Queue & A: Kristen Bell

Netflix stars answer Queue’s questions about creativity and craft.

Opening Photograph by Jim Spellman / Getty Images
4 February 20224 min read

Veronica Mars. Gossip Girl. Frozen. Forgetting Sarah Marshall. The Good Place. Actor Kristen Bell’s versatility has led her to play some of the most memorable and beloved roles of our time. Wielding her signature blend of charisma and comedic skill — sometimes while singing  — Bell has entered the hearts of audiences around the world. In her latest series, The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window, Bell plays Anna, a divorcée whose daughter has died in a tragic accident. After meeting, and promptly becoming infatuated with a handsome new neighbor, she looks out her window and witnesses a murder taking place at his house. But was it real, or did copious amounts of wine, pills, and delusion make her hallucinate yet again? For Queue, the actor recounts her experience with murder-mystery satire The Woman in the House, looks back on her career, and shares a few of her favorite Netflix watches.

Queue: What was your first role onscreen?
Kristen Bell:
My first film role was playing Andy Richter’s daughter in a movie called Pootie Tang. The full title is Pootie Tang in Sine Your Pitty on the Runny Kine.

How did it feel to book the job?
Exhilarating. And like I might actually have a crack at paying my own bills.

What film or TV show made you fall in love with acting?
Two things made me fall in love with acting. Number one: musical theater, any and all musical theater, specifically Sondheim. But also the movie Waiting For Guffman — I thought it was the most excellent display of realistic comedy. And then I started to see funny things all around me in these real situations.

What do you remember about the first time you saw yourself on camera?
I’ve blocked all that out. I don't really like to watch myself on camera because like everyone else, I just pick it apart: Why was I sitting like that? Or, Why did I say 40 extra words when the sentence should have been over?

What was it like working with the cast of The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window?
This cast was a lot of fun. But this cast, more than any other cast, had so many questions. Because we kind of invented a tone here where it's very serious, but we're also trying to be very funny without being funny at all, and staying serious. So we were always nervous about whether or not we were hitting the joke. But the cast was so, so game.

How did you prepare for your role?
I think I've been preparing for this role my whole life. I love true crime. I love Dateline. I love true crime podcasts and movies. I love suspense and thriller and horror. So, I feel like I had banked all of this formulaic knowledge about how to unravel a suspense plot line and used it for this role. 

Was there one scene that you found especially challenging or memorable?
Towards the end of the series, there's a scene where I get a casserole dumped on my head. And, in the movies, sometimes you shoot one scene for a week and a half. So, for about 10 days, I was just covered in mushroom soup. And that was basically the hair and makeup process — I'd walk into the trailer and they would dump a can on my head and say, “Action.”

Were there any specific inspirations for Anna?
I just tried to use sort of an honest naïveté in every single scene, combined with complete and utter ego and self-absorption. And I personally find that very funny.

What do you have in common with your character?
Virtually nothing. But if I had to pick something, I would say her persistence.

What do you think is the biggest difference between you and Anna?
I don't drink, and therefore, I don't mix that with pills. I've never seen a murder. I don't have that many fantasies about my neighbors. And I don't live alone.

What's your favorite comfort watch on Netflix?
It's the best show that's ever been made. It's called, I Think You Should Leave, and I've probably seen it nine times. How many bodies did they have coming out of those coffins?

What's the one thing you always bring to set?

What's the last thing you binge watched on Netflix?
Squid Game.

Which character from The Woman In The House would you most like to partner with in a game?
Lisa, the girlfriend across the street, because she is vicious.

What Netflix star from another show or movie do you think could be your friend?
Probably Eleven from Stranger Things or anyone from The Who Was? Show. It's the greatest kids show. It's You Can't Do That On Television, but also teaches about historical figures within SNL-style sketches. It's really, really funny and good.

What is your dream role or project?
Raising my kids to be good human beings.