Though we can imagine a high time being had by everyone working on Showtime's hip and trippy musical parody, Reefer Madness (premiering Saturday at 8 pm/ET), leading lady Kristen Bell tells TVGuide.com that Method acting was strongly discouraged on the set.
"When we first did it [Off-Broadway], Andy [Fickman, who directed both the stage and screen versions] wanted us to check all real drug experiences, if we had them, at the door and actually [approach the material] the way they did in the [original 1936 propaganda] film.
"They were essentially B-movie actors who thought they were going to make a movie that would change the views of America; it was meant to be serious," the Veronica Mars star continues. "It wasn't until they saw [the finished product] that they realized it was looking like a spoof."
In retrospect, perhaps the new flick's cast should have been allowed a toke for every take: One scene in particular — a dazzling song-and-dance number punctuated by period patter — reduced Bell to tears. "I had to remember all the dance moves, remember my lines, try to be somewhat of a decent actor and connect with [my love interest] Christian Campbell and not just look like a brick wall," she says. "I also had an earpiece in my ear that had the music playing, and there was a thumper playing out loud just keeping the beat for the dancers, and the thumper was, like, a nano-beat off from the music.
"I thought I was going to jump out the window," she exclaims. "It was driving me mad! That was probably the toughest night I had on that set and maybe in my career!"
Now that the film is done — and, we'd wager, destined to score Showtime some of the Emmy nominations HBO usually bogarts — the actress has mellowed again. In fact, she's darn grateful for the chance to play a soda-sipping sweetheart who's turned into a whip-cracking sex fiend by a single puff of marijuana.
"Not a lot of girls in my category get the opportunity to jump outside the sort of typical ingenue [parts], which can be very boring, so I was really lucky. My character is the antithesis of herself by the end," she notes, adding, "I hope it opens up other opportunities for me... and casting directors watch it and say, 'Oh, wow!'"
Even before Madness' debut, the in-demand up-and-comer scored a new role — the heroine in the film Pulse, another Japanese horror import. However, what she really needs is a break, especially after wrapping Veronica's freshman year. "The last two episodes are like minimovies," she teases. "The last episode in particular is like a [Veronica exec producer] Joel Silver action movie — and I have the bruises on my back and my hands to prove it!"