Banks in 2014
|Born||Elizabeth Irene Mitchell
(1974-02-10) February 10, 1974
Pittsfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Alma mater||University of Pennsylvania
American Conservatory Theater
|Spouse(s)||Max Handelman (m. 2003)|
Elizabeth Irene Banks (née Mitchell; February 10, 1974) is an American actress, director, and producer. Banks made her film debut in the low-budget independent film Surrender Dorothy (1998), and is known for her roles in such films as Wet Hot American Summer (2001), Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy (2002–2007), Seabiscuit (2003), The 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005), Zack and Miri Make a Porno (2008), Role Models (2008), The Next Three Days (2010), Pitch Perfect (2012), The Lego Movie (2014), and The Hunger Games film series (2012–2015). In 2014, she portrayed Melinda Ledbetter, the girlfriend and later wife of the Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson, in Bill Pohlad‘s film Love & Mercy and made her directorial debut with Pitch Perfect 2, whose $69M opening weekend gross set a record for a first-time director.
On television, Banks had a recurring role as Avery Jessup on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock, which garnered her two Primetime Emmy Award nominations. She also had recurring roles on the comedy series Scrubs and Modern Family, the latter of which earned her a Primetime Emmy Award nomination. In 2015, she reprised her role as Lindsay in Wet Hot American Summer for the Netflix miniseries Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp.
Banks was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts and grew up on Brown Street, the eldest of four children of Ann (née Wallace) and Mark P. Mitchell. Her father, a Vietnam veteran, was a factory worker for General Electric and her mother worked in a bank. She has said that she grew up “Irish + WASP + Catholic”.
Growing up, Banks played baseball and rode horses. She was in Little League when she broke her leg sliding into third. She then tried out for the school play, which was her start in acting. She graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1992, and is a member of the Massachusetts Junior Classical League. She attended the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta Sorority. She graduated magna cum laude in 1996 with a major in communications and a minor in theater arts. In 1998, she completed schooling at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, California, where she earned an MFA.
Banks changed her name to avoid confusion with actress Elizabeth Mitchell. After auditioning in New York, she was offered a role on the soap opera Santa Barbara. Taking the role would have required her to quit her education at the American Conservatory Theatre, and Banks ultimately decided to forgo the offer due to having taken out student loans to complete her degree. She made her acting debut in the 1998 independent film Surrender Dorothy, as Elizabeth Casey, and appeared in various films over the next seven years including Guy Ritchie‘s Swept Away before gaining more prominent widespread exposure through the 2005 comedy film The 40-Year-Old Virgin.
In August 2005, at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Banks starred in William Inge‘s Bus Stop as Cherie, the sexy, blonde, aspiring nightclub singer. Jeffrey Borak wrote that Banks’ portrayal was acted “with poise, clarity and a shrewd feel for Cherie’s complexities. Her performance is all of a piece and in harmony, stylistically, with the performances around her…” In 2005, she appeared on the series Stella, and in May 2006, she had a role in the season five finale of the NBC sitcom Scrubs as Dr. Kim Briggs, the love interest of J.D. (Zach Braff). The character appeared throughout seasons six, seven, and eight as a recurring guest star.
In 2006, Banks appeared in the American football drama film Invincible, in which she played Mark Wahlberg‘s love interest. Later, she and co-star Wahlberg were nominated for the “Best Kiss” award at the MTV Movie Awards. That same year, she landed the starring role in the comedy-horror film Slither.
In 2007, Banks played the female lead in the comedy film Meet Bill, alongside Aaron Eckhart and Jessica Alba. That same year, she had a small role in the Christmas comedy film Fred Claus, co-starring Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti as Santa’s little helper, Charlyne. In 2008, she played the ex-wife and mother of the daughter of Ryan Reynolds lead in the comedy film Definitely, Maybe, alongside Isla Fisher and Ryan Reynolds, starred with Seth Rogen as the eponymous female lead in the Kevin Smith comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno, and played United States First Lady Laura Bush in W., Oliver Stone‘s biopic of George W. Bush.
In 2009, Banks appeared in the horror film The Uninvited, a remake of the Korean film A Tale of Two Sisters. The film was about an intrusive stepmother who makes life miserable for the teen daughters of her new husband. Banks based her character, Rachel, on Rebecca De Mornay‘s character in The Hand That Rocks the Cradle. “It was very important to me that every line reading I gave could be interpreted two ways,” says Banks of her role, “So that when you go back through the movie you can see that”.
Banks is a frequent co-star of actor Paul Rudd, the two having appeared in five films together to date (Wet Hot American Summer, The Baxter, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Role Models, and Our Idiot Brother). She is also a frequent co-star of actor Tobey Maguire, the two having also appeared in five films together (Spider-Man, Seabiscuit, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3, and The Details).
Banks was cast as a love interest for Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) in the fourth season of the Emmy Award-winning sitcom 30 Rock. Intended to appear in four episodes in 2010, Banks went on to become a recurring character with 13 appearances by the end of the fifth season, including her marriage in the episode Mrs. Donaghy. Her performance in season five earned her a nomination for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards.
Banks appeared in the movie The Hunger Games (2012), playing Effie Trinket, a woman from “The Capitol” who escorts the District 12 tributes to the Hunger Games. She reprised the role in the films The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014), and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015). Banks co-starred in the 2014 movie Every Secret Thing, playing Detective Nancy Porter investigating the disappearance of a young child with similarities to a case she had previously been involved with.
In 2014, Banks was recognized by Elle Magazine during The Women in Hollywood Awards, honoring women for their outstanding achievements in film, spanning all aspects of the motion picture industry, including acting, directing, and producing.
Banks portrayed Melinda Ledbetter Wilson, the wife of Brian Wilson, in the 2015 biopic Love and Mercy, which is based on the life of the legendary musician and founding member of The Beach Boys, as portrayed by John Cusack. After producing and appearing, as Gail, in the first Pitch Perfect film, Banks directed its sequel, Pitch Perfect 2 (2015), making her feature directorial debut. She also produced the film, and again played Gail. In 2015, she was named as a member of the Jury for the Main Competition at the 2015 Venice Film Festival. The festival is chaired by Alfonso Cuarón. Also in 2015, Banks became a spokeswoman for Realtor.com in their series of television commercials. In February 2016, Banks was cast as Rita Repulsa in the 2017 Power Rangers reboot film. As of mid-February 2016, Banks became the commercial face of Old Navy.
Banks met her husband, sportswriter and producer Max Handelman, on her first day at college on September 6, 1992. They were married in 2003. She and her husband had their first child, Felix, who was born through a surrogate in March 2011. In November 2012, Banks announced the birth of another son, Magnus Mitchell, also by surrogate.
Banks went through parts of conversion to Judaism, her husband’s faith, and studied with rabbis. In 2013, speaking of her religion, she stated that she practices Judaism, though “I did not have my mikveh, so technically I’m not converted”, but that she has “been essentially a Jew for like 15 years”, adding “Frankly, because I’m already doing everything [practicing religious rituals], I feel like I’m as Jewish as I’m ever going to be”.
Banks was a vocal supporter of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, involved in a rendition of Rachel Platten’s single “Fight Song” with a host of other celebrities at the Democratic National Convention.
|1998||Surrender Dorothy||Vicki||Credited as Elizabeth Casey|
|2000||Shaft||Trey’s friend||Credited as Elizabeth Maresal Mitchell|
|2001||Wet Hot American Summer||Lindsay|
|Catch Me If You Can||Lucy Forrest|
|2003||The Trade||Sioux Sever|
|2004||Spider-Man 2||Betty Brant|
|The Sisters||Nancy Pecket|
|The Baxter||Caroline Swann|
|The 40-Year-Old Virgin||Beth|
|2007||Spider-Man 3||Betty Brant|
|2008||Definitely, Maybe||Emily Jones|
|Meet Dave||Gina Morrison|
|Zack and Miri Make a Porno||Miriam “Miri” Linky|
|Role Models||Beth Jones|
|2009||Big Breaks||Starlet||Short film|
|The Uninvited||Rachel Summers|
|2010||The Next Three Days||Lara Brennan|
|2011||The Details||Nealy Lang|
|Just a Little Heart Attack||Woman||Short film
|Our Idiot Brother||Miranda Rochlin|
|2012||Man on a Ledge||Lydia Mercer|
|The Hunger Games||Effie Trinket|
|What to Expect When You’re Expecting||Wendy Cooper|
|People Like Us||Frankie Davis|
|Pitch Perfect||Gail Abernathy-McKadden||Also producer|
|2013||Movie 43||Amy||Segment: “Beezel”
Directed segment: “Middleschool Date”
|The Hunger Games: Catching Fire||Effie Trinket|
|2014||Little Accidents||Diane Doyle|
|The Lego Movie||Wyldstyle/Lucy||Voice role|
|Walk of Shame||Meghan Miles|
|Every Secret Thing||Detective Nancy Porter|
|Love & Mercy||Melinda Ledbetter|
|The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1||Effie Trinket|
|2015||Pitch Perfect 2||Gail Abernathy-McKadden-Feinberger||Also director and producer|
|Magic Mike XXL||Paris|
|The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2||Effie Trinket|
|2017||The Most Hated Woman in America||N/A||Producer|
|Power Rangers||Rita Repulsa|||
|Pitch Perfect 3||Gail Abernathy-McKadden-Feinberger||Also producer; filming|
|1998||Keep Going Safety||Ben’s Mom||Voice role|
|1999||All My Children||Rosalie||1 episode|
|1999||Third Watch||Elaine Elchisak||Episode: “Patterns”
Credited as Elizabeth Maresal Mitchell
|2000||Sex and the City||Catherine||Episode: “Politically Erect”|
|2001||Law & Order: Special Victims Unit||Jaina Tobias Jansen||Episode: “Sacrifice”|
|2002||Without a Trace||Clarissa||Episode: “Snatch Back”|
|2005||Stella||Tamara||Episode: “Meeting Girls”|
|2006–09||Scrubs||Dr. Kim Briggs||17 episodes|
|2007–08||Wainy Days||Shelly||3 episodes|
|2007–08||American Dad!||Becky Arangino / Lisa Silver (voices)||3 episodes|
|2008||Comanche Moon||Maggie Tilton||3 episodes|
|2009, 2013–15, 2017||Modern Family||Sal||6 episodes|
|2010–12||30 Rock||Avery Jessup||15 episodes|
|2012||Family Guy||Pam Fishman (voice)||Episode: “Into Fat Air“|
|2012||Robot Chicken||Mrs. Claus / Shana “Scarlett” O’Hara (voices)||Episode: “Robot Chicken’s ATM Christmas Special”|
|2012||Comedy Bang! Bang!||Herself||Episode: “Elizabeth Banks Wears A Red Dress”|
|2013||Timms Valley||Beth Billings-Timms (voice)||Pilot|
|2014||Phineas and Ferb||Grulinda (voice)||Episode: “Imperfect Storm”|
|2015||Resident Advisors||Doctor||Episode: “Motivational Speaker “; also producer|
|2015||Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp||Lindsay||6 episodes|
|2015||Moonbeam City||Chief Pizzaz Miller (voice)||10 episodes|
|2015||The Muppets||Herself||Episode: “Pig Girls Don’t Cry”|
|2015||Saturday Night Live||Herself/host||Episode: “Elizabeth Banks/Disclosure“|
|2017||Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later||Lindsay||Upcoming Netflix series|
|2014||The Lego Movie Videogame||Wyldstyle/Lucy|
Awards and nominations
|2003||Young Hollywood Awards||Exciting New Face||N/A||Won|||
|2004||Screen Actors Guild||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
(shared with rest of cast)
|2007||MTV Movie Awards||Best Kiss
(shared with Mark Wahlberg)
|2008||Detroit Film Critics Society||Best Supporting Actress||W.||Nominated|||
|2009||Women in Film Crystal + Lucy Awards||Face of the Future Award||N/A||Won|||
|2011||Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series||30 Rock||Nominated|||
|2012||MTV Movie Awards||Best On-Screen Transformation||The Hunger Games||Won|||
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie: Female Scene Stealer||Nominated|||
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series||30 Rock||Nominated|||
|2013||CinemaCon||Excellence in Acting||N/A||Won|||
|Online Film & Television Association||Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series||Modern Family||Nominated|||
|San Diego Film Critics Society||Best Supporting Actress||The Hunger Games: Catching Fire||Nominated|||
|2014||Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Director
(shared with rest of the directors)
|MTV Movie Awards||Best On-Screen Transformation||The Hunger Games: Catching Fire||Nominated|||
|2015||Austin Film Critics Association||Best Supporting Actress||Love & Mercy||Nominated|||
|BTVA Feature Film Voice Acting Award||Best Female Lead Vocal Performance in a Feature Film||The Lego Movie||Nominated|||
|Best Vocal Ensemble in a Feature Film
(shared with rest of the cast)
|BTVA People’s Choice Voice Acting Award||Best Female Lead Vocal Performance in a Feature Film||Won|
|Best Vocal Ensemble in a Feature Film
(shared with rest of the cast)
|CinemaCon||Breakthrough Filmmaker of the Year||N/A||Won|||
|Florida Film Critics Circle Awards||Best Supporting Actress||Love & Mercy||Nominated|||
|Indiana Film Journalists Association||Best Supporting Actress||Runner-up|||
|Las Vegas Film Critics Society||Best Supporting Actress||Won|||
|MTV Movie Awards||Best On-Screen Transformation||The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1||Won|||
|Online Film & Television Association Awards||Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series||Modern Family||Nominated|||
|Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards||Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series||Nominated|||
|San Francisco Film Critics Circle||Best Supporting Actress||Love & Mercy||Runner-up|||
|2016||Santa Barbara International Film Festival||Virtuoso Award||Won|||
|Satellite Awards||Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture||Nominated|||
|Golden Raspberry Awards||The Razzie Redeemer Award||Pitch Perfect 2||Nominated|||