Elizabeth Banks (born February 10, 1974) is an American actress whose TV and film appearances include Scrubs, the Spider-Man films, The Uninvited, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, W., Zack And Miri Make A Porno, and Role Models.
Banks was born Elizabeth Maresal Mitchell in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, as the oldest of four children of Ann and Mark Mitchell. Her father was a factory worker for General Electric and her mother until recently worked in a bank. As a young child she was a contestant on the Nickelodeon game show Finders Keepers. She graduated from Pittsfield High School in 1992 and is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Pennsylvania in 1996 where she was a member of Delta Delta Delta Sorority. She was the first in her family to graduate from college. In 1998 she completed schooling at the American Conservatory Theater.
Banks changed her name to avoid confusion with actress Elizabeth Mitchell. She debuted in the independent film Surrender Dorothy as "Elizabeth Casey." Banks is known for her roles in Seabiscuit, Heights, the Spider-Man films (playing the part of Betty Brant), and the cult comedy Wet Hot American Summer. She quickly gained widespread exposure through movies like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Slither. She also plays Mark Wahlberg's love interest in the movie Invincible.
In May 2006, she appeared in the season five finale of the NBC comedy-drama Scrubs as Dr. Kim Briggs, the love interest of J.D. (Zach Braff). The character has appeared throughout seasons six, seven and eight as a recurring guest star.
In 2005, she appeared on the show Stella. In 2007, Banks played the female lead in the comedy Meet Bill, alongside Aaron Eckhart and Jessica Alba. Banks also has a small role in the 2007 Christmas comedy film Fred Claus, co-starring Vince Vaughn and Paul Giamatti, and played a love interest in the 2008 comedy Definitely, Maybe alongside Isla Fisher and Ryan Reynolds.
Banks starred with Seth Rogen as the eponymous female lead in the Kevin Smith comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno, which was released on Halloween 2008. She was also seen playing United States First Lady Laura Bush in W, Oliver Stone's biopic of George W. Bush.
She has appeared in the thriller The Uninvited, a remake of the Korean horror film A Tale of Two Sisters. The film tells the tale of an intrusive stepmother who makes life miserable for the teen daughters of her new husband. Banks based her character, Rachel, on Rebecca De Mornay's character in The Hand that Rocks the Cradle". "It was very important to me that every line reading I gave could be interpreted two ways," says Banks of her role, "So that when you go back through the movie you can see that".
Banks is a frequent co-star of actor Paul Rudd, the two having appeared in four films together to date (Wet Hot American Summer, The Baxter, The 40 Year Old Virgin, and Role Models). She does not have any projects in production at this time. "There was a David O. Russell movie that I really wanted to make with Vince Vaughn that ended up falling apart", said Banks, referring to the film H-Man Cometh, in a January 2009 interview.
Banks is set to star alongside Leslie Mann in What Was I Thinking?, based upon the book by Barbara Davilman and Liz Dubelman.