Lake Bell is “triple threat” as writer, director and star for “In A World...”

SHARE Lake Bell is “triple threat” as writer, director and star for “In A World...”
SHARE Lake Bell is “triple threat” as writer, director and star for “In A World...”

Actress Lake Bell (“Children’s Hospital,” “What Happens in Vegas,” “It’s Complicated”) also showcases her talents as a “triple threat” as she directed, wrote and starred in “In a World…,” her film about the world of movie trailer voice-overs, opening Friday.

During a recent Chicago visit, Bell talked about where she got the idea, how the voice-over industry — especially the movie-trailer part of it — is completely dominated by men, and why her film also delves into that tricky area: a child competing with her father.

BZ: How in the world did you come up with the idea of this film — clearly the first time anyone has made a movie about movie trailer voice actors.

LB: The germ of the idea was just sort of organic. I was always interested in voice overs. I liked it because it is sort of the ultimate acting — because it’s just the voice, the blind voice. You can be any characterization. You’re not judged by what you look like. You could be any gender, any nationality, any gender for that matter. … Here’s a fun fact: In my movie Ken Marino’s character, Gustav, is constantly on the speaker-phone with his big, fat, old Jewish dude-agent named Siegel. And that’s me on the speaker-phone!

That’s not a character that I normally get cast as, I don’t think!

So that’s the kind of freedom of it, and I was always enthralled by that and inspired by that. … As a kid, I was a person who collected accents. Some kids collected stamps. I collected accents, because I had a good ear and figured I could use that later as an actress — and I have.

BZ: The film clearly focuses on how the movie trailer voice business is very male-centric. Was that important to you?

LB: It’s just how it is. In the movie trailer industry, the omniscient voiceover position is dominated by men — and that’s no exaggeration. That’s no hyperbole. It is all males. I would challenge anyone to think of a movie trailer that they had heard recently, and they heard a female voice on it. The last one, that I can think of is Melissa Disney — she did the “Gone in 60 Seconds” trailer. It’s pretty cool. But it’s a rarity.

BZ: A key theme in “In A World…” is your character Carol and your dad, Sam, played by Fred Melamed lock horns, because you are competing in the same profession. Why was that important for you to include?

LB: The father-daughter competition story was something that I found unique and interesting to investigate mainly because, for obvious reasons we all think of “daddy’s little girl” as being a favorite. Maybe you’ll see a competition between fathers and sons or mothers and daughters in films or plays, but I was sort of excited about investigating that father-daughter rivalry, and also the concept that a parent could feel jealousy, instead of pride, for their child’s success. That is sort of tragic, but it’s also hilarious because it’s surrounding hubris. When egos get blustery, it’s always kind of fun.

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