Actress Elizabeth Banks is a self-proclaimed goofball but her Guest DJ set is smart, sincere and quite sexy. She takes us through songs that mark her move to Hollywood and a track that tugs at her heart strings. Then we see her in a whole new light as she talked about “the sexiest song she’s ever heard”. She stars in the film People Like Us which opens on June 29.
For More: http://elizabethbanks.com/
1 - When You're Near - Guru
2 - Buffalo Stance - Neneh Cherry
3 - Virtual Insanity - Jamiroquai
4 - Samson - Regina Spektor
5 - Closer - Nine Inch Nails
EJL: Hi this is Eric J Lawrence from KCRW and I am here with actress Elizabeth Banks. She starred in the recent hit film The Hunger Games and has two other films out this summer. The ensemble film, "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and "People Like Us". We're here to talk about some songs that have inspired her over the years as part of KCRW's Guest DJ Project. Elizabeth, thanks for coming down.
Elizabeth Banks: Thanks for having me.
EJL: What's the first track you've got for us?
EB: I was introduced to a lot of music by my husband. Back in the day when we first met, he made me a mix tape, when that was still a thing. And one of the sexiest songs he put on it was Guru's "When You're Near" and I just love this song. It reminds me of being young and in love and it reminds me of my husband. And it's just super sexy and fresh.
Song: Guru – When You’re Near
EJL: That was "When You're Near" from the late rapper Guru, as selected by Elizabeth Banks. What's the next track you've got for us?
EB: Well, this movie that I'm coming out in, "People Like Us", is set here in LA, in California, and the very first time that I ever visited California I was 16 years old and I watched this girl riding a bike and she was wearing converse hi tops and a mini skirt, and "Buffalo Stance" by Neneh Cherry was playing. We didn't have the song and we didn't have this vibe of girls in mini skirts. We didn't have any of this where I lived in Massachusetts, so this song just really screams California to me.
Song: Neneh Cherry – Buffalo Stance
EJL: You mention that that was the song that sort of represented California for you, that's where you were introduced to it. What was sort of the draw of California, did that sort of play into it, give you incentive to come out here?
EB: No, I thought I was going to be a New Yorker. (laughs)
I was sort of dragged to California by Hollywood, by the industry. I really realized, as an actor -- being in New York is amazing, I really recommend all actors start there -- but if you really want to have a career in the business, you need to live in Los Angeles for at least part of your career.
EJL: That was Neneh Cherry with "Buffalo Stance" as selected by our guest, Elizabeth Banks. What's the next track you got for us?
EB: This next song, "Virtual Insanity" by Jamiroquai is also very much a California song to me. It represents the period in my life when I decided to become and actor which was while I was living in San Francisco. So "Virtual Insanity" just represents that last time in my life when I lived in a house with 15 people. It was in my early 20's and really brings up a very specific time for me and a very specific place for me. That's what I think makes music great.
Song: Jamiroquai – Virtual Insantity
EJL: So what was it that sort of inspired you to be an actress?
EB: I always loved acting. It was not something I planned on doing. I went to college and sort of did it in my spare time. When I was graduating college I just really didn’t know what I was going to do. I thought maybe I'd go to law school. I didn't really want to study for The LSATs. I knew actors but none of them -- I mean, they all lived in the East Village and did crap and made no money and I just thought "oh, I don't want to be a waitress for the next five years. I have to pay off my student loans…” And then I got into ACT in San Francisco and being in grad school and training myself as an actor and really understanding that it was a profession and that you could take it seriously. Sort of how it worked, I sort of trained how to be a professional -- less than how to be an actor, but just how to be a professional in the world and then I got an agent and started working and never looked back.
EJL: That was Jamiroquai with "Virtual Insanity" as selected by our guest Elizabeth Banks. Well, what's the next track you've got for us?
EB: This song "Samson" by Regina Spektor. I'm a huge Regina Spektor fan. They really speak about music that physically affects you, right, with soundwaves. And her voice, for whatever reason, literally just tugs my heart strings.
Song: Regina Spektor – Samson
EB: "Samson" was very important to me while I was making "People Like Us", this film with Chris Pine, because I have a lot of really emotional crap to deal with in this movie and whenever I want to cry, I play this song. So this is a little bit of giving away my acting technique. I don't think about my puppy dying, I don't think about anyone. I just play this song and Regina Spektor does all the work for me and makes me cry.
EJL: You think music is a good tool for actors to use?
EB: Absolutely. I know very few actors who don't use music in their daily lives to sort of set the tone and the mood for whatever you're doing on set on any given day.
EJL: That was Regina Spektor with "Samson" as selected by our guest Elizabeth Banks. What's the last track you've got for us?
EB: This last track represents another side of me. I'm a huge geek for like Gun's N Roses, and I love Nine Inch Nails and I think "Closer" is just literally the sexiest song I've ever heard in my entire life. This song makes me want to do IT.
Song: Nine Inch Nails -- Closer
EB: This song, coupled with Oliver Stone's "Natural Born Killers," to me is like the most romantic evening you can have. That's how messed up I am, about romance maybe. I told Oliver Stone when I worked with him, I thought "Natural Born Killers" was the most romantic movie I had ever seen and he agreed with me actually, he said that I was one of the few people that understood that itwas a massive love story and that was what it was really all about. So, for whatever reason…for whatever reason I think it's very clear when you listen to the song that this puts me in the mood.
EJL: That was "Closer" by Nine Inch Nails as selected by our guest, Elizabeth Banks.
EB: (Laughs) I made you blush…
EJL: (Laughs) Well Elizabeth, thank you so much for joining us on KCRW.COM.
EB: Thank you.
EJL: For a complete track listing and to find these songs on-line go to KCRW.COM/GUESTDJPROJECT and subscribe to the podcast through itunes.