Add “podcast host” to Elizabeth Banks’ multihyphenate résumé.
Banks has inked a multi-project development and first-look deal with Audible. The actor-producer-writer-director has set up two exclusive podcast projects with Audible under the pact: “My Body, My Podcast,” hosted by Banks, above sex, motherhood and more; and “Fugly,” a scripted ensemble comedy.
The six-episode “My Body, My Podcast” is scheduled to debut July 29, exclusively on Audible. Banks said the podcast will be a “safe and open space” to talk about all things related to sex and bodies, with the aim of destigmatizing the topics for young people and women. Guests on the show will include Laverne Cox, Jameela Jamil, filmmakers Maggie Brown and Helen Yenser — and Banks’ own mother, Ann Mitchell.
About hosting her first podcast, Banks said, “I wanted to make sure if I was going to do something it was specific and meaningful to me…. This is definitely the most open I have been publicly about a lot of things.”
Banks scripted the first part of each episode, in which she tells a story from her younger days, rather than just wing it extemporaneously. “I wanted to take a look at a holistic life… and I realized what was missing was our sex lives,” she said. “I’ve shared these stories with my girlfriends over the years all the time — I am a pretty open book with my friends and family already. I felt this was just an extension of that.”
Experts, celebrities, activists and creators slated to appear on “My Body, My Podcast” include actors Laverne Cox and Jameela Jamil; Maggie Brown and Helen Yenser, Oscar-winning producers for documentary short “Period. End of Sentence.”; Melissa Pintor Carnagey, founder of Sex Positive Families; Anita Diamant, author of “The Red Tent”; author Joshua Harris; filmmaker Shine Louise Houston, founding director and producer of Pink and White Productions; and Lindy West, activist and author of “Shrill.”
For “My Body, My Podcast,” Banks heard pitches from several podcast companies. “I really felt that Audible understood this aspect of storytelling the best… What happened with Audible was, we had such an incredible creative conversation at the beginning, it was, ‘Wow, this is going to be more than one thing.’”
“Fugly,” the other podcast project Banks has at Audible, was created by Jenny Rachel Weiner. Currently in development, the comedy series centers on a 20-something researcher for a tech company who goes undercover at a high school to find out what makes today’s teens tick — and finds herself at the center of a gender war.
As a producer, Banks said, she realized that some of the projects she’s pitched are best suited to a podcast format. “I’ve been loving the creative process and have had so much fun creating wildly different podcasts — from boundary-pushing organic conversations to a scripted ensemble comedy.”
“On screen, behind the camera, and with a mic, Elizabeth Banks is a storyteller who offers a truly fresh, smart and authentic point of view,” Rachel Ghiazza, EVP and head of U.S. content at Audible, said in a statement. “She’s such an amazing balance of humor and heart. We are absolutely thrilled to kick off our collaboration together with ‘My Body, My Podcast’ and ‘Fugly’ — two very different but equally entertaining series.”
Audible’s deal with Banks follows the Amazon-owned company’s recently announced production and development deals with partners including Treefort Media, Topic Studios, Conan O’Brien’s Team Coco, Steph Curry’s Unanimous Media, Kevin Hart’s HartBeat Productions, Charlamagne tha God’s GTHA World Productions, and the SpringHill Co., founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter.
Recent Audible Originals include “The Pursuit of Healthiness” with Blake Griffin, “The Sandman” Season 1 from Neil Gaiman (which Audible has renewed for two additional seasons), and “Letters From Camp,” produced and performed by Jamie Lee Curtis.
Banks recently wrapped production on feature drama “Call Jane,” in which she appears opposite Sigourney Weaver. She will next begin production on Universal Pictures’ “Cocaine Bear,” which she is directing and producing. Her work includes performances in “The Hunger Games” franchise, “Love & Mercy,” “The Lego Movie,” “Mrs. America,” “30 Rock” and “Modern Family.” Banks can currently be seen hosting season 3 of the ABC reboot of “Press Your Luck.”
On the production side, Banks made her directorial debut in 2015 with “Pitch Perfect 2” and produced the “Pitch Perfect” franchise through her production company Brownstone Productions, alongside her husband, Max Handelman. Brownstone’s slate includes comedy series “Shrill” on Hulu, starring “SNL”‘s Aidy Bryant.
Listen to the trailer for Banks’ “My Body, My Podcast”: