This interview was originally published in Radio Times magazine.


She made her name as teenage detective Veronica Mars, lent her voice to Frozen’s Princess Anna and led the cast of high-concept US sitcom The Good Place.

Now, in her new film comedy The People We Hate at the Wedding, Kristen Bell stars alongside Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen) as siblings whose journey to London for their rich step-sister’s nuptials opens up old wounds.

And as she has six step-siblings from her own parents’ second marriages, that might be a subject that Kristen will know a thing or two about…

Kristen Bell, Ben Platt and Allison Janney in The People We Hate at the Wedding.
Kristen Bell, Ben Platt and Allison Janney in The People We Hate at the Wedding. Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Are you a good wedding guest?

More like this

I’ll turn up early, show my face for about 25 minutes, fade into the background and make an 'Irish goodbye'. Get out of the bride and groom’s way and let them have a blast! I prefer an intimate dinner with friends.

Your own wedding, to actor Dax Shepard in 2013, cost less than $150. Why was it so low-key?

I’m already spoilt in my work – I get to dress like a princess, walk a red carpet and be the centre of attention. I only wanted to stare at Dax during the exchange. I didn’t want to think about plates and napkins and flowers and food. Our only witness was our friend Amy, who snapped pictures on an iPhone. It was Halloween so there are ghouls, goblins and spider webs behind us in the photos!

Would you do it in the same way today?

I don’t regret keeping it just between us, but having been married now for almost 10 years, and with two little girls, I can imagine my parents were really upset that they weren’t witness to it. Sometimes we think, 'Were we really selfish?' Perhaps one day we’ll re-exchange vows at a family gathering. My girls would 100 per cent steal all the attention.

Like your character Alice in The People We Hate at the Wedding, you have step-siblings. How well do you get on?

Both of my parents remarried when I was young, but it didn’t feel like a broken family.

We didn’t share blood parents, but the dynamic was much the same – I never used the word “step”. My older sisters treated me like a rag doll, made me do their chores. We fought and we made up. I still adore them. But siblings raised with different experiences create an interesting conflict for a movie. Expectations are resentments under construction.

Kristen Bell and Ben Platt in The People We Hate at the Wedding.
Kristen Bell and Ben Platt in The People We Hate at the Wedding. Courtesy of Amazon Studios

You and co-star Ben Platt have good sibling chemistry. Did you know him already?

I asked for Ben for my 38th birthday! I’d never met him, but I’m his number one fan. Dax cold-called him: “I realise how awkward this is, but would you be willing to come over and meet Kristen?” And he did! He was beyond lovely. My girls are obsessed with him, too – he’s like Paul McCartney to us. I send him videos of us jamming to his songs. You’ll have to ask him if he really thinks I’m crazy. When I saw he was attached to this film, that was a big selling point.

Did you get to sing together?

No! This will be one of the biggest regrets of my life. Why did we not make the new My Heart Will Go On and sing it over the credits?

Much of this film is shot in London. What did you do in your time here?

I ate my way through London. Ottolenghi, the Liberty café, Dishoom – are you kidding?

I would move into the kitchen! We also saw as many shows as we could – I took my daughters to Matilda and Hairspray.

You were the star of the sitcom The Good Place for four seasons — was it hard to move on?

That cast was delicious. And we all still talk. I actually suffered from some real anxiety symptoms post-Good Place, including an outbreak of eczema, because it had felt so safe to me. It felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me. My home was gone.

The Good Place explored what it means to be a good person. Did it change your outlook on life and the parts you choose?

It’s probably the most special thing I’ve been part of – I was overjoyed that it connected with people. I like escapist entertainment, but now I look for a little bit more meaning in my work. The Good Place was bursting at the seams with meaning. It’s led me to a lot of interesting reading about how humanity functions as a giant organism.

To my dying day, I’ll defer to Mike [Schur, the show’s creator]. I would just cross in the background of one of his shows if he asked me.

Does being a star of Frozen make you cool to your girls?

They know I was in it and make it their mission not to care. You’re meant to think everything your mum and dad do is nerdy and gross. They do not let me sing to them – ever. The second I start humming, they tell me to stop.

The People We Hate at the Wedding will stream on Amazon Prime Video from Friday 18th November - you can sign up now for a free 30-day Prime Video trial.

If you’re looking for something to watch tonight, check out our TV Guide or Streaming Guide, or visit our dedicated Film hub for all the latest news.


The latest issue of Radio Times magazine is on sale now – subscribe now. For more from the biggest stars in TV, listen to the Radio Times View From My Sofa podcast.