OnlyOnAOL: Kristen Bell admits she has 'a darker, sassier' side

Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone On "The Boss"
Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone On "The Boss"

By: Donna Freydkin

Like any working mom, Kristen Bell knows how to keep many balls in the air.

She calls during a break from shooting her upcoming NBC sitcom "Good Place," which films near her home in Los Angeles. First and foremost, she's a mom, to daughters Delta and Lincoln (with husband Dax Shepard).

The same held true while she played the straight banana to Melissa McCarthy's maniacally egocentric business titan Michelle Darnell in "The Boss," opening today. Bell's single mom is Michelle's assistant-turned-unwilling-roommate. The key to keeping a straight face while working opposite the "Spy" and "Bridesmaids" comedienne?

"I bit the inside of my mouth. When you're working with someone like Melissa, you hope there's a good editor that can edit all your mistakes and giggling," says Bell.

See more: OnlyOnAOL: Please don't ever email Melissa McCarthy, warns Ben Falcone

McCarthy co-wrote the story with her husband, director Ben Falcone, and Steve Mallory. "They had been looking to cast this character for a while. I said I was unavailable for anything because I'd just had a baby. They kept calling and inviting me. I went in and tested with Melissa. I dropped my guard because I'd always wanted to work with her," says Bell.

Once she got the part, the entire family decamped to Atlanta. The set was kid-friendly, given that McCarthy and Falcone also have two daughters; Bell said efficiency was key because everyone wanted to be home for dinner when possible.

"We had a wonderful time shooting. My husband has known Melissa for 15 years. They were in The Groundlings together. We rented a house. It was wonderful," she says.

Premiere Of USA Pictures' "The Boss" - Arrivals
Premiere Of USA Pictures' "The Boss" - Arrivals

To anyone who's met Bell, it's hard to not geek out over her. She's smart, decisive, funny and completely self-aware. Yes, she played a single mom in "The Boss," but Bell hastens to point out that she herself is not as stressed or unhappy as her character, who loathes her job.

"I have an excellent support system. I can't take the credit. I have children who are fairly easy in their current developmental stages. I have a job where I can bring them. I can bring them to work and they can play in my trailer. In between scenes, I spend time with them. I'm very particular in what I do. My number one priority is how much it will take me away from them," she says. "I say it's rough because I imagined being a single mom for two months. I hope I did it a little bit of justice. Single moms are superheroes."

And unlike her character Claire, Bell gets fulfilment from all aspects of her life.

"I've learned I'm happier when (my daughters) are my ultimate priority, and my main priority is to make sure my hours away from them are not overwhelming. When I'm not working, I'm with my kids completely by choice. My work gives me autonomous self esteem. My work provides me with a lot of social interaction. I don't feel the need to get a drink after work," she says.

Premiere Of USA Pictures' "The Boss" - Arrivals
Premiere Of USA Pictures' "The Boss" - Arrivals

Of the many spunky, smart women she's played -- "Frozen" heroine Anna comes to mind here -- Bell says one character in particular is the closest to the real her.

"Veronica Mars. Without question. I despise bullies. I have a strong instinct to fight for the underdog. As bubbly and as nice as I come across, I have a darker, sassier narrative running in my head," she says.

And she doesn't back down. The actress and her husband championed the "no kids policy," to stop the publication of paparazzi shots of celebrity offspring. The proof is in the pudding: most outlets do not run unauthorized pictures of children anymore.

"People are terrified to take pictures of my kids now and I'm happy about that. Being B-level celebs, we never got it the way others did," says Bell. "I have heard from friends of a higher profile that it has changed the attitudes of their children when they walk out of the house. They don't feel hunted anymore. Michelle Williams, Gwyneth Paltrow, all the people who have kids who are so exploited -- I have heard from them that it's changed the way their children behave."

Meaning, they're no longer terrified of having their photos taken. Nor do they feel ambushed when they leave home or school.

Premiere Of USA Pictures' "The Boss" - Arrivals
Premiere Of USA Pictures' "The Boss" - Arrivals

Before we let Bell get back to shooting her show, we had to ask about the sequel to "Frozen." The animated juggernaut launched millions of wannabe Annas and Elsas.

"Yes. It is happening. It is very exciting. They haven't booked my start date," she says.