Kat Dennings has earned her comic book movie cred at last.
For the generation of actors who grew up on the last decade’s burgeoning roster of blockbuster comic book adaptations, the 24-year-old actress says, adding a superhero film to your film resume is a mark of honor, the 24-year-old actress says. “It feels like a scout badge – like, 'I've finally done that – Check,'” Dennings tells PopcornBiz of her role in “Thor,” where she plays Darcy, the slightly daffy sidekick to Natalie Portman’s research scientist/thunder god love interest Jane Foster.
It was an additional treat for Dennings, who was already conversant in the world of comic books. “I don't read them as much anymore, but I was big into them growing up,” she says. “Now I kind of read more Manga, stuff like that – and I really like very girlie Manga,” Best of all, since she doesn’t play one of “Thor’s” buffed and toned Asgardian gods, she was spared an exhaustive workout regimen.
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“I didn't have to do anything,” she admits, recalling her co-stars’ torturous hours in the gym with a sly grin. “It was terrible, brutal for them.” She got a kick out of seeing the towering, pumped-up Chris Hemsworth standing alongside the diminutive Portman. “The bigger that he looked the better. I mean, he's literally four Natalie Portmans! He's twice as big as her and twice as wide as her, so that was actually really, really cute to see them together.”
Unlike most of the film’s other characters, Dennings’ Darcy has no comic book precedent, and she signed on to the project without a stack of back issue to scour for inspiration – or, for that matter, a full script.
“We kind of created her through the rehearsal,” she explains. “I think that Darcy was originally a guy in the film, was written for a man, and they changed their minds. I didn't get the script until a month after I got hired. So that was a big question mark, and I wasn't quite sure who I was or what I was doing. I think that no matter where she is she's got something else on her mind. So a lot of it came from my real life relationship with Natalie. I think that they just observed us and added some of that cuteness in. One of my best friends is her friend, and we met through him and we really liked each other. I really respect and love her, and I think that they came out through Darcy, because I think that Darcy loves and respects Jane.”
Meanwhile, Dennings has also got her sights set on a small screen, having just shot the pilot “Two Broke Girls,” written and produced by “Sex and the City” showrunner Michael Patrick King and standup comedian Whitney Cummings and co-starring newcomer Beth Behrs. “It's about two girls who are both broke,” Dennings explains simply. “One is a sort of heiress who's dad is in jail and they lost all their money. And one has been poor her whole life and has a million jobs, a day job and she's kind of tougher Brooklyn girl. So it's a Manhattan girl and a Brooklyn girl and they come together.That's what it's about and it's so funny. It's so funny. I'm the Brooklyn girl.”
She says fans can expect a healthy dose of King’s trademark designer fashion fixations and a decidedly New Yorkian sensibility. “Oh my God, there was a drama going through the week about the necklace and stuff – necklaces and bracelets and Chanel,” she laughs. “He has such a specific eye for that stuff. He also really infuses these projects with New York. You can feel New York which is really a gift – I don't know how he does it because we shoot it in L.A. I'm not sure what exactly it is, but it's really fun and it's really exhilarating. So there's that, but there's also my character Max, who's very much Whitney Cummings, the tougher Brooklyn girl who just says what she wants to say – which is very much how Whitney and I both are.”
If Dennings – who caught attention in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin” and went on the leading roles in films like “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist” and the upcoming “Renee” – sounds like a young Hollywood player who’s got her whole career game plan well in hand, she assures you that she doesn’t. “I don't have a plan,” she laughs. “I just pick things that I want to do and do them, if I get lucky enough to. And that's why I think my career is sort of like a patchwork quilt.”