Anna Faris opened up about upsetting events she allegedly experienced on the set of My Super Ex-Girlfriend in the latest episode of her podcast, Unqualified, during which she and guest Lena Dunham discussed their experiences working in Hollywood.
During the episode, Faris, 45, revealed that the acclaimed comedy director Ivan Reitman, who died in February at the age of 75, created a “reign of terror” on the set of the 2006 film. That includes claims that he yelled at her and sexually harassed her in front of the crew.
“Can I speak ill of the dead?” Faris posed. “One of my hardest film experiences was with Ivan Reitman. I mean, the idea of attempting to make a comedy under this, like, reign of terror. He was a yeller. He would bring down somebody every day … and my first day, it was me.”
Reitman was known for directing legendary comedies like Meatballs, Ghostbusters, Twins, and Junior. He also produced a string of hits including Animal House, Space Jam and Private Parts.
Faris said that on her first day of shooting My Super Ex-Girlfriend, she had to film a fight sequence with co-star Uma Thurman in which she had to wear a red wig. However, right before she was to arrive on set, the hair and makeup person accidentally knocked “a big jar of wig glue” all over Faris’ costume, causing her to show up late.
“I was, like, 20 to 25 minutes late on my very first [day],” she explained. “I was terrified, truly, that my first day, Ivan thinks that I’m some kind of diva that’s not coming out of my trailer.”
“I’m, like, in the middle of the street that’s all lit, you know, it’s a night shoot. And Ivan is just taking me down,” Faris explained. “He was like, ‘Annie!’ He’d always called me Annie. He’s like, ‘You can’t play like that around here. Like, this is not like…’ And I was like, ‘Don’t do it. Don’t cry. No crying.’ I felt angry and hurt and humiliated and defensive.”
“Eventually, I said, ‘Did no one tell you what happened?'” she continued. “And at that point, he kind of just shut up and then he, like, went behind the camera. But then later, he slapped my ass, too. That was a weird moment.”
While reflecting on the experience, Faris told Dunham her strategy at the time was to not speak out, because she was afraid of potential backlash.
“It was like, ‘I’m going to lay low and play it safe. I am taking zero risk in this movie,'” she remembers thinking.
“I don’t think you’re the first person who’s reported that,” Dunham told her of Reitman’s alleged abuse. “And I’m so sorry you had that experience. And did no one step in and say, ‘No?'”
“No. It was, like, 2006,” responds Faris, citing that the event happened before the #MeToo movement.
“Sometimes, like with that incident, I think that I’m still of the generation and of the mentality of, like, how to calibrate that element. Like, on one hand, it wasn’t anything. Whatever. My ass is fine,” she explained. “On the other hand, it was like, I did have, like, 30 people around me, I think, expecting me to do something. And I didn’t.”
The Mom star previously spoke about the experience in a 2017 episode of her podcast, but without naming Reitman directly.
“I was doing a scene where I was on a ladder and I was supposed to be taking books off a shelf and he slapped my ass in front of the crew so hard. And all I could do was giggle,” she said at the time. “I remember looking around and I remember seeing the crew members being like, ‘Wait, what are you going to do about that? That seemed weird.’ And that’s how I dismissed it.”
Faris continued, “I was like, ‘Well, this isn’t a thing. Like, it’s not that big of a deal. Buck up, Faris. Like, just giggle.’ But it made me feel small. He wouldn’t have done that to the lead male.”
The actress also claimed that the director in question, now known to be Reitman, told her agent she was hired because of her “great legs” and not her acting ability.
“I remember that same director telling my agent, who told me, that I had great legs and that was one of the reasons that I got hired,” she said in 2017. “And listen, that’s a fucking great compliment. I like my legs. But that sort of informed my whole experience with that whole project. I don’t think the male lead got hired because he had great legs. Therefore I felt like I’m hired because of these elements — not because of [talent].”