The A-List Interview: Elizabeth Banks

When not schooling antigay Twitter followers or drinking with Modern Family costar Jesse Tyler Ferguson, she's wondering if her Hunger Games character may be a lesbian or a drag queen.

BY Brandon Voss

July 11 2013 3:00 AM ET

Before strutting her stuff in the rom-com Walk of Shame, in theaters next spring, Elizabeth Banks returns as outrageously stylish District 12 escort Effie Trinket in November’s Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the second installment of the dystopian sci-fi adventure series. We caught up with the 39-year-old Emmy nominee to discuss her most important role as a vocal gay ally on Twitter.

The Advocate: When did you become aware of your gay following?
Elizabeth Banks: Right now. [Laughs] I would hope they’ve always enjoyed me, because I’ve always enjoyed them.

If a gay fan approaches you, which of your projects are they most likely to mention?
It’s usually whatever’s on TV at the time, like 30 Rock or Scrubs, but Zack and Miri Make a Porno seems to have a big gay following. That probably has to do with those great gay characters played by Brandon Routh and Justin Long.

I’d probably ask what it was like to hang out topless on a yacht with Madonna in Swept Away.
It was pretty great. I recall at one point she was tossing pieces of prosciutto at my bare chest to see if they would stick.

You’ve appeared on Modern Family as Sal, Mitchell and Cameron’s party-girl pal. Do you have a Mitch and Cam?
Oh, I have a few gay couples in my life, including Jesse Tyler Ferguson and his amazing partner Justin, actually. Those two get me into a little trouble every once in a while. Jesse is a very good old friend of mine, which is how I wound up on Modern Family in the first place. We try to do dinner and have wine together as much as we can.

I imagine you’re popular in a gay bar.
Well, I try to be very drunk and very funny. That wins in all bars.

How did you and Jesse become friends?
We met about 12 years ago on a movie called Ordinary Sinner, an extremely low-budget indie. What’s funny is that [in it] Jesse played a homophobic religious fanatic. He really had to bring out his acting chops for that one.

I’ll try to track it down.
Oh, it’s not worth seeing.

Considering how hard viewers are pushing for Mitch and Cam to tie the knot, it’s ironic that your character had a wedding on Modern Family.
Well, that episode was really meant to tell fans that these guys will get married when gays can get married in California, but right now they don’t have that option. Everybody wants Mitchell and Cameron to be able to get married.

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