Elizabeth Banks, star of “Walk of Shame,” attended a preview screening of the new comedy-misadventure last week at The Theatres at Canal Place in New Orleans. The movie opens in select cities and is available from video on demand Friday.
In “Walk of Shame,” Banks, whose often comic previous film work includes “Pitch Perfect,” “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “The Hunger Games” movies, plays a TV news anchor who finds herself adrift on the mean streets of Los Angeles after she’s separated from her phone, credit cards, ID and car.
The night before the day of her ordeal, Banks’ character, Meghan Miles, borrows a tight, short, blazingly bright yellow dress for a night out with her two best girlfriends. The morning after, with no easy way home, she’s stuck in the yellow dress, which makes her walk of shame through L.A. all the more conspicuous.
Banks walked, ran, tumbled and bicycled in the yellow dress for nearly 50 days of “Walk of Shame’s” shoot. At Canal Place, a dozen or so young women from a local modeling agency showed up in yellow dresses in recognition of the actress’ primary costume.
Writer-director Steven Brill (“The Mighty Ducks,” “Mr. Deeds”) crafted the role of Miles with Banks, his friend for more than 10 years, in mind.
“As I was writing the script,” Brill says in the “Walk of Shame” production notes, “I was thinking, ‘She would be incredible as Meghan!’ It’s a demanding role and I wanted her to take the lead.”
The part turned out to be a great fit, Banks said at Canal Place.
“I love that he wrote such a fun role for a woman,” she said. “You always have to see something in characters that you play. I spent my 20s in New York City, a very walkable city, and spent a lot of nights, early mornings, walking home.”
Banks and Brill are fans of an earlier film with a similar story, Martin Scorsese’s 1985 comedy with Griffin Dunne and Rosanna Arquette, “After Hours.”
“We both love ‘After Hours,’ ” Banks said. “I was so inspired by that film and just loved updating that kind of story, setting it in L.A., and being able to make a movie where I live.”
Her character in “Walk of Shame,” Banks said, is trying to gain a foothold amid the chaos into which she unexpectedly plunges.
“I understood that place where you lose control of your life and you’re just trying to get some of it back,” she said. “That’s really where this character lives.”
As bad as being separated from her car and credit cards is, Miles’ disconnect from her cellphone may be the most disastrous part of the ordeal.
“It’s a terrifying prospect in this day and age,” Banks said. “We did a test, actually. We all went around the room and listed the phone numbers that we remembered from memory. Everyone could list their parents or their spouse. After that it got real fuzzy, real fast. I only knew three numbers.”
Banks’ latest project is the sequel to the 2012 hit musical comedy, “Pitch Perfect.” After producing and appearing in the first film, the actress is making her directorial debut with “Pitch Perfect 2,” currently in production in Baton Rouge. Members of the film’s cast and crew, including actress Rebel Wilson, attended the “Walk of Shame” preview in New Orleans.
“I think everybody’s excited to be back,” Banks said. “These characters are really fun, great characters, and I have an amazing cast.”