Elizabeth Banks has been killing it on 30 Rock all season as Republican newswoman Avery Jessup. To promote this week's season finale, Banks took a media call and spilled a few spoiler-y details about the episode. Below are the highlights.
Who's your inspiration for playing Avery?
Elizabeth Banks: I watch a lot of cable news -- which is sort of depressing -- but so I'm aware of who all those personalities are. And I really wanted to play it like any of those ladies who have those shows. I love Maria Bartiroma. Avery was sort of based on her in my mind a little bit, but also all the guys. I love the idea of the countdown; I thought it was very Keith Olbermann, so that's who I was sort of impersonating. But she's an amalgam of many, many characters. And contrary to the Page Six reports, she's not based on any one person.
Whom do you think Jack should chose: Avery or Nancy?
Banks: Well, Avery's ego will definitely say you should choose Avery, but she'd probably really want to be chosen just so that she can then have the glory of then dumping him. And I think he's probably playing with fire with Julianne's character. I think he's right in saying she's a fiery red-headed Irish lady from Boston. I know those ladies, and they are tough cookies. We're both tough cookies! So, we'll see. I think he should do whatever's best for him.
I will tell you that Julianne Moore and I do have a scene together. I don't know if it's quite the face-off that you're expecting, but we do meet in the finale. Let's put it this way: I think that no matter who he chooses -- I don't know that he's going to -- I doubt this is going to be the be-all end-all for his love life. It's open-ended at the end of the season as to what's going to happen with Avery.
Do you get offered a lot of guest spots? What's the criteria for doing a show?
Banks: The criteria for me is that the character is amazing, and that I actually get to score comedically on the show and instead of just being there to support everybody else. And I don't want to go do TV and then be bored by what I'm doing on TV. So it's just people who write something really exciting. Bill Lawrence on Scrubs always wrote me really fun, funny exciting stuff to do. I always felt like I was part of that ensemble. I feel the same way on 30 Rock. It's really just looking for that sense of belonging.
How much of your dialogue is ad-libbed?
Banks: None of it is ad-libbed. On the first day that I got there I said, "Hey, do we ad-lib on this show?" and I was told no. Those writers work very, very hard in that writer's room for a really long time perfecting those jokes so we just do our best to say them. And if something fun sort of comes out of it in the moment, it's not like forbidden, but it's sort of rendered unnecessary.
Were you a big fan of 30 Rock before you got on there?
Banks: I was. I'm a huge Tina Fey fan, and I have a few friends on the writing staff. I think they're all amazing. And, yeah, I was a huge fan of the show, of course. In terms of doing television, if you're going to do a guest star on a show, you pretty much want it to be on the show that wins all the Emmys.
Any other shows you're watching right now?
Banks: I'm watching Justified. My buddy Timothy Olyphant, who I think is great, is in it. I'm a huge Lost fan, but I have not seen this week's so I don't want to hear anything about it. I don't want to read anything about it; I don't want to know anything. I am actually two behind, I'm saving them up for myself. I'm devastated that the series is ending. I also watch The Office. And a few other shows -- I'm excited for True Blood and Mad Men to come back.
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