Kristen Bell plays a single mom tortured by her fallen former employer (Melissa Mc|Universal Pictures2/2
Kristen Bell plays a single mom tortured by her fallen former employer (Melissa Mc|Universal Pictures
In "The Boss," Kristen Bell is the straight woman to Melissa McCarthy's outlandish and ridiculous business titan, playing her long-suffering assistant who has to take her in after she falls on hard times. And given that the film has an R rating, being that straight woman means weathering a lot of rather risque commentary from her boss. But the forever “Veronica Mars” star, 35, believes there are worse ways to make a living.
Both you and Melissa have these reputations as being two of the nicest people in Hollywood.
That’s nice. We’ve all had our moments, but that makes me proud, because that’s certainly something I strive for. It’s definitely what I experienced with her. She did not disappoint. My husband [Dax Shepard] worked with her and Ben 15 or 20 years ago in the Groundlings, and they've have known each other since they were babies. I’ve always secretly been very jealous that he knew Melissa and Ben [Falcone, McCarthy’s husband and “The Boss” director].
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Do you have anything like that Groundlings clique from early on yourself?
Well, I went to musical theater school. I went to New York University, so the kids that I was in college with, we were just musical theater geeks. That would be my Groundlings clique.
Doing a movie about work, you get a lot of questions about past jobs, terrible bosses. Were any of your retail jobs particularly worse than the others?
Not really. I only had two retail jobs, and I was one of those really lucky people that I started working professionally at a really young age. I left college after two and a half years because I booked a Broadway show, so I was very lucky not to have to deal with bad bosses. Not that there aren’t bad bosses in creative jobs, but I just haven’t experienced any of them.
Want to say anything negative about "Veronica Mars" creator Rob Thomas while we’re here?
No, I probably should not. Rob Thomas, one of my first bosses and one of my best bosses. One of the most creative, delightful, sensitive, genuine people I have worked for.
Clearly it was decided early on that this was going to be rated R, based on the language. How much freedom does that give you on set?
It’s brilliant when you have an R movie because you don’t have to self-edit. To me, whether it’s “Frozen” or “The Boss,” the joke is the same. Your instinct to make the joke is the same, but there’s always a qualifying [thought] of “What will it be rated?” How can I express it? And it is quite freeing to know that there are no holds barred. It wasn’t within my character to swear a lot or to get quite as raunchy, but it is nice that the people around me were able to because it made it a lot funnier.
You and your husband are noted binge-watchers. What are you currently binging?
Currently “Mr. Robot." We really liked the pilot and the show does not disappoint. For me, there’s a “Veronica Mars”-esque quality about it. Maybe it’s the underdog, maybe it’s the fighting for justice. It’s a bizarre show, but I’m really enjoying it. We also just started watching “Getting On,” which I’m loving. It’s pretty special.
Are there any hard-and-fast rules for spousal binge-watching?
TV binge-watching has to happen together if you’re in any sort of couple. Like, I have not seen the new season "House of Cards" yet. Dax watched it without me, which almost broke apart our marriage.
Follow Ned Ehrbar on Twitter @nedrick