05/15/15 9:00am
05/15/2015 9:00 AM |


Was Elizabeth Banks an It Girl? (Also, is It Girl a sexist thing to be called?) I ask because being one-time It Girls (and there are very few multi-time It Girls) often find themselves in precarious positions, career-wise, whereas It Dudes can usually either find a superhero to play or gain some weight and become character actors. Banks has been kicking around Hollywood long enough that she featured in the first Spider-Man movie and its sequels, playing the perpetually (cinematically) underappreciated Betty Brant, and has done her time as love interests (Role Models; Definitely, Maybe; Invincible) as well as some all-out comedy (Wet Hot American Summer; Zack and Miri Make a Porno) and more genre-y fare (Slither; The Uninvited). Funny, versatile, and game, she’s nonetheless only appeared in big hit movies in supporting or bit parts. Unequivocal leads for her are rare, and her most recent vehicle, last summer’s Walk of Shame, got dumped into a minimal-wide release.

In the process of not becoming a major movie star, though, Banks has proven herself a savvy scout of material, fighting hard for the smallish but crucial role of Effie Trinket in the Hunger Games movies and producing the a capella comedy Pitch Perfect in 2012, with a small comic role for herself. Pitch became a surprise hit in 2012 and, as was obviously hoped from at least the screenplay stage, became an even bigger deal on video and cable, where it has played approximately twice a day, every day, since summer 2013. It is probably playing on cable right now. Now the film has spawned a sequel, opening today, and Banks has stepped up to direct it—her first feature in that chair, after a couple of shorts and a segment of Movie 43 (never forget!).