Aussie actress Isla Fisher admits to having little in common with Rebecca Bloomwood, the garment-infatuated character she plays in Confessions of a Shopaholic. Bubbly Miss Bloomwood is an aspiring fashion journalist with dreams of landing a job at publishing powerhouse Alette (think: the fictional incarnation of Vogue), and her wardrobe reflects her dedication to all things sartorial. Unfortunately, so do her credit card bills. Tens of thousands of dollars in debt, Becks spends her days dodging a dogged creditor and toiling away at Successful Savings, a magazine which shares space in the same building as Alette. There she feigns investment aptitude and swoons for her rough-around-the-edges superior, Luke Brandon (Hugh Dancy).
With her hair perfectly coiffed and a form-fitting dress hugging her petite figure, Fisher bewitched journalists and sweetly smiled as she fielded questions about the film. Read on to learn about her newfound fashion discoveries and the one item she just can’t say “no” to in a department store.
What was your most fun fashion discovery while filming?
The most fun fashion discovery was [learning] to use a lot of color. I’m fairly conservative normally and I just felt like [costume designer] Patricia Field brought out the color in me. I now love to wear color.
People who haven’t read the book might think that this is a Prada-[esque] movie about conspicuous consumption, and hence couldn’t come at a worse time. But actually it’s a rehab movie about controlling conspicuous consumption. How do you view this movie with the zeitgeist and the fanbase that will see the film?
Well, obviously this movie was conceived during a different economic period and the lessons that Rebecca Bloomwood learns in the movie are those we have all been learning recently. So, it seems very topical. I’m proud of the responsible way that we handle it at the end of the movie, and in regards to the fanbase, it’s always been a comic dream of mine to attempt to seduce a man during a dance that is actually repulsive [as in one scene]. The opportunity of doing that arose during this movie and I embraced it.
Were you doing any of the choreography or were you following somebody?
They are, I am embarrassed to admit, my own moves.
I’ve always been the clown of my family, and I’m just fortunate that I get paid to do that now.
Which item of clothing or anything could you not pass by?
There’s nothing material that I can’t pass by. Maybe underwear. In general, underwear. Not such a good look, not having underwear.
There were some really special outfits in the movie. When choosing outfits did you work with Patricia on choosing some of them?
Patricia was extremely collaborative, and I had only one request: that I wanted Becky to have extremely high heels so she could teeter. I think there’s nothing funnier than a comedic character teetering, and the impractically of wearing something that clearly is uncomfortable, but she’s a shopaholic so she has to have [heels]. Patricia is so creative and she clearly knows what she’s talking about. She did the costumes for Sex and the City, The Devil Wears Prada. I kind of let go and let her guide me. I really enjoyed the process. In the beginning I couldn’t understand why we spent 40 minutes discussing a belt. I was so frustrated. And then halfway through I suddenly began to understand that there was a science to it.
How did you develop this talent of physical comedy?
Actually, I trained at a theater school called Jacques Lecoq in Paris where Simon McBurney, who was a very famous clown, trained. Technically I learned skills there, but just personally I’ve always been the clown of my family. I’ve always enjoyed mucking about, and I’m just fortunate that I get paid to do that now.
Can you talk about going from being one of a cast to having all the focus on you?
Obviously I’m very surprised and eternally grateful to Jerry Bruckheimer and completely bewildered as to how lucky I am to [have been] chosen to have my own movie. I definitely felt far more responsible for the tone of the movie than you do as a supporting cast member. Playing a beloved character from a book that is extraordinarily successful, knowing that she is now going to be American, and wanting to capture the essence of her as properly as I could added more pressure, but ultimately if you have an incredible producer like Jerry Bruckheimer behind you and the cast—it was just an amazing, rewarding creative experience for me.