As she hops out of her Mini Cooper, with her Staffordshire bull terrier Margaret trailing at her heels, Lake Bell looks like a modern-day Audrey Hepburn: hair swept back in a black headband, little black Diane von Furstenberg dress, black turtleneck, trenchcoat and flats. But instead she’s just a young actress with modest means, who happens to know how to wear clothes extremely well. “The turtleneck is Forever 21,” she admits, “but I’m proud to say that, because I can’t yet afford the expensive stuff. And my mother, who has crazy style, always taught me to never be snobby.”
Bell’s mother, a New York-bred former model, also passed on her love of high fashion to her daughter, who wears mom’s vintage couture to red-carpet events. At boarding school in Westminster, Conn., Bell was somewhat of a punk rebel, running an underground tattoo parlor for classmates and sporting Doc Martens. But she later learned to embrace her mom’s well-heeled style when she landed in Hollywood.
Bell, 28, best known as bombshell secretary Sally Heep on “Boston Legal,” is getting ready to shine in a string of big-screen roles, beginning with this weekend’s “Over Her Dead Body” in which she plays a psychic who falls in love with a client (played by Paul Rudd) who is trying to contact his dead fiancée (played by Eva Longoria Parker). Bell’s character conjures the spirit successfully, but not surprisingly, it is not pleased about the blossoming romance and does everything in its netherworld power to sabotage the romance. “It’s a spiritual love triangle,” Bell says. “It’s the kind of movie I feel OK about asking my friends to go see because it’s fun and entertaining.”
Aside from corralling friends to the cinema, it’s going to be a busy weekend for Bell, who will drive up the California coast for the premiere of her indie thriller “Still Waters” at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. She plays a pampered wife who, along with her husband, gets a mysterious visitor at their country house. Next year, audiences will see her in “Pride and Glory” in which she play the wife of Colin Farrell’s Irish-American cop. The two were rumored to have had an on-set romance, but Bell says she is currently single. “One of the psychics that I visited to research ‘Over Her Dead Body’ tried to set me up with ‘the man of my dreams’ but it didn’t work out,” she said. “But she’s now in my speed dial.”