Friday, October 03, 2008

Kat Dennings

Does it count as discovering someone if you cast her in a failed pilot before her career took off? If so, than my partner and I discovered Kat Dennings.

Kat currently stars in the teen comedy NICK & NORAH’S INFINITE PLAYLIST that opened this weekend. It has to do better than the pilot of SNOBS. That was an ill-fated pilot we did for Fox in 2003.

The premise was a family of snobs… but they had no money. They lived way above their means in a crappy tract house in San Mateo. Kat was the daughter. Ironically, the actor we tried to get to play her brother was Michael Cera (this was pre ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT) who is now her love interest in NICK & NORAH’S.

Finding a teenage girl who could play attitude and intensity but was real and funny was an almost impossible challenge. Most actresses are not that skilled at that age. Not to say that they won’t grow and blossom but in most cases you could “see them acting”. They didn’t just assume the character. Not Kat. She walked in, read the part, and from the first moment we knew – “That’s the girl!” She was hilarious, she was totally believable in a part that was a real stretch, and she was special.

In a fairly unheard of move, we brought no second choice to the network for approval. Usually they insist. And if you don’t bring them options they generally don’t approve the actor just for spite. But not this time. Everyone in the room instantly saw what we saw and she was enthusiastically approved.

I saw her in 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN and thought she stole the movie. You’re probably saying, “Really? She was in that?” Yes, she was Catherine Keener’s daughter and now that you know don’t you agree her performance was incredibly memorable?

I hope to work with Kat again someday. Maybe on another pilot, although the difference will be this time it’ll be her project and I have to get approved by the network.



Anonymous said...

The lovely Ms. Dennings caught my eye in the otherwise painful Hilary Duff movie "Raise Your Voice." She was terrific and really captivating, plus I truly believed she was a master piano player.

Sabina E. said...

Oh that's nice. Im sorry your pilot didn't take off, though.

Kat Dennings is so pretty and can put on a decent performance. I think she might be the underrated underdog that gets good roles, but ignored by the media (look at Megan Fox, who's overrated, can't act worth a shit but gets attention all the time and juicy roles before she dies up in a few years).

Im gonna see Nick and Norah maybe on sunday.

Sabina E. said...

Haha, I mean *dries up, not dies up.

Christina said...

When you said the daughter in 40 Year Old Virgin, I finally made the connection. Yes, she was great. I loved the scene where Andy takes her to that parent/child sex ed group therapy deal.

Question Mark said...

Hmm, your pilot's premise sounds sort of like the great old BBC sitcom Keeping Up Appearances.

Anonymous said...

Another great post, Ken. I'd love you to give us the complete line-up of your never-aired pilots, what they were about, and who was in them. That would be an epic, three-day post I'd imagine.

"Snobs" sounds fun. Any chance of that pilot making it to YouTube?

Anonymous said...

All that and great jugs, too.

Anonymous said...

I love Kat Dennings. She was the shining light in the failed sitcom RAISING DAD.

Anonymous said...

I have a girl crush on Kat Dennings. Seriously. And I don't say that about many girls.


Unknown said...

Due to this post I bought "The 40 year old Virgin" and just watched it.

Sorry - but Kat Dennings did not steal that movie.

The reason is simple. The script was so god damn awesome and all of the cast, all of them, were acting over the top good, including Paul Rudd, Seth Rogen, Romany Malco - I mean honestly, she stole the movie from Steve Carrell? No way. Even Gerry Bednob (the old indian guy) was so amazingly funny in this you can't honestly say she stole the movie.

Jonah Hill was in this (with more weight on him - he was the guy trying to buy the sparkly shoes in the eBay Store who danced at the end in the Poncho-like outfit during the Aquarius song).

Kat Dennings was good, true. She was funny. But "stealing" the movie? Sorry. No way.

Seth Rogen's career started with this movie. He'll be in "Zack and Miri make a Porno" with Elizabeth Banks later this month (a film by Kevin Smith) and now you know where they met before (in the bathroom where she used the showerhead :-) )

So honestly you can't just say this. She might be good, she might also have three movies in the works now and she might have bodily features that are enthralling but now - she couldn't have stolen this movie from almost any of the other actors. They simply had too many good lines in that movie.

Although she might've stolen her scenes from Catherine Keener because Keener is the only one in the movie who's just so-so, I'll give you that.

But the rest... no way. Seriously. I laughed so hard during all the other scenes just a couple of minutes ago this is just not right. The movie is too good to say that.

But I too think that she's really funny and a good actress and can't wait until Nick and Norah starts here.

Canadian Train Geek said...

Hi Ken, I remember Snobs! I have to say that I wasn't surprised it didn't make it but maybe it didn't get a fair chance to make its mark.

Anonymous said...

Hi. I just happened upon this blog from a Google search.

I have to say that Kat Dennings is #1 on my list of "women I would totally go for if I was young and famous."

After reading the post, I went "oh yeah!" when you mentioned her in 40 year old virgin. Really captivating.

Anyway, I thought that the highlight of Nick & Nora was her puppet show in the DVD bonus footage. I laughed so hard I nearly woke my son (he's 2).

I hope to see greatness from her in the years to come. For now, i will just cyber-stalk her and try to turn back the clock 10 years and pretend she's my girlfriend!

Anonymous said...

I liked her in a couple of her films but "2 Broke Girls" is absolute crap. Her voice drones on through out with the same tone, the overall acting on that show is horrendous.