By Charlie Ridgely
The Good Place star Kristen Bell has a brand new series coming to Netflix, one that required the actress to deliver the best worst performance possible. The series is called The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window (yes, really) and it’s a satire of a very specific type of story in the mystery/thriller genre. The Woman takes aim at titles like The Woman in the Window and The Girl on the Train, making an over-dramatic story look and feel as ridiculous as it sometimes should.
Bell plays the lead role in the new series, and it caused her to flex a different kind of acting muscle. The content within the show is silly a lot of the time, but the main character is required to take everything seriously. For Bell, that meant diving headfirst into the absurdity with as straight a face as possible, oftentimes making her own character look bad.
“We’re definitely taking this genre, which is so fun but very cliché, and poking fun at it, so I was looking to the director and the writers and [asking] ‘Am I on track?,'” Bell told TVLine in a recent interview. “As an actor I want everything to feel real and authentic, and I want the scene to feel real and authentic, but you really just had to be at the mercy of the genre and go, ‘You’re not in charge as an actor, the genre is in charge. Just say these words that are on the page. There are people behind the monitors that are making sure what you’re doing is good.’ Sometimes I just felt like I was doing bad acting, and then I realized that is what this needed. It needed some good, bad acting.”
In order to get the audience to really buy into the concept of The Woman, Bell had to be a little more serious for the first few episodes.
“I definitely leaned more into the authenticity [than the satire],” the actress said. “I was confused about how to accomplish this tone, because the first couple of episodes are much more sincere, and then once we hook the viewer with the suspense, the absurdity starts to kick in.”
The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window also stars Michael Ealy, Tom Riley, and Samsara Yett. The series arrives on Netflix on January 28th.
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