I really liked creating characters and sketches,” Bell said. “I started pretty early. When I moved out to L.A. when I was 18 and started taking classes at the Groundlings. I just enjoyed it. It really makes me happy if I can make someone laugh. Still to this day, it makes me very happy.”
t’s a story so horrific, some would hesitate to believe that it’s true: at the age of 16, Brian Banks, then a promising high school football star heading for a career with the NFL, had his dreams stolen away from him when he was falsely accused of raping a classmate and spent more than five years in jail – and another five on probation – over the claims, despite a lack of evidence.
Banks’ case, which has since been turned into a feature film “Brian Banks,” now showing in theaters, is one of many cases of wrongful convictions that lawyer Justin Brooks has played an instrumental role in overturning. Brooks is the director and co-founded of the California Innocence Project, a clinical program at California Western School of Law where lawyers work together to help the wrongfully convicted clear their names and, in some cases, win back their freedom.
“There are a couple of moments of improvisational runs throughout the movie but most of that was we’d run it a few times as is and then Paul was like, ‘How wild would she go in this scene?’” Bell said. “ I just was sort of like, ‘Well, I think she would just be distracting a lot and the scene called for her not wanting her boss to fire her or call her out on being late again. So yeah, from there, we just had fun riffing.”
Then came the physical challenge. While Jillian Bell did not have to run a full marathon herself, she still had to play someone training for one.
“At first I didn’t have a trainer because I wanted videotapes of how I held my body the first time I started running, because I wasn’t a runner,” Bell said. “I thought that was important for showing the progression in the film of how she holds her own body while she’s running.”