Jillian Bell wants the real-life inspiration for Brittany Runs a Marathon to be proud of the film.
In the new movie, the 22 Jump Street actress plays Brittany Forgler, a twenty-something struggling with money, self-acceptance and finding decent friends. Following a wake-up call from the doctor about her weight, Brittany joins a running group and sets herself the target of running the New York City Marathon.
Writer/director Paul Downs Colaizzo wrote the script about his best friend Brittany Neil, but Bell and Colaizzo wanted to create a different character, and the actress hopes the real Brittany likes what they did with her story.
“You know, I was sent a video of her by Paul Downs Colaizzo. He's the writer-director, and this movie is sort of a love letter to her. They're best friends. He sent me the video of her trying to raise money so that she could run the marathon. And through that, I got a sense of who she was, and her spirit. And then I didn't end up getting to meet her until we were shooting,” she explained to InStyle.
“So many of the characters that are in Brittany Runs a Marathon were not in real Brittany's life. So, because of that, I think Paul and I wanted to work on creating (a different) character, because so much is affected by the people in your life and the environment. We didn't end up getting to meet until later. But I did still want her to feel proud of it. This was a movie that was inspired by her life.”
For the movie, the 35-year-old decided she wanted to shed some pounds to mirror Brittany’s weight-loss journey and she ended up losing 40 pounds (18 kilograms).
Explaining her decision, Bell said she wanted to “experience what she went through and to connect to the character more emotionally.”
Brittany Runs a Marathon is in cinema now.