Aug. 22--Lake Bell is on a mission: Enough with the "sexy baby" voice, ladies. You're better than that.
In her new movie "In a World," the comedic actress known for "No Strings Attached" and "What Happens in Vegas" mixes comedy with female empowerment as a woman looking for work in the movie-trailer voice-over industry. The woman is trying to find her voice -- emotionally and physically.
Bell feels so strongly about the subject -- what a woman's voice says about her personality -- that she is not only the star of her film, but also the producer, director and writer of a smart, witty script aimed at the funny bone and women's vocal affectations.
"The movie is something of a cry for help for a young generation of women who have been victimized in the 'sexy baby vocal virus,' " Bell said in a recent phone interview, referring to a voice-type that she said she's heard too many times on too many reality shows.
"But I want 'In a World' to be a respectful prod, you know, like 'Hey, I think you're better than that' because too many are speaking in this disrespectful tone. It's an epidemic that is infecting too many women."
The movie's title is inspired by those three words ("In a world ...") uttered at the beginning of so many movie trailers that it's become a cliche. It is also a phrase that has been uttered only by men, as women have little access to the voice-over world -- especially for movie trailers.
Bell should know. When she first came to Hollywood, she auditioned for roles as an actress and as a voice-over performer.
"Accents and dialects always fascinated me -- all those people with these mysterious voices -- that I thought were so dramatic and theatrical somehow," she said of being drawn to experimenting with different voices as a child.
"I was the little kid who wanted to do that, to the point of dinner party tricks. It was my little 'late, late show' of silly acts and characterizations."
But when she tried out her talents in Hollywood, hoping to win the job for a movie trailer or advertisement?
"I really couldn't get arrested, and I was intrigued by that and really peeved," Bell said.
"There was being told 'no' at auditions, and then there was not being able to get auditions. It gave me this idea of investigating this woman who takes on the film industry, to see if maybe a woman might say the words 'In a world ...' "
Women can be "guilty of all kinds of vocal affections, and it's always a sign of our times," Bell said, ranging from speaking with a sense of musicality in the 1940s to the "valley girl" talk of the 1980s.
"But I'd just hope that some women today would be more self-aware of how they are representing themselves vocally, whether trying to find that dream job or that dream partner or whatever."
Bell is keenly aware that we all live "In a World" in which a variety of voices call out to us every day, telling us what cars to buy and what banks to trust. And, of course, what movies to see.
'In a World'
The comedy about movie trailer voice-actors, their clubby existence and the lack of female voices in this club opens Friday in Tulsa, playing exclusively at Circle Cinema.
Lake Bell is the star, as well as writer, director and producer of "In a World." Watch a trailer at tulsaworld.com/iseemoviesforfree
Look for a review of the film in Friday's Tulsa World Scene section.
Michael Smith 918-581-8479
(c)2013 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.)
Visit Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.) at www.tulsaworld.com
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