In a departure from her dramatic roots, Kylie Bunbury stars alongside Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams in upcoming comedy Game Night.
In this exclusive interview with EBONY, Bunbury breaks down her relationship with on-screen hubby, Lamorne Morris, her introduction to the comedy game and why it’s important to show Black women in all of their greatness.
Tell me a bit about Game Night’s Michelle & Kevin.
Michelle & Kevin (Morris) have been together for a very long time, since middle school, and they look forward to having game night with their friends every week. They love each other and have a fun relationship, but on this particular night, a little bit of insecurity pops up, and Michelle likes to poke at Kevin about that a bit.
How was your chemistry with Lamorne Morris offset, and did it help you guys on-screen?
It’s interesting because we’ve been told that we have great chemistry on-screen, and I think what it was is that we really respect each other. Like Michelle and Kevin, we balance each other out. Michelle’s more of the grounded one and he’s a little bit more out there, and that was kind of our dynamic on set as well. We genuinely enjoy each other, we like each other and we have the same sense of humor, so it was really fun working with him!
What was it about the script that made you say, ‘I want to be a part of this comedy,’ especially having a more dramatic background?
It was the whole script in general. I had never really seen a comedy infused with a thriller that had dark undertones and action in this way. I also liked the dynamic between Kevin and Michelle. I was almost like playing myself in these imaginary circumstances.
Talk a little bit about working with this ensemble cast that includes Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams.
You have Jason Bateman, who is a comedic genius. Then you have Rachel McAdams, who is so brilliant. For me, I learned in terms of acting, but I also learned in terms of professionalism and how to be a leader on-set. They were very warm, very welcoming and are really good at their jobs. They really created a good energy for the rest of us.
I know most of the cast has a background in comedy while you’re more known for dramatic roles. Was there ever any improv on set that you had to keep up with?
There was definitely a lot of improvising, but I more so stuck to the script because I didn’t feel Michelle’s character called for a lot of improv or additional jokes. I think that it’s important comedies have a certain groundedness to them that makes them feel real, which I may have offered the film. I was thrilled to be a part of a comedy though because it is such a departure from what I’ve done before. Was I nervous? Sure! But we had a great cast that made me feel welcome and like I was a part of the team.
Has this increased your interest in pursuing more comedic roles?
Definitely! I know I’m known for dramas, but around my family and friends, I’m really goofy! Not saying I’m necessarily funny, but I’m very goofy. I’d love to express that side of myself more.
How was it working with two directors for this film?
It was definitely different but great. Johnathan Goldstein and John Daley, they’re partners in writing and have worked together several times before, so it was pretty seamless. One’s a little bit more on the technical side of things, one’s more comedic, but they both knew what they wanted from the beginning, which makes it easier.
How important is it for Black women to be seen in our full spectrum? Complex and thought-provoking, as well as light-hearted and hilarious?
It’s important that we’re properly represented and for viewers to see all the bits and pieces of being a woman of color. For me, I’ve always wanted to portray roles that are empowering. Also, being empowering doesn’t necessarily mean being strong all the time. We want to show all sides of ourselves, including vulnerability, our power, our silliness, all of that, and I plan to continue doing so.
Game Night opens Friday, Feb. 23.
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Born and raised in Compton, California, Jessica Bennett began her career as an intern at The Oakland Post, and later, The Source Magazine. She went on to write for respected hip hop publications such as DJ Booth and Hip Hop DX before becoming the Urban Editor of pop culture website, Wetpaint.com. She joined Ebony as the Entertainment Editor August 2017. Bennett has interviewed such names as Vanessa Williams, Spike Lee, Tyra Banks, Forest Whitaker, Magic & Cookie Johnson and several others.