In the family comedy Hop, actress Kaley Cuoco (The Big Bang Theory) plays Sam O’Hare, the ambitious and driven younger sister of the directionless Fred (James Marsden). In her mid-20’s, Sam only wants the best for 30-year-old Fred and constantly encourages him to get his act together while he figures out what his passion in life is. When she sets him up with a house-sitting gig at her boss’ mansion, Fred has a chance meeting with E.B., the teenage son of the Easter Bunny, and none of their lives will ever be the same again.
At the film’s press day, Kaley Cuoco talked about shaking things up from her day job at The Big Bang Theory, how she loved the sweetness of her character, acting opposite a bean bag for her scenes with E.B., torturing her co-star James Marsden, and how she loves doing comedy. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
Question: What was it like to transition from your TV show, The Big Bang Theory, to this movie?
KALEY CUOCO: It’s great. It’s so comforting to be on a show and know the character so well. It’s everyone’s dream job. But, there is something about doing something that’s a little bit different. It wasn’t that crazy of a role, but it was fun to be working with different people and shaking it up a little bit. It definitely gave me the film bug. Usually, on my hiatus, I don’t want to do anything. I have so many animals and things going on at home that I end up taking a good break after we wrap on the show. This made me want to work over my summers.
What did you think of your character, Sam?
CUOCO: What I love about the character is that she is so sweet. She really wants Fred (James Marsden) to be successful and do well. I think she’s the only one that really thinks he’s capable of doing other things. Before I got the job, (director) Tim Hill kept saying, “We really want this character to be extremely loving and always giving an excuse for Fred, but she’s always trying to help him.” She’s much nicer than I am.
For your scene with E.B., what were you actually working opposite?
CUOCO: We did a couple different versions, but the one that we ended up shooting was a beanbag. It was a black bag with sand and fake little arms. We did a take of that, and then we did a take with a stuffed animal that looked exactly like E.B. It was very strange.
How many takes did you have to do?
CUOCO: Before we started shooting, (director) Tim [Hill] had us rehearse. We had a couple days of rehearsal because it is quite different and it’s very technical. You have to hold it in the correct way. We had a lot of rehearsals, so by the time we shot it, I was a little more comfortable with it. [James] Marsden had the brunt of it. The couple things I had to do were just very technical. And then, I think I actually popped the bag, at one point, ‘cause it was losing weight and the sand was coming out of the bottom. I was like, “You know, you have to make this actress proof. I can’t be working with sandbags. I’m just not smart enough.” It took a minute.
How was it to work with James Marsden?
CUOCO: He had a lot to accomplish in this movie. When I came for my first day of shooting, they had been working for two weeks and Jimmy ran up to me and was like, “I have been talking to a stuffed animal for two weeks. I need a human!” He was going crazy. That’s hard. It was kind of like Castaway for rabbits. He was all by himself, most of the time, and was really talking to nothing. That’s very, very tough. He definitely gave it 200%. It was very difficult. Me, I didn’t have that much to do with the rabbit. My role was just fun. I got to torture James a little bit, off camera. That’s all I cared about.
What did you do to torture James?
CUOCO: We had so much fun. It’s funny because, being on a sitcom, I’m used to shooting a whole show in three hours. Doing a film, we would do one scene, all day. I was like, “These guys are slow. This is crazy!” We would get really giddy, by the end of the day, because they were really long, and I was just bad, off camera. I was constantly making faces. We played a lot of Words with Friends on our iPhones. We played Scrabble, constantly. I think, at one point, he beat me 500 to 150 and he kept saying that he was reaching an ultimate goal in his life of the highest score ever against a human being. It was so awful. He’s very good at Scrabble. It’s extremely annoying. We had a blast with that. We just would tease each other a lot. He’s hilarious. He’s very funny. I don’t know if people realize how funny he is.
Did you celebrate Easter, as a kid?
CUOCO: Yes, we did definitely celebrate Easter. I wasn’t allowed to have sugar, as a kid. We didn’t have candy or soda, or anything, so Easter and Halloween were my favorite times ‘cause I could eat as much candy as I wanted. So, we would do the baskets and my sister and I would go crazy.
What message do you want kids to take from the film?
CUOCO: It’s cute because it does show teenage angst, in a way, with E.B. wanting to be a rock star and not wanting to do what his dad says, and a ton of teenagers are that way. With Fred, he’s a little bit older and a little bit of a slacker. I don’t have kids, but I know that you want them to follow their dreams, while at the same time, you don’t want them to be sitting around, hoping that dream is just going to come. I’m sure that’s hard to tell your kids. It’s a fine line of doing what’s good for your life and what your parents want you to do, but also following your dreams. With my parents, when I was younger, I always had to do two things. If I was acting, I always had to do a sport or something on the arts side of things, along with that. That way, if one fell apart, I always had something else to fall back on. So, nothing ever devastated me because I was surrounded by so many great things and was able to excel in what I wanted. Later on in life, I was able to choose what I wanted to do. I think it’s important to have a lot of things going on.
What’s a dream role for you?
CUOCO: I think I need to sit down and really think about that. I don’t know, maybe because I’ve been so lucky and everything has happened so naturally in my career. I never dreamt of being on a sitcom. At the end of the day, I do think I’m happiest doing comedy. I love it. I know that I can do other things. I love drama as well. But, I would probably love to do another sitcom that was revolved all around me. I’ll probably be on this one for awhile, so maybe by the end of this, I won’t want to do that. But, if I ended with this, I would be the happiest person.
Do you know what you’ll be doing next?
CUOCO: I did Hop, and then I did a small independent, called The Last Ride, which was very cool. Now, I have four more episodes of The Big Bang Theory, and then I’ll have the summer off. I’m reading scripts and deciding what I want to do. When you get offered something, you think, “I’ve gotta take this,” but that’s the wrong way to look at it, so I’m waiting for the exact right thing. I’m just not sure. You make one bad move in this business and you’re so screwed. It’s one bad thing, and you’re done. So, I want to make sure everything is right. I have such an incredible team around me that have gotten me to this point, so I let them take care of it and I just trust them. It’s been working for me for 20 years, so I’m not going to question it. I feel like there’s always a plan.
What was the experience of 8 Simple Rules like, for you and your career?
CUOCO: I keep up with all of those guys. I see Katey Sagal a lot. That was a huge part of my life. I also owe a lot of my career to that. It was definitely a stepping stone. And then, going through the trauma with John Ritter, we got very close after that, as anybody would. So, it’s important to keep those relationship. To see where everyone has gone and what they’re doing in their lives now is very, very cool.
Would you ever want to do a voice for an animated character?
CUOCO: Oh, yeah! I’ve actually done two animated shows – one for Disney and one for Fox – and it was the most fun experience ever. It’s a really easy job. I would love to get my voice out there. It’s a blast. It’s really fun.