- Tripped Up is a comedic road trip movie about Lizzy, an aspiring chef, and her friends competing in a food festival.
- The film is led by women both in front of and behind the camera, highlighting themes of friendship and female empowerment.
- Leah Lewis, who plays Lizzy, related to her character’s passion and formed strong bonds with castmates Ariel Winter, Sasha Fox, and Ashley Moore.
Lizzy is an aspiring chef frustrated with her job in Tripped Up. Her friends encourage her to take a shot at showing her skills at the Saucy Food Festival. This spurs a road trip with Lizzy and her three best friends. With the goal of winning in mind, Lizzy and her friends will face comedic challenges and ridiculous misadventures.
Tripped Up is directed by Shruti Ganguly from a script written by Cristina Catanzaro and Carrie Shaw. Tripped Up features a star-studded cast led by Leah Lewis, Ariel Winter, Sasha Fox, Ashley Moore, and Vanessa Williams. Ganguly, Shaw, and Catanzaro, Linda Evans, and Nina Warren serve as producers of the movie. Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike thanks to a waiver agreement. The movie covered here would not exist without the labor of the writers and actors in WGA and SAG-AFTRA.
Screen Rant exclusively interviewed Leah Lewis for her new road trip comedy, Tripped Up. She praises her castmates and shares her experience working with Vanessa Williams. Lewis also explains how she relates to her character and reveals behind-the-scenes details about the hot dog eating contest.
Leah Lewis On Tripped Up
Screen Rant: I love this movie. Tripped Up is fantastic.
Leah Lewis: Aw.
It’s a great coming-of-age story about friendship, food, and female bonding at its finest. This film is led by women in front of the camera and behind the camera. You play Lizzy, an aspiring chef who was really grinding hard to advance her career, stepping out of the shadows of her executive chef, Missy, and putting behind her a negative experience that she had at a cooking competition reality show. What attracted you to the role of Lizzy?
Leah Lewis: I think what attracted me to the role of Lizzy is how much I related to her in general. Also being a 26-year-old woman and being an aspiring actress in my career, too. I’ll always gravitate towards, one, female led films. Two, who doesn’t love a road trip rom-com? And three, telling a real-life story of someone who is coming of age at where they’re at, too. We see a lot of coming of ages in high school, but we don’t talk about coming of age when you’re coming into your late twenties, or you’re coming into your early thirties. Every decade is a coming of age, and I heavily, heavily resonate with Lizzy being so passionate, so talented, but also at times being her own worst enemy, as you definitely see in this film.
Absolutely. Now, how did you infuse yourself into Lizzy, and what did you want to bring to the role of Lizzy that wasn’t on the page?
Leah Lewis: I think for me, already having a passion for acting, it was pretty easy to substitute acting with culinary. Understanding how bad Lizzy wanted this. Understanding that Lizzy had been working for this since she was a child, which is also very similar to me as well. Obviously, it took a bit more culinary education on my end. I love cooking, not as much as an actual chef, and there were so many things I had to learn from Carrie, our writer, who was also actually a chef in real life, of how to look like I was on track to become a chef. But when preparing her, I wanted to be very careful because I wanted her to be someone that you really root for, but someone that you could very well see.
She does get in her way a couple of times. I wanted her to have a learning lesson and not just be this hardworking character that you see it in the end. That’s not how life is. Not everyone is perfect. And I do think that someone like Lizzy, who is trying her ass off, also has a bit of an attitude hurdle, she still does deserve success, but she has to learn that for herself. I think that was what really drew me to her character because I’m rooting for her, but I’m also like, “Hey girl, you could learn a couple things first.” I love that. I love when characters are like that.
So do I. It gives them a third dimension that is greatly needed. Now, you touched on this a little bit. You got the opportunity to play a chef in this film. How were your culinary skills going into this film, and what did you learn about the culinary world working on Tripped Up?
Leah Lewis: Oh my goodness. I definitely thought that my love for cooking, just because I genuinely love cooking in my real life, and watching enough shows online was enough to make it look like I am an actual chef. There were a lot of things I learned in terms of technical terms, the way we would place something like a garnish, and just how you would actually be in the kitchen if the pressure is on you. I think when I’m at home cooking in my kitchen, no one’s like, “Okay, come on chef.” I’m just like, “I’m just going to do me.” So it was interesting incorporating that kind of pressure that I had never really experienced as well. But Carrie was like, “You’re doing well, but I would tweak that one little thing you’re doing with your hand and not throw it like this and place it like this.” So it was a really big learning lesson about that, too.
Amazing. Now, I talked to Sasha Fox yesterday, and she told me that she created a playlist to get into her role of Taylor, since Taylor was a musician. Was there anything that helped you prepare for or get into the role of Lizzy?
Leah Lewis: It’s so funny that she mentioned that because we also shared playlists with each other, like friendship playlists. For Lizzy, I think it was more instead of listening to music, because Lizzy doesn’t really have time to listen to music in my opinion, I think it’s very what you see is what you get. For me, it was tapping into that place of seriousness. Obviously you see her have so much fun when she’s with her friends, but I think there’s a level of seriousness, and she’s always thinking about what she could be doing better or how to benefit her career, that even when she is having a good time with her friends, everyone’s like, “Come on and chill!” and Lizzy’s like, “No, I got to focus on this.” That is something that I really wanted to infuse into her as well.
Incredible. Now, this film also stars Ariel Winter, Sasha Fox, and Ashley Moore. The four of you guys have such great chemistry together. It feels like your friendships have been lived in forever. Can you talk about building this chemistry with your cast mates? And did that extend off camera as well?
Leah Lewis: Dude, it was so easy. I will say this, too. Ariel and I have been in the same circle since we were kids. And she was also someone that I really admired growing up, all of her work and everything. We had met before this, and it was only a matter of time until obviously a project like this. Fireworks. It’s like we were really catching up for lost time. I feel an incredible, incredible bond with Ariel, and also knowing that we’ve kind of mirrored each other’s experiences growing up. As for Sasha, dude, right in the beginning, we were jumping into the deep sh-t. I could literally cry just thinking about her.
She is one of my soul sisters. She’s someone that I had prayed to the universe for somebody like her to come into my life, and she’s like a twin flame. We’ve gone through so much since that film, and I even think as her and my relationship grew, there’s an argument scene in this film, and her and I at one point couldn’t look at each other because she was like, “I was going to bawl my eyes out.” And I’m like, “Yeah, I was bawling my eyes out, too, because I don’t want to argue with you. I love you so much.” And then same with Ashley, too. She’s such a fun, loving, and open girl, and we just had a lot of fun. I think that was the really big thing. Even though Mary is a bit hmm-hmm-hmm in the film, Ashley’s not really like that in real life, and she was so collaborative with everyone else.
We all really are different. If you look at some of the characters and how different they are, I will not say we’re exactly like them to a tee in person, but it was really cool to have this experience with these girls because it was getting to know them in real time, obviously we have this bond on screen, but respecting the differences on and off-screen, I think they just played into each other and really helped each other, if that makes sense.
Yeah, yeah. And the energy that you guys have on screen, it just filters right through, and you can feel it as you’re watching the film. You talked about that argument scene a little bit. It feels so real. That argument felt like a real argument among friends. It felt so real. Now, you also had the opportunity to share the screen with the legendary Vanessa Williams, who was also a producer on this film. Can you talk about that experience a little bit?
Leah Lewis: Yo, she’s one of those people, when they walk in, and you’re just kind of like, “Are you actually here? This is actually what you look like? You’re actually still this good, and you’re just killing it all the time?” I could feel that energy from her. It’s funny, too, because obviously Vanessa is Sasha’s mom, and I’m standing next to Sasha and I’m like, “Oh my God, that’s your mom. That’s so freaking cool.” Obviously when we were on set, it wasn’t like that. It’s like, “Okay, get it together, girl.” But working with her, so generous, so professional and just you can feel it brimming off of her that she knows her worth. And she’s just such a strong woman and such a natural-born leader.
I think any time she was on set, if there was something that was like, “Oh, what do we do?” Vanessa’s like, “Oh, this is exactly what we do.” And I’m like, “Yes, you are. That is woman. Get it together. You know exactly what to do.” And when we were shooting our scenes together, I didn’t take that lightly. I was like, “I am acting with one of the greats.” And I was just so grateful to be sitting next to her. And also what information she was giving me about her career early on, her as a woman and what she’s been through, it was really special. And it was a really, really big privilege. So cool.
Yeah, that is incredible. She has such a presence about her. It’s incredible.
Leah Lewis: Yes.
Now, I’ve got to ask you about that hot dog eating contest scene. That looked painful. Can you talk to me about that scene a little bit?
Leah Lewis: It is grody. It was grody. I will say I am not a huge hot dog girl either, so the way that we did it, I wasn’t even eating them. I was just like (mouth sound) and then throwing them out, throwing them out, but it was fun. To be completely honest, I’m never going to get to do that in my real life. I’m never going to be in that situation. If someone was like, “Hey, do you want to do the hot dog challenge?” I’d be like, “Hell, no.”
So the fact that we get to do stuff like that on screen and obviously do it safely to where I’m not throwing up, it was so fun. It was actually really fun. And then Danny, who plays opposite me and is the villain of the film, I cannot even tell you how fun it was every single time I had to work with him. He made that day so fun, so funny. He’s the best villain I have ever met in my life, and I’ll tell you right now, he’s nothing like that in person.
Oh, good. That’s nice to hear. That’s actually great. Now, the food in this movie looked fantastic. Did you get to try any of it? And if so, what was your favorite dish?
Leah Lewis: I got to try the tartlet that Lizzy makes in the beginning, but I will say one of the most amazing things that was actually not on screen, our writer, Carrie, actually made lobster rolls for all of us in that. That was just uncalled-for. Just totally uncalled-for, but she did that for us, and it was really good.
About Tripped Up
Aspiring chef Lizzy sets off with her three best friends in tow to compete in the prestigious Saucy Food Festival. What begins as a calculated career move quickly turns into a madcap misadventure full of food, fun and female bonding, where the girls learn that struggle can be the secret ingredient to success.
Check out our other Tripped Up interview with Sasha Fox.
Tripped Up is available in select theaters and on digital now.