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INTERVIEW: Elizabeth Banks channels Scorsese classic in ‘Walk of Shame’

Despite its title, Elizabeth Banks says that her new movie, Walk of Shame, isn’t really about feeling shameful after a one night stand. Instead, it’s about a “woman at a crisis point who feels like she’s lost control over her life.”

In the film, Banks plays Meghan Miles, a reporter living in Los Angeles who is on the verge of getting her first big break.  Her character has one night to make it from James Marsden’s apartment to an interview for a news anchor job, but the city refuses to let her escape.

This Kafkaesque situation might sound familiar to fans of Martin Scorsese’s 1985 black comedy After Hours. In a conference call interview with The Daily Free Press, Banks says that this similarity entirely intentional.

“This movie really owes a lot to Martin Scorsese’s After Hours, starring Griffin Dunne,” she said in a phone interview. “Griffin is an old friend of mine and I absolutely love that movie. That’s the movie that I look to. … For me it’s about how we could recreate any of the sensibilities of After Hours.”

Scorsese’s original is set in New York City and centers on Paul Hackett (Dunne) and his attempts to escape SoHo with his Plaster-of-Paris, bagel-and-cream-cheese paperweight. Over the course of the night Dunne loses his wallet, finds a dead burn victim, witnesses a killing, is chased by a murderous LGBT mob, has a chunk of his hair shaved off and is encased in a statue.  It’s safe to say that After Hours is a very strange, very dark story. Walk of Shame, on the other hand, is an entirely new production tailored to an entirely new audience.

“One of the reasons I love this movie [Walk of Shame] is that I saw the parallels and really felt like updating it to downtown LA and turning it around, making it about this woman and giving her a real purpose of getting home, and giving her all these fun characters to interact with,” Banks said. “After Hours is a little darker, but I think this tone was more right for us.”

“Walk of Shame” opens in theaters Friday.

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