[Editor's Note: In Body of Work, the House explores the efforts of an exciting, established talent, whose recent choices have yielded a fruitful career surge.]
There's plenty more to Lake Bell than the casual viewer—or gawker—might think. On the big screen (It's Complicated), the small screen (How to Make It in America), and even online (Children's Hospital), the 34-year-old has shown her great gift for angsty comedy, and with things like this 2011 Maxim cover story, she's broadcasted her embrace of being a slinky sex symbol. She's merged both attributes in recent flicks like A Good Old Fashioned Orgy, and in New Girl, on which she briefly guest-starred. But Bell has tackled her share of straight-up drama, too, in projects like the short-lived series Surface, her recurring role on The Practice and Boston Legal, and, now, the girls-gone-primal survivor thriller Black Rock, which co-stars Kate Bosworth and the film's director, Katie Aselton. Highly rugged and often quite brutal, Black Rock sees its trio of female leads do all their own stunts, and suffer a great deal of bumps, cuts and bruises in the process. Was it a thrill for Bell to ditch the giggling and vamping and dive into no-frills combat?
"I mean, hell yes," the actress says, calling in from L.A., "especially because I don't get this opportunity, ever. Well, in Surface I got to do it a little bit, but it's been many years since I've had the opportunity to let out my inner badass. Katie Aselton specifically did not want us to workout, train, or choreograph anything. She really wanted it to be messy, and real, so it felt very real and therefore a little more uncomfortable. In these movies, it takes you out of it sometimes when you see normal civilians all of the sudden rising to the occasion and doing a jiu-jitsu roundhouse kick or something. In order to sell this, we really kinda had to just go for it."