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Maria Bello discusses a pair of upcoming projects



Maria Bello, who co-stars in the new drama The Yellow Handkerchief, told reporters that she’s excited to test her comedic mettle opposite Adam Sandler and Kevin James in the forthcoming Grown Ups. I’m so excited about this movie,” Bello said during a roundtable interview Thursday in Beverly Hills, Calif. “I’ve never got to do a big comedy, but I know Adam, and he saw me in this role and it’s with Adam and Kevin James and Chris Rock and all of the guys from Saturday Night Live and it was a blast to do. It was a lot of improve, and a real character that I played, and we had a blast doing it.”

Bello is best known for her dramatic work, specifically her roles in films like Wayne Kramer’s The Cooler and David Cronenberg’s A History of Violence. She explained that In Grown Ups, she gets to goof off a bit as a monstrous mom. “I play Kevin James’ wife,” she said. “It’s about all of these kids that were friends in high school. Kevin and I never left our hometown, I’m an obsessive mother and obsessive about Star Magazine, and still breastfeed my kid at five years old. It’s years later and we meet up at a lake house and hilarity ensues.”

Meanwhile, Bello also offered a few details about another film she recently completed which returns her to the tough challenges of characters she’s played in the past. “It’s a beautiful film, Beautiful Boy,” she revealed. “I just finished it with Michael Sheen, about a Columbine-type shooting and the parents of a kid.” Discussing her approach to playing virtually any role, much less the tormented mom in Beautiful Boy, she observed that she has to find common ground between her own feelings and those of the character in order to give each moment emotional authenticity. “I can never separate myself.” Bello said.

“I mean, I don’t feel like I take my character home, per se, but I feel like with every character I play, certainly it’s a piece of me so my reaction, if it’s going to be authentic and truthful, can’t be an idea of something, it has to be something that comes from myself.”

Despite the difficulties she often faces in finding that connection, she said that Beautiful Boy was a particularly rewarding experience. “[It was made by] Sean Ku, this young guy, a first-time director, but it was such a beautiful script so we signed on to do it. We did it in LA in three weeks just because emotionally it was incredible and beautifully written and beautifully shot. At one point we did an 11-page, one-shot [scene] so it was like doing a play.”

“It was really pretty devastating, but it made me fall in love with acting again for the first time in a couple of years.”

The Yellow Handkerchief, which also stars William Hurt, Kristen Stewart and Eddie Redmayne, opens in limited release on February 26, 2010.

About Todd Gilchrist

Todd Gilchrist is a Los Angeles-based film critic and entertainment journalist. Over the past decade he worked at a variety of online and print publications, including the Miami New Times, Filmstew.com, SCI FI Wire, and IGN.com, where he wrote reviews, conducted interviews with actors and filmmakers, and edited Movies, DVD and Music content. He currently works for Cinematical.com among other outlets, and has been a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association since 2005.

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