Alice Eve and Krysten Ritter, close friends both in real life and on the screen, are so disarming and natural—goofy, even—that you end up being as comfortable with them as you’re ever likely to be in the presence of two women this beautiful. And their easy camaraderie translates well onto the screen in this spring’s soon-to-be-blockbuster She’s Out of My League. But to hear them explain it, the keys to the film are actually the romance and the ensemble. “It’s a love story, and around that love story you see the two characters’ friendships and their families,” Eve explains. “But the love story begins and ends it.” “It’s definitely the through line for the movie,” adds Ritter. “And it’s a great ensemble performance by everyone.” “Yes, yes,” Alice interjects. “Watching the movie, I couldn’t believe how every single person the camera went to had such a great performance.”
Eve’s performance has a sunny, energetic, having-the-time-of-her-life enthusiasm that hasn’t been seen in a comedy since Cameron Diaz was still a breath of fresh air (it seems a generation ago) in There’s Something About Mary. And she’s very conscious about stepping into that line: “To be in the tradition of romantic comedy is really an honor, because those movies really got me through a lot of my life. I spent a lot of years watching those movies. I just tried to get into those scenes and serve the purpose of what my character was there to do.”
If those sound like the words of someone classically trained, that’s no accident—Eve is the daughter of two professional actors, studied at Oxford, and even spent a year acting for the great Tom Stoppard, including six months on the West End: “The live audience really whips you into shape; having a live audience leaves you no room for any kind of mistake or glitch in your comic timing. I’m forever grateful for every single person that laughed, or didn’t laugh, and gave me those lessons. Because I was the comic relief in that play; even though there’s a very heavy background with the fall of communism, I would come on and be the light young spark in the play. And every night I got to learn what people like and don’t like. And audiences are very clever. I consider that my greatest accomplishment, being in his company; he’s nearly our greatest living playwright.”
Ritter provides a deliciously sarcastic counterweight to Eve’s performance in the film, but her path here was notably different. “I was a farm girl, and I wasn’t doing much of anything except feeling frustrated,” she says. “Then I was discovered at the local mall, and I got shipped off as a model all around the world, and met a bunch of indie rockers and great friends who were in bands. And my dad had gotten me a guitar when I was five years old, but I never really played with purpose. But once I was exposed to this creative world, I wanted to be a part of all of it. So I started doing all of it at the same time. And for me, acting and music and writing all feel like the same job.”
After working her way up through roles like “Girl on Couch” and “Art History Student,” she broke through with starring spots in Veronica Mars, Gilmore Girls, and 27 Dresses, setting her up to show her more serious side in the acclaimed series Breaking Bad.
And now her versatility really comes into play; she’s the lead actor in a new series for Starz that she’ll be providing music for as well. “Yeah, the director asked me for a CD and when he finally listened to it he said, ‘Wait, is this really you? I’m going to have to use a couple of these songs.’ So I tacked that onto my deal, opportunist that I am. I think Breaking Bad really helped me get this show, because before that a lot of people saw me primarily as a comedic actress. It’s a half-hour comedy, but it’s not a laugh a minute. It’s really a tragicomedy about people who have attempted suicide and failed, and are court-ordered to join a suicide group. So it’s sort of them coming back to life, figuratively and literally.”
The two disparate paths converge in She’s Out of My League this week, and if their chemistry both onscreen and off is any indication, it won’t be for the last time.