luke Wilson in Ivan Reitman's romantic comedy My Super Ex-Girlfriend, playing Hannah, the co-worker of a man (Wilson) dating a neurotic and aggressive superhero (Thurman). While critical response towards the film was mixed, it made US$61 million worldwide, and Faris and Thurman both got a MTV Movie Award nomination for Best Fight.
2007–2012: Continued comedic roles
In Gregg Araki's independent stoner comedy Smiley Face (2007), Faris starred as Jane F, a young woman who has a series of misadventures after eating a large number of cupcakes laced with cannabis. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received a limited theatrical release in Los Angeles. Reviews were largely positive for Smiley Face and Anna's leading role; according to the film-critics aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes, writers agreed that the actress' "bright performance and Gregg Araki's sharp direction" made the film "more than [the] average stoner comedy." Her role earned her the "Stonette of the Year" prize at High Times magazine's Stony Awards.
She appeared opposite Diane Keaton and Jon Heder in the small-scale comedy Mama's Boy, playing an aspiring singer and the love interest of a self-absorbed 29-year-old (Heder). Distributed for a limited release to certain parts of the United States only, the film premiered on November 30, 2007, to lukewarm critical and commercial responses. She followed this appearance with a starring part in a mainstream feature, Fred Wolf's comedy The House Bunny. She appeared as Shelley, a former Playboy bunny who signs up to be the "house mother" of an unpopular university sorority after finding out she must leave the Playboy Mansion. Although the movie received average reviews, critics' reactions towards Faris' part were unanimously favorable, most of them agreeing, according to website Rotten Tomatoes, that she was "game" in what they called a "middling, formulaic comedy." The film was released on August 22, 2008, in the US, and made US$70 million in its global theatrical run.
Faris' first movie of 2009 was the British science fiction-comedy Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel, which follows two social outcasts and their cynical friend as they attempt to navigate a time-travel conundrum in the middle of a British pub. Faris played Cassie, a girl from the future who sets the adventure in motion. The Guardian described her appearance as a "bewildered cameo". The picture only received a theatrical release in the UK, and later had several television premiere airings across Europe.
In the black comedy Observe and Report (2009), Faris co-starred opposite Seth Rogen, portraying a bitchy cosmetic counter employee on whom Rogen has a crush. She was drawn to appear in the movie, as it gave Faris the opportunity to play an "awful character", rather than the usual "roles where you have to win the audience over or win the guy over, and be charming." Controversy arose regarding a scene where Rogen is having sex with Faris' intoxicated character, with various advocacy groups commenting that the part of the film constituted date rape. Budgeted at US$18 million, Observe and Report made US$26 million.
Faris voiced a weather intern and the love interest of a wannabe-scientist in the animated Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs as well as Jeanette Miller (one of the chipettes) in the live-action hybrid Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, both of which were box office successes. She starred in the computer-animated live-action film Yogi Bear, as a nature documentary filmmaker befriending the titular character. It was released by Warner Bros. on December 17, 2010, receiving largely negative reviews, with many critics unimpressed by the film's screenplay. The Hollywood Reporter, while admitting to find her "very talented" in its verdict, wondered "what on earth" made her agree to play her role. The film, however, made US201 million worldwide.
Faris' following film release was the retro comedy Take Me Home Tonight, about a group of friends partying in one summer night during the 1980s. Filmed in 2007, the film received a wide theatrical release four years later, on March 4, 2011, to negative reviews and lackluster box office returns. Faris, however, obtained a Teen Choice Award nomination for Choice Movie Actress – Comedy. She next had the starring part and served as executive producer of What's Your Number?, where she co-appeared alongside Chris Evans. In the movie, she played a woman who looks back at the past nineteen men she's had relationships with in her life and wonders if one of them might be her one true love. It garnered generally mediocre reviews from writers, who concluded that the "comic timing" of Faris was "sharp as always," but felt it was wasted in "this predictable, boilerplate comedy." The film was released on September 30, 2011, and made US$30 million worldwide. She also reprised her voice-over role in Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, released in December 16, 2011.
Her next film role was that of a human rights activist befriending a childish autocrat in the political satire The Dictator (2012), co-starring Sacha Baron Cohen. Faris, who was eager to work with Baron Cohen as she had been a fan of his "for years," stated that "90 percent" of the acting in the film was improvised. Upon its premiere, critics gave the film decent reviews, with Faris' role garnering a similar reception; Los Angeles Times called her "the film's standout" and stated that when "she opens her mouth, that rasp that has made her so much fun to watch (the "Scary Movie" franchise most memorably) takes hold and turns the dialogue inside out. The kind of true-believer purity she brings to Zoey's eco-terrorizing rants comes close to stealing Baron Cohen's comic thunder." The picture was a box office success, grossing US$179 million globally, and earned Faris the Star of the Year Award at the National Association of Theatre Owners.
2013–present: Mom and Unqualified
In 2013, Faris acted for the third time with then-husband Chris Pratt, following Take Me Home Tonight and What's Your Number? in a segment of Movie 43, an independent anthology black comedy that featured 14 different storylines, with each segment having a different director. The film was universally panned by critics, with the Chicago Sun-Times calling it "the Citizen Kane of awful." In the British romantic comedy I Give It a Year (2013), Faris played an old flame of a writer (Rafe Spall) who hastily tied the knot. Released shortly after Movie 43, the film received mixed reviews and was a commercial success in the UK.
Faris obtained the main role of the CBS sitcom series Mom, which debuted on September 23, 2013. Her character is Christy, a newly-sober single mom who tries to pull her life together in Napa Valley. As she landed the part, the show gave Faris, who had guest-starred in various television programs until then, her first full-time television role. Throughout its six-season run, the sitcom has become the third most-watched comedy on television, and has received generally favorable reviews; Vulture called her "the most talented comic actress of her generation," and Boston Herald critic, Mark A. Perigard wrote in his verdict: "This is dark material, yet Faris balances it with a genuine winsomeness, able to wring laughs out of the most innocuous lines." She has been nominated for one Prism Award and two People's Choice Awards.
Faris reprised her voice-role in the animated science-fiction comedy sequel Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, released in theaters four days after Mom premiered on television. Like the first film, Meatballs 2 was a commercial success, grossing US$274.3 million worldwide. The following year, she had an uncredited cameo in the closing-credits sequence of the action-comedy 22 Jump Street, appearing in a segment called 30 Jump Street: Flight Academy.
Faris and Mom co-star Allison Janney hosted the 41st People's Choice Awards, which were held January 7, 2015. In November, she launched Unqualified, a free-form advice podcast; along with producer Sim Sarna, she is the host of the show, which consists of interviews with celebrities and cultural figures, followed by personal phone-calls to listeners asking for relationship and other advice. Faris was inspired to create the podcast after listening to Serial, and explaining the evolution of the idea, she said: "I love to talk about relationships; that's all I want to talk about with my friends. And then I just thought, I kind of want a hobby [...] So I started asking around to some friends, and I asked this technical producer guy what equipment I should buy on Amazon. And I just started recording my friends when they would come over. And then with my dear friend Sim, we started flushing out the whole thing, which clearly there's still a lot more flushing out to do. It started out as a dinky hobby." As of May 2018, 122 episodes have been released.
Faris reprised her voice-over role in The Road Chip, the fourth installment in the Alvin and the Chipmunks film series. In 2016, she had a brief appearance as an exaggerated version of herself in the action-comedy Keanu, and starred in the music video for the song "Hold On To Me" by Mondo Cozmo. In 2017, Faris voiced one of the lead characters, Jailbreak, in the CG animated comedy The Emoji Movie, which was universally panned by critics.
Faris published her first book, Unqualified, in October 2017; it was described as part "memoir—including stories about being "the short girl" in elementary school, finding and keeping female friends, and dealing with the pressures of the entertainment industry and parenthood—part humorous, unflinching advice from her hit podcast." The memoir became one of the "top 20 blockbuster books of autumn," according to Amazon, and received a positive critical response; The New York Times found the book to be "goofily self-deprecating, casually profane and occasionally raw, earnest and blunt, like Ms. Faris herself," and The Ringer remarked: "Unqualified is observant, sharp, and startlingly revealing, not only about Faris's romantic history, but of the broader discrepancies between modern male and female Hollywood stardom writ large."
In Overboard (2018), a remake of the 1987 film of the same name starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Faris played a single, working-class mother who convinces a spoiled wealthy playboy (Eugenio Derbez) suffering from amnesia that they are married. While publications such as Indie Wire and Film Inquiry praised the chemistry between Derbez and Faris, most critics felt that the film made "poor use of the ever-charming" Faris. Her first leading film role since 2011's What's Your Number, Overboard was a commercial success, grossing over US$91.2 million worldwide.
During her career, Faris has become notable for her prevalent comedic work and has been called one of the "most talented comic actresses" of her generation by several publications. Cosmopolitan magazine named her "the Cosmo's Fun Fearless Female of the Year" in 2010, and Tad Friend described her in The New Yorker as "Hollywood's most original comic actress." A Vulture article called Faris "her generation's Goldie Hawn" and she has been often compared to comedian Lucille Ball. The Wrap likening her to Ball, asserted the actress "has impeccable timing and isn't afraid to cast dignity aside in pursuit of a hardy laugh," while NPR described her as "Hawn's heir apparent—a modern-day Lucille Ball with an up-for-anything mania and a gift for the low arts of slapstick and pulling faces."
Although various of her movies have been critically panned or flopped at the box office, Faris remains often acclaimed for her portrayals in most of them; The A.V. Club once stated it was a "pleasure to watch" Faris on screen and described her as "a gifted, likeable comedian who tends to be the best element of many terrible movies." Slate magazine's Dana Stevens wrote in her review for Faris' vehicle What's Your Number?: "More than any contemporary comedienne I can think of [...] Faris demonstrates this fearless anything-for-a-laugh quality. It would be wonderful to see her in a movie that tested the limits of that audacity, rather than forcing her to tamp it down." Most critics agree that her 2007 independent comedy Smiley Face remains one of her best films; Los Angeles Times remarked that this film was "an opportunity for the actress to show that she can carry a movie composed of often hilarious nonstop misadventures. No matter how outrageously or foolishly Faris' Jane behaves, she remains blissfully appealing—such are Faris' fearless comedic skills and the freshness of her radiant blond beauty."
Faris has appeared on the covers and photo sessions of several magazines throughout her career; she graced the September 2000 cover of Raygun, and in subsequent years the list has included Playboy, Self, Cosmopolitan, among others. She was featured in GQ UK's June 2001 pictorial of "Young Hollywood." She has been listed as No. 57, No. 39, No. 42 and No. 44 in Maxim magazine's "Hot 100" in 2004, 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively. In 2009, she was ranked No. 60 in FHM's "100 Sexiest Women in the World," and ranked No. 96 on the same list in 2010. Ask Men also featured her as No. 78 on its 2009 "100 Most Desirable Women in the World" list.
Faris started dating actor Ben Indra shortly after they met on the set of the 1999 indie slasher film Lovers Lane. They married in June 2004. Faris filed for divorce in April 2007 citing irreconcilable differences. As part of their divorce agreement, which was finalized in February 2008, she agreed to pay Indra $900,000 in addition to other property and acting royalties.
During her 2008 divorce from Indra and after filming The House Bunny, Faris got breast implants, which she first revealed in an interview with The New Yorker in April 2011. She said that she felt "sexy" wearing a padded bra to play a Playboy bunny and that her decision "wasn't a career thing—it was a divorce thing." She has since been open about her augmentation, saying in her memoir Unqualified that she had previously been "insecure" about her breasts. In an April 2018 interview with Women's Health, Faris said that she is "still floored that I did it, because I am a staunch feminist. I kept thinking, 'Am I betraying my own gender by doing this?'... But it came down to a really simple thing: I wanted to fill out a bikini. What would that feel like?... It was fucking awesome."
Faris met actor Chris Pratt in early 2007 at the table read in Los Angeles for the film Take Me Home Tonight; in the film, their characters were love interests. They started dating shortly after, became engaged in late 2008, and married on July 9, 2009, in a small ceremony in Bali, Indonesia, eloping on a whim after a friend's wedding. The couple have a son, Jack, who was born in August 2012, nine weeks premature. He spent a month in intensive care before going home. The family lived in the Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles. On August 6, 2017, the couple announced their separation, and filed for divorce on December 1, 2017. On October 16, 2018, it was announced that their divorce had been finalized.
In November 2019, during Thanksgiving dinner, Faris and her guests began experiencing mysterious health symptoms in a Lake Tahoe rental cottage. Local first responders detected carbon monoxide levels six times the recommended maximum.
|2003||Lost in Translation||"Nobody Does It Better"||Emperor Norton Records|
|2005||Just Friends||"Forgiveness"||New Line Records|
|2005||Just Friends||"Love from Afar"||New Line Records|
|2007||Mama's Boy||"Old-Fashioned Girl"||Lakeshore Records|
|2007||Mama's Boy||"Bad Bath and Bullshit"||Lakeshore Records|
Awards and nominations
|2001||MTV Movie Awards||Best Kiss||Scary Movie||Nominated|
|2001||Breakthrough Female Performance||Scary Movie||Nominated|
|2004||Fangoria Chainsaw Awards||Best Supporting Actress (third place)||May||Won|
|2006||Screen Actors Guild||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||Brokeback Mountain||Nominated|
|2006||MTV Movie Awards||Best Kiss||Just Friends||Nominated|
|2006||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Hissy Fit||Just Friends||Nominated|
|2006||Choice Liplock||Just Friends||Nominated|
|2006||Fangoria Chainsaw Awards||Chick You Don't Wanna Mess With (Best Heroine)||Scary Movie 4||Nominated|
|2007||MTV Movie Awards||Best Fight||My Super Ex-Girlfriend||Nominated|
|2007||Stony Awards||Stonette of the Year||Smiley Face||Won|
|2009||MTV Movie Awards||Best Comedic Performance||The House Bunny||Nominated|
|2011||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie Actress – Comedy||Take Me Home Tonight||Nominated|
|2012||National Association of Theatre Owners||Star of the Year Award||The Dictator||Won|
|2014||People's Choice Awards||Favorite Actress in a New Television Series||Mom||Nominated|
|2014||Online Film and Television Association||Best Actress in a Comedy Series||Mom||Nominated|
|2014||Prism Awards||Performance in a Comedy Series||Mom||Nominated|
|2014||Behind the Voice Actors Awards||Best Vocal Ensemble in a Feature Film||Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2||Nominated|
|2016||People's Choice Awards||Favorite Comedic Television Actress||Mom||Nominated|
|2017||People's Choice Awards||Favorite Comedic Television Actress||Mom||Nominated|