Anna Faris Talks Shopping For Chris Pratt & Red Carpet Weirdness

Photo: Getty Images for Visa Checkout.
It’s a Tuesday night at Up & Down, an upscale bar and lounge in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Two men in chef’s clothing are rolling sushi on a large table, and Anna Faris, surrounded by holiday swag, is hosting a gift-giving competition with a host from Entertainment Tonight.

The event is part of the Visa Checkout holiday campaign, for which the charismatic actress who won our hearts in Just Friends, is a spokesperson. She plays along gamely, as I watch nearby. Beside me, two publicists, in nearly identical black dresses, stretch out like cats on a sofa, wondering aloud why the bar isn’t open yet. Good question.

Faris, clad in a black romper, her hair pulled up into a sleek ponytail, makes her way up to a platform with Ms. ET, who wants to know about Chris Pratt, Faris’ husband. Naturally. What is she getting him for Christmas? “Maybe a knife,” the actress replies. A man comes over to tell the sleepy publicists that the bar has begun serving drinks. They get up in search of some white wine.

When Faris and I sit down for our chat, we end up talking about her podcast Unqualified, which she launched in September. Its tagline is “Not-so-great relationship advice from completely unqualified Hollywood types.” I remember an episode where she tells her first guest, Allison Janney (her co-star on the CBS series Mom), that she considers herself nosy. I ask if that means she’s the type of person who sneaks around the house in search of hidden Christmas presents.

“No. I’m really nosy, but I’m not...well, I’m curious, I guess I should say,” Faris says. “But I’ve learned through terrible mistakes to not be too inquisitive. So, like, I don’t know any of Chris’ passwords. I do not snoop. If I’m going to wash his pants or jeans, I make him clean out his pockets. I just feel like I’ve learned enough at this stage in life to not go looking for trouble.”

Trouble? Has she ever found something strange that she wishes she hadn’t? “Yeah, just, like, with exes and stuff. I feel like you’re going to find whatever you’re looking for, you know?” She laughs a bit, “I’m too tired.”

Since we’re celebrating the great American tradition of holiday shopping, I ask her who's the hardest person to buy for her on Christmas list. “Who’s your hardest?” she asks me, her hands folded demurely in her lap. I tell her it's my boyfriend. She nods. “Why are guys so difficult?” she wonders, sighing. “Chris is definitely tricky.” But apparently, he's quite good at giving gifts himself. “He’s so great with jewelry. He’s great with clothing. I don’t even know. For a guy who’s such a dude, he’s a really good gift giver.” The easiest person to shop for is her 3-year-old son, Jack. “You could wrap like, an orange. He just loves the unwrapping process."

As we talk, the event manager mills about, getting antsy about turning on the music, which she wants “really loud.” Another rep starts to hover. I sense I have time for one last question, so I ask how Faris feels about the questions women are asked on the red carpet.

“I feel so... ” she says, pausing for a moment. "Like my podcast — so unqualified. Like, what is happening? I do not belong here at all. It’s such an odd part of the job, and I really don’t feel like I belong. It’s been such a gift to have started my career in the comedy world, but you know, Chris like..." She trails off again here, as her gaze drifts upward. "Being able to walk the red carpet with Chris gives me a huge sense of pride, but I’m still like… I don’t belong here, I don’t belong here. But it’s just a weird business we’re in. Like, did I wear the right thing? I look crazy. Did I do the crazy eyes again? I’m probably doing the crazy eyes," she says, rattling off her red carpet inner monologue, that many celebrities undoubtedly share. She looks back at me knowingly, "But what are you going to do? I don’t know."

By now, various reps have given me the hook, so Faris and I shake hands. I make my way to the door. Faris joins her publicist and heads over to the table of gifts on display. There's a sweatshirt, a turntable, and some headphones. But sadly, no oranges.