Isla Fisher

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4 mins read

Isla Lang Fisher was born 3 February 1976 and is an Australian actress and author who began her career on Australian television.

Fisher was born in Muscat, Oman, the daughter of Elspeth Reid and Brian Fisher from Scotland. Her father worked as a banker in Oman for the United Nations at that time. When she was a child, Fisher and her family moved back to their hometown of Bathgate in Scotland, then to Perth, Western Australia, when she was 6 years old. She has four siblings and has said that she had a “great” upbringing in Perth with a “very outdoorsy life.” Fisher has stated that her “sensibility is Australian,” she has a “laid-back attitude to life,” and she feels “very Australian.” She considers herself a feminist. Her mother and siblings live in Athens, Greece, while her father divides his time between Frankfurt, Germany and Nicaragua. Fisher attended Swanbourne Primary School and Methodist Ladies’ College, Perth. She appeared in lead roles in school productions such as Little Shop of Horrors. At 21, she attended L’École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, where she studied clown, mime, musical theatre and commedia dell’arte.

Fisher made her first on-screen appearances in commercials on Australian television at the age of 9, and made her professional acting debut in 1993, with two guest-starring roles in children’s television shows Bay City and Paradise Beach. At age 18, with the help of her mother, she published two teen novels, Bewitched and Seduced by Fame; in a 2005 interview with Sunday Mirror, Fisher admitted that had she not been successful as an actress she would probably have been a full-time writer.

Between 1994 and 1997, Fisher played the role of Shannon Reed, a bisexual unconfident young woman who develops anorexia, on the Australian soap opera Home and Away

Fisher transitioned to Hollywood in 2002, with the part of the love interest of a cowardly slacker Shaggy Rogers in the live-action film Scooby-Doo. She subsequently played supporting roles in the independent film Dallas 362 (2003) and the Australian comedy The Wannabes (also 2003). 

Fisher’s breakthrough came with the comedy Wedding Crashers (2005), opposite Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson, taking on the role of the seemingly sexually aggressive and precocious younger daughter of a politician falling in love with an irresponsible wedding crasher. For one particular scene, involving sexual content, she used a body double.

Fisher appeared as a Manhattan party host in the independent drama London (2005), opposite Jessica Biel, Chris Evans and Jason Statham. She next starred in the romantic comedy Wedding Daze (2006), with Jason Biggs, playing a dissatisfied waitress who spontaneously gets engaged to a grieving young man. In the thriller The Lookout (2007), opposite Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Matthew Goode, Fisher played a woman used by a gang leader to seduce a man with lasting mental impairments. The comedy Hot Rod (also 2007), with Andy Samberg, saw Fisher star as the college-graduate neighbor on whom an amateur stuntman has a crush.

Fisher played a copy girl who becomes romantically involved with a recently divorced political consultant in the romantic comedy Definitely, Maybe (2008), with Ryan Reynolds, Elizabeth Banks, Rachel Weisz and Abigail Breslin.

Fisher obtained her first leading film role in the comedy Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009), where she played a college graduate who works as a financial journalist in New York City to support her shopping addiction. 

In the British black comedy Burke and Hare (2010), loosely based on the Burke and Hare murders, Fisher starred opposite Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis as a young former prostitute and the love interest of one of the titular characters.

Fisher starred in the comedy Bachelorette (2012), opposite Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Rebel Wilson, portraying a ditzy party girl and one-third of a trio of troubled women who reunite for the wedding of a friend who was ridiculed in high school.

Fisher found mainstream recognition in 2013, with roles in two highly successful films —The Great Gatsby and Now You See MeThe Great Gatsby, saw her portray an ambitious social climber and the mistress of an upper-class socialite. Fisher described as “surreal” the experience to work for Luhrmann.

Fisher took on a larger role as an escapist and stage magician in the heist thriller Now You See Me, with Jesse Eisenberg, Mark Ruffalo, Woody Harrelson, Mélanie Laurent and Morgan Freeman.

Also in 2013, Fisher obtained the nine-episode role of an actress in the fourth season of Arrested Development, which was released on Netflix, and appeared opposite Jennifer Aniston, Tim Robbins, and Will Forte in Life of Crime, a film adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s 1978 novel The Switch, as the mistress of a wealthy man who refuses to pay the ransom for his kidnapped wife. 

In Visions (2015), an independent horror film, Fisher starred as a pregnant woman who begins to experience supernatural manifestations after moving to a vineyard with her husband. 2016 saw Fisher star in two action comedy films —Grimsby and Keeping Up with the Joneses. She collaborated for the first time with husband Sacha Baron Cohen in the British film Grimsby, playing the handler of the best MI6 agent, and in Keeping Up with the Joneses, she starred as one half of a suburban couple who begin to suspect their new neighbors are secret agents. 

Based on Austin Wright’s novel Tony and Susan, Tom Ford’s neo-noir thriller Nocturnal Animals (2016) featured Fisher as the blighted wife of a motorist inside a violent novel written by a recently divorced man. Her third book and first children’s novel, Marge in Charge, revolving around a mischievous babysitter with rainbow hair who tends to bend the rules, was published in 2016. Fisher subsequently authored three follow-ups: Marge and the Pirate Baby, in 2017, Marge and the Great Train Rescue, also in 2017, and Marge in Charge and the Stolen Treasure, in 2018. Fisher starred in the Walt Disney Pictures movie Godmothered, which was released on Disney+. In 2019, she Guest Starred in Season 10, Episode 5 of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm.

In 2014 and 2015, Fisher donated her signed shoes for Small Steps Project Celebrity Shoe Auction. In December 2015, Fisher and her husband Baron Cohen donated £335,000 (US$500,000) to Save the Children as part of a programme to vaccinate children in Northern Syria against measles, and the same amount to the International Rescue Committee also aimed at helping Syrian refugees.