Power Banks

She may play the villain in this month’s Power Rangers movie, but Elizabeth Banks, who acts, produces and directs her own films, is Hollywood’s true heroine.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

She may play the villain in this month’s Power Rangers movie, but Elizabeth Banks, who acts, produces and directs her own films, is Hollywood’s true heroine.

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Elizabeth Banks is a rare triplethreat in hollywood; not many women in the industry can claim to have experience as an actress, producer, and director. Best known for playing Effie Trinket in the wildly successful The Hunger Games movie trilogy and stealing the show in recurring roles on TV shows Modern Family and 30 Rock, it’s surprising that Elizabeth isn’t already a household name.
Blonde, petite and gorgeous, the 42-yearold is on the cusp of super stardom. Just last year, Box Office mojo ranked her the sixth highest-grossing actress of all time (behind Julia roberts and cate Blanchett), as her movies have grossed US$2.7 billion ($3.85 billion) in all.
With her upcoming role in the Power rangers film reboot as its slinky villain, rita repulsa, Elizabeth is expanding her range once again. Though she’s used to playing comic characters in movies like The 40-YearOld Virgin, Power Rangers, which opens here on march 23, sees her in an action role. But Elizabeth admits she was always a tomboy, and prone to a bit of rough and tumble in her youth.
“I broke my leg sliding into third base, and it’s because of that that I am an actor,” says Elizabeth. “In all honesty, I literally fell into acting. I needed something else to do after school. I couldn’t really imagine going home from 3 to 5 pm; both my parents worked but I didn’t want to be alone at home, unlike most teenagers today,” she added with a laugh.
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Wearing Multiple Hats
Growing up in massachusetts, Elizabeth met her husband, max handelman, on her first day of college. Today, the couple are highly soughtafter producers with their own company, Brownstone Productions. “We have always made decisions that kept us together as a couple. We like working together, and we’re good at it,” she says.
Case in point: Through Brownstone Productions, Elizabeth scored a massive hit with a capella musical movie Pitch Perfect and its sequel, Pitch Perfect 2. In the latter, Elizabeth came into her own as she wore the hats of actor, producer and director simultaneously. Inspired by her male peers in hollywood, Elizabeth decided to challenge herself by directing for the first time – a move that paid off as Pitch Perfect 2 went on to make a whopping US$287.1 million ($409.5 million) worldwide.
A mother of two boys, Felix, aged six years, and magnus, five, Elizabeth refuses to give in to working mother guilt. “I love my job, and I like showing my children that I have a work ethic. my mother worked when I was growing up, and I think that it is very important to show (my kids) that people can find something that they love to do.
“Sure, there is crap to deal with on a daily basis when you have kids. But when they are happy, your life is just better and calmer, and you do what you can to keep them welladjusted,” she continues.
“I love my job, and I like showing my children that I have a work ethic.”
Family Support
She also cites having family help to raise her kids as a huge blessing. “I have never had a babysitter that was not related to me, and I live 3,000 miles away from my family.”
Though she confesses to a love for cupcakes, Elizabeth still manages to stay trim and beautiful by leading a sensibly healthy lifestyle. “I’m definitely not addicted to any sort of exercise. Let’s be honest: I also won the genetic lottery. I’m just really, really lucky that I have really good genes.”
And no matter what may come next for the female hollywood powerhouse, you can be sure she’ll be taking it in her stride.
“Life is long and life is hard, and if you can’t be at ease with it – I don’t know how you get through,” she muses. 
“I love my job, and I like showing my children that I have a work ethic.”
Rise to Stardom
We chart Elizabeth’s rise to fame through her most successful film and TV roles

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1998 Surrender Dorothy – Vicki

Elizabeth was first introduced to the film world through this psychological thriller, where she was credited as Elizabeth Casey.

2001 Scrubs – Dr Kim Briggs

She played the role of Dr Kim Briggs, the love interest of lead character, J.D, for three seasons of this medical-comedy TV series.

2002 Spider-Man – Betty Brant

Despite being denied the Mary Watson role, Elizabeth went on to star in all three of the Spider-Man trilogy movies. Her turn as Betty Brant, the secretary of J. Jonah Jameson, caught the attention of audiences worldwide. 

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2005 The 40-Year-Old Virgin – Beth

This was Elizabeth’s breakthrough film, as her ole as bookstore clerk Beth brought the then 28-year-old actress into the spotlight. 

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 2006 30 Rock – Avery Jessup

Elizabeth won audiences with her comic timing as Avery Jessup, the wife of Alec Baldwin’s character Jack Donaghy. She was nominated twice for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. 

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2008 W. – Laura Bush

Elizabeth looked positively presidential as First Lady Laura Bush in this autobiographic film on former U.S. President George W. Bush. 

2009 Modern Family – Sal
Playing the wild, vodka-loving party girl Sal, Elizabeth secured a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for her guest role. 
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2012 Pitch Perfect – Gail

Elizabeth produced and starred in this mega hit film on a group of a capella wannabes, and went on to direct its sequel. She’s producingthis year’s Pitch Perfect 3, and will reprise her role as Gail. 

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2012 The Hunger Games – Effie Trinket

She did such a great job as the fashion-forward stylist Effie Trinket, The Hunger Games’ author Suzanne Collins suggested expanding the character’s role in the movies. 

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2017 Power Rangers – Rita Repulsa

Elizabeth takes on the role of villainous Rita Repulsa in the third Power Rangers movie, which opens here on March 23.