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influences

Kristen Bell Explains Her Cultural Influences

Next month, Kristen Bell will reprise the role that put her on the map in Veronica Mars, the Kickstarter-subsidized movie sequel to the beloved TV series that was canceled in 2007 after three seasons. These are the movies, performers, and cuisines that made her.           

“This American Life”
Ira Glass proves that you don’t have to unroll the most salacious details immediately—as so much modern journalism does—or beg for your audience to listen. You can slowly captivate them.

The Big Lebowski
It’s one of [Veronica Mars creator] Rob Thomas’s and my favorite movies, and that’s why there were so many references on the show. It’s a practically perfect comedy.

Green tea
The hours on this production were grueling, and without caffeine, I’m a useless hunk of lunch meat. Green tea is a necessity! Pretty much any type. I buy it in bulk from Costco—favorite store on the planet. I don’t drink, I don’t have any other vices, so I allow myself this one.

Motorcycle boots and corduroy jackets
Just always makes me think of Veronica. She was normally in a pair of Frye motorcycle boots and a Gap corduroy jacket, which was her uniform for a lot of the series.

Catherine O’Hara
One of the most talented character actresses ever. I’d watch her do anything. I’d watch her take a nap.

Game of Thrones
I’m Jon Snow all the way, ready to save the world from White Walkers. On Halloween, I went as Khaleesi and Dax [Shepard], my husband, went as Khal Drogo. We have two dogs and a baby, and they were all dragons.

Waiting for Guffman
The best comedy ever made. Nothing is funnier to me than when actors talk about themselves. There are many times that I’m talking with another actor about the industry, and all I’m picturing is Corky St. Clair: “Fresh off a destroyer with a dance belt and a tube of Chapstick.”

Martin Short
That sketch show he used to have—The Show Formerly Known As the Martin Short Show—had some of the funniest moments I can remember. Specifically, there was this sketch called Models Amalgamated [a parody of Models Inc.], like a reality show of a house of models. He played a model and acted like an idiot.

California produce
If I’m not eating well, I’m not interested in work or anything else. Some of my best breakthroughs take place over a meal. Not to be too cliché, but I really like California food. I love the kale smoothie of it all, where everything is fresh, everything is out of the garden, everything grows here. In my backyard, I have a fig tree, a lemon tree, a tangerine tree, a plum tree, an apple tree, and an apricot tree.

Double Indemnity
A fabulous thriller and a classic example of film noir that set the bar high for everything else to follow in the genre, including Veronica Mars. And Barbara Stanwyck is one of my idols.

Kickstarter
They were our partners in making the movie. It wouldn’t have happened without them.

Amy Poehler
She knows how to ride that line between kind and sassy. I first saw her at UCB in New York, and I thought, That’s who I want to be. That’s what I want
to do.
She was tiny and blonde but dominated when she needed to. When she got the part on Saturday Night Live, I was personally invested in her, and I thought, We did it! We did it!

*This article appeared in the February 24, 2014 issue of New York Magazine.