The newest film from directors Marc Silverstein and Abby Kohn stars Amy Schumer and Sasheer Zamata, among other talented folks.
The Knockturnal caught up with Saturday Night Live’s Sasheer Zamata to discuss her latest role as Tasha in I Feel Pretty, hitting theatres on April 20th. Interview below.
The Knockturnal: What attracted you to the role?
Sasheer Zamata: I really liked the script. And I also like working with Amy Schumer. She’s been really kind and supportive of me over the years. And I’ve done her sketch show a few times and she’s really good about letting other people in the scene have fun and improvise and play off of each other. So yeah, when I was asked to do this I was super excited and was like “absolutely”.
The Knockturnal: Do you reflect on your previous work and channel the energy into your movie role?
Sasheer Zamata: I mean this particular role is good for me because I like playing the straight man in scenes. I do that in improv a lot, and I have done that with Amy. It was physically in a sketch before where I am just on the other side of the counter straight-manning her the whole time. So yeah, I guess that is in my wheelhouse where I’m good at being a person who can say kind of ridiculous things in a very straight manner.
The Knockturnal: How do you develop your comedy?
Sasheer Zamata: I get, well – for the movie, it was written by somebody else. But I just try to add, you know, my personality to it. And then the directors, Marc and Abby are – were so great and allowed a space where people could just throw out different suggestions. And they would also throw out suggestions, and we kinda just like bounced back and forth until we figured out what we wanted for the scene. But yeah, I feel like I came in with kind of an idea of what I wanted to do, but when I got there we kinda developed the idea together so it was more of a collaborative effort.
The Knockturnal: So how was the atmosphere on set?
Sasheer Zamata: It was super fun. It was super fun. Yeah, I mean, we were just laughing a ton. And because we don’t know – we know the jist of what we’re doing but we were improvising, we don’t know what a person was gonna say. So there were a lot of times where I had to really struggle to keep a straight face and not laugh. Yeah, I mean, it was really hard because I could also hear snickers off-screen too. And Amy’s just committing so hard. She’s such a great performer and so professional. But yeah, it’s fun to see her in these different roles because she’s so good at it.
The Knockturnal: Were there difficult parts of your role in the film?
Sasheer Zamata: Yeah. I don’t know if there was a difficult part. I mean, I really just came in for a couple of days and it was just fun.
The Knockturnal: If you were Renee what would you’ve done differently?
Sasheer Zamata: That’s kind of hard because I have a different personality than Renee. So that kind of character that is portrayed in the movie is – the things she’s doing in the movie are happening because we need to see the lessons that she’s learning. So, I mean, I guess if it was me, and my personality and the way I act and behave, I don’t know if I would’ve started my journey by trying so hard to appease other people or change the exterior to match what I think people would want because I’m over that now. I’ve already gone through that journey of caring too much, to the part where I don’t care that much at all. And I’m just trying to be comfortable in my skin and accepting the things I love about myself. So yeah, if I was Renee, I would not be Renee.
The Knockturnal: So you’d just subvert the film – like “hey, let’s just start all over!”
Sasheer Zamata: Yeah, I mean that’s kind of a hard question because it’s like what would I do if I was a completely different person.
The Knockturnal: What did you take from this film?
Sasheer Zamata: Well, I love the underlying message in this film. Because it’s about self-confidence and knowing that you already have all the tools you need to succeed. And you don’t have to look for external approval or just things that need to change outside of yourself or within yourself. You just need to be you and people will really respond to that. People love confident people. I think because they’re rare? Or like, it’s just rare to see someone be so unabashedly them or honest or free. And when you are that, people kind of let you take over and let you win. And yeah. I like seeing that. And it’s nice to remember that. That that’s a thing that people respond to.
The Knockturnal: What was your favorite scene to do?
Sasheer Zamata: I mean, definitely that scene where Amy wakes up and sees herself in a different light but I see her as the exact same. That was a very fun scene to do. And yeah, I mean, a lot of improv in that one. And a lot of me trying to keep it together.
The Knockturnal: What do you think your character Tasha was thinking during that scene?
Sasheer Zamata: I think she was like “what is this crazy woman doing here?” Like, first she’s concerned because this woman hit her head and she’s like “oh, I think this person’s probably injured and maybe needs help” and then she sees the way she’s acting and she’s like “I guess she’s fine, but I don’t know why she’s behaving this way,” I think she’s just confused the whole time. But really just wants her to be safe and get out of the SoulCycle place so she’s not drawing too much attention.
The Knockturnal: Were you in that scene where Amy gets her hair pulled on the bicycle at SoulCycle?
Sasheer Zamata: I wasn’t in that scene, no.
The Knockturnal: I was gonna ask because it looked really painful.
Sasheer Zamata: It does, right? Yeah, they did a good job at making it look gross.
The Knockturnal: How do they do that?
Sasheer Zamata: I don’t actually know. I mean, I’m assuming they use extensions or something to get caught in the wheel but I wasn’t there for that part so I don’t know the ins and outs of it.
The Knockturnal: What are your next projects?
Sasheer Zamata: I’m in a movie called The Weekend. And we filmed it last year at the end of the year. I don’t know about when it’s coming out. But I think we’re doing the festival rather than we’re gonna see if we can have a big release or something. But that’s really exciting. And I just shot a pilot for NBC called So Close that I’m really excited about. It’s a romantic comedy, multi-cam. I think it’s really fun so we’re waiting to hear about that. And just stand up, doing a lot of stand up and touring. And having a blast.
The Knockturnal: How does it feel to make people laugh?
Sasheer Zamata: I mean, it’s the best feeling ever. It’s so great. I mean, it’s just a nice way to connect with people in a very honest way. Because it’s hard to make people laugh. I think it’s pretty easy to make people cry. Or, easier anyway. But making people laugh, that’s like – you had to have been able to connect to them at a very gut level. And when you can do that it just makes me feel so good.