Elizabeth Banks Was a Frustrated Actress. Now She’s a Determined Mogul.


LOS ANGELES — Elizabeth Banks doesn’t mince words. Why bother, when you’re trying to get things done? Sitting in her office, in a bungalow on the Universal Studios lot here, the platform heels she wore for a photo shoot replaced with black oxfords, Ms. Banks, 43, was no-nonsense when asked why she transformed herself from a comic star into a producer and director.

“I was a frustrated actress,” she said. “I was bored.”

Now she is busy. Brownstone Productions, the 10-year-old company she started with her husband, Max Handelman, has development deals with nearly every major studio, and projects percolating for film and TV. She’s a founder of WhoHaha, an online platform for female comedians. And she’s still performing, most recently playing herself as Larry David’s girlfriend on “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” Another installment of her as Gail, the sweetly vicious a cappella commentator, arrives on Dec. 22 with “Pitch Perfect 3”; Brownstone developed and produced the “Pitch” franchise.