While gushing with joy and pride for BFF & Baby — “I loved the experience more than anything in my entire life, career, personal and otherwise” — and juggling multiple writing projects (both solo and co-written with Coiro), Ritter remains as focused as ever on her primary passion: acting. “Acting is always my first choice,” she affirms. That said, writing is a close runner-up. “I take the writing just as seriously and love it so much. You can get lost in a character in the same way. And I think they feed each other. At the end of the day it’s all about creating and expression.”
On the acting front, Ritter is immersed, rendering her so busy that dating has become a feat. “Yes,” she notes, “It’s hard. Oy vey.” And dating while dodging the paparazzi? “That comes with it,” she says, “but I’m not going to change how I live my life. Ever. I’m a pretty serious and professionally-driven chick but I would never not make out in public because I’m worried about what someone might say or think or talk about. I mean, who cares?”
Despite intrusive cameras, being an actress has its perks. True, her working schedule these days leaves little room for dating, but the work itself throws dashing leading men into her path more often than not, such as her upcoming spring release, Killing Bono, that sees her acting opposite Ben Barnes (The Chronicles of Narnia). Counted amongst Britain’s prized bright young things and courted by the American industry, Barnes has Ritter unabashedly captivated. “I love me some Ben Barnes. He is just a sweet little chocolate from heaven,” she gushes. “He’s one of the nicest guys — so shockingly down to earth and fun to be around. I adore him and think we will be friends till we’re old geezers.” All that and she adds, “Not too hard on the eyes either!”
As suggested by the film’s title, Killing Bono is the story of two brothers struggling to make a go of their musical careers under the crushing shadow of watching U2, former schoolmates of the brothers, become international superstars. Ritter plays Gloria, a feisty ex-punk rocker, brother Neil’s (Barnes) love interest and the band’s manager. “She’s Ben’s reluctant girlfriend,” she says. “When Ben’s character and mine first meet she’s not really interested in him, but he’s so cute and follows her around like a puppy and soon she can’t help but be intrigued. The dynamic is sweet. She gives him a run for his money.”
The odd American in a cast of Brits, Ritter’s accent inspired its fair share of punch lines on set. “Brits always make fun of American accents,” she says. “And when they impersonate me they always make me sound like a vulgar, loud, Billy goat.” Teasing aside, Ritter has no problem with Hollywood’s turn to British leading men such as Barnes and fellow countrymen Robert Pattinson (Twilight), Aaron Johnson (Nowhere Boy), and Matthew Goode (A Single Man, and rumoured to be the next Man of Steel in the Superman film franchise). “It’s like their birthright, huh?” she ponders. “I mean, I get it. I love an across-the-pond boy myself.” And who is this mystery transatlantic crush to whom she refers? Well, that remains unknown, though while on set, she does mention FILLER’s former cover model Luke Evans’ impressive performance in Stephen Frears’s Tamara Drewe once or twice.
On breakout performances, film critics are already betting on Ritter turning heads in her upcoming 2011 feature Vamps — director Amy Heckerling’s latest poke at pop culture. Sharing the lead with former Heckerling-made generational icon Alicia Silverstone of Clueless fame, Ritter plays Stacy, a thirsty immortal party girl and best friend to fellow cold one Goody (Silverstone). All’s well and delicious on the New York scene until their friendship beings to crack under the pressure of choosing between love and immortality. Familiar tale? Likely not. With Heckerling at the helm, it can only be assumed that the eau de brute that typically lingers in the air around the beautiful undead will be pungent with notes of irony. “She has this amazing ability to capture a voice and a style of a young generation while infusing everything she does with so much perspective and soul and heart,” says Ritter of her director. Genuinely enthralled with everything Heckerling (“I just love Amy Heckerling and I am completely in awe of her talent”), she goes into giddy schoolgirl mode when talking about the director, whom she has been a fan of since her actual schoolgirl days. “Are you kidding!?” she cries out when asked if she was a fan of Heckerling’ films pre-Vamps. “Fast Times [at Ridgemont High] and Clueless are in my top 10 all time faves. I also love Look Who’s Talking. I used to run home from school every day to watch Clueless. On repeat! It would end and I would rewind it (yes, rewind) to watch it again.”
Ritter’s excitement and enthusiasm for her work and those she works with (it’s like a sleepover when her hair and makeup team arrive — buzz, chitter, buzz, chatter) stems from a surplus of energy seemingly recharged on air. When not expending her talents on film, Ritter focuses her verve on music, specifically her band Ex Vivian — look for her on vocals, guitar, and keys. “I always wanted to be a rock star. That was my thing,” she confesses. Moonlighting is a functional alternative from the sounds of her minimalist pop group; tracks have the tragic emotional reckonings every good willowy almost-dance beat should. Favourite band of the moment The National, which she admits to listening to “obsessively on repeat,” would approve.
It’s an artist’s prerogative to mix and match and throw on a new hat or two when the mood strikes them. In Ritter’s case, whether immersed in acting, writing or music, variety turns the wheels of her imagination. “Sometimes I act like a little kid and love to have a good time — and sometimes I’m very serious and focused,” says Ritter. “It’s the same for everyone. I’m a regular 3-dimensional gal. It depends on the day. I like to work hard and I like to play hard.” A creativity junkie, Ritter has her hands in all jars stored in the arts’ cabinetry of goodies, with no intent of releasing her grip on a single cookie anytime soon.