People don’t normally associate the name Nina Dobrev with comedy. The breakout starlet of the hit CW series The Vampire Diaries is more firmly rooted in drama, but she seems eager to spread her talents around. And so she’ll stretch her funny bone alongside funny men Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans Jr. in Let’s Be Cops, which opens in UK cinemas on August 27.
The film follows a pair of hapless friends in Los Angeles, who masquerade as police officers to reap the benefits and prestige of wearing the badge. We were lucky enough to chat with Nina about a variety of things including her role in the film, working with awesomely funny people, Twitter, and buddy cop movies (her answer may surprise you).
So I mentioned on Twitter that I’d be talking to you and I got a slew of responses from your 4 million followers that were like, “why do YOU get to talk to her.” I guess I’m unworthy.
No, it’s funny. My friends, and especially my brother at one point, he texted me one night and was like, “hey, we need to talk – it’s really important”. I was like, oh my god – what happened… who died… did you have a girlfriend break up with you, are you okay? You know, what’s going on? We got on the phone and he was like, “I never want you to post another picture of me again. Don’t tweet at me. Don’t do anything. Forget I exist. I’m sick of all your fans harassing me! Trying to contact me! I’m over it!” I was like, oh, I’m sorry! (Laughs)
This movie is pretty funny. How did you come to be involved with it?
Well, just the typical way anyone in my position could. I don’t get offered everything – maybe in the future. Right now, for this one, I read the script and loved it. I auditioned for it, and then I flew out and did chemistry reads with Damon, and I guess I just charmed them into giving me the part. I guess they just liked me.
Yeah, you do have pretty good chemistry with Damon and he seems like a pretty cool guy.
He’s awesome, yeah.
What was it like working with somebody with sort of a big, comedic personality like his?
Well, for one, to be honest with you I wasn’t familiar with any of his work or Jake’s before the movie. I later, when I got it and told people what I was doing, found out that they were a big deal in the comedy world. But, I think that’s what helps not intimidate me, and I was able to just meet them – they’re like regular Joe Schmoes – and we had a great time, and we played around and I learned a lot from them. I feel like if I had known about their stuff from before I would have changed the way I acted around them, or the way I looked at them, but I just saw them as my buddies.
Now you come from a background in drama, so is it harder to be funny or dramatic?
It’s harder for me to be funny. I feel like because of the pressure you may need to be to be funny, that that was the first thing I needed to overcome. But once I realized that that’s the last thing you should be doing, it made it a lot easier for me to just… Look funny things happen out of real, serious, desperate situations, so if you desperately want something, the way you act can sometimes come across as funny, because you have to go for it. You just have to let go, and commit to what you’re doing. So, there was a huge learning curve for me, and most of it was by watching and being around Damon and everyone else in the cast, because they were the ones that had to do the brunt of the comedy. I got to sit back and sort of – it was like one giant acting class. Then, when I did my next comedy, I felt way more prepared and way more comfortable to take on a bigger role.
This movie kind of sets up the possibility of a sequel. Is that something you’d be interested in coming back for, should it happen?
Yeah, if it does well, and people want to see another one. I know that all of us had fun doing it. I would love that, yeah.
What’s your favourite buddy cop movie?
My favourite buddy cop movie… I mean, there’s so many of them. I’m so bad at remembering titles of movies. Name some and I’ll tell you which ones.
How about Lethal Weapon or Bad Boys?
Bad Boys is awesome.
Bad Boys is pretty awesome.
There was one that was in Canada that was a French Canadian production. I think it ended up doing really, really, well in the United States. I think it was called “Good Cop, Bad Cop”.
Yeah! I think I know what you’re talking about.
It was French. Wasn’t it in French? Or one of the characters was French?
I think you’re right. I can’t remember details but I think I know what you’re talking about.
That one was hilarious. I remember at the time loving it. I can’t remember what it was called.
Alright, so I know you have season 6 of Vampire Diaries coming up, but are there any other films we should be on the lookout for?
Yeah, it called The Final Girls. It’s also a comedy, with a thriller/action aspect. It was so much fun to do. Especially because, like I said I had Let’s Be Cops under my belt. So this time I was able to play more, and feel more comfortable, and take more risks and just create a character that was all my own. And I just loved it because it is such an original concept, and I personally am sort of over seeing the same thing being done over and over again as an audience member. So, especially as an actress getting to work on a project that’s an original concept, with really talented filmmakers, an awesome cast, it was a real joy for me.
Let’s Be Cops is out in cinemas now.