Cobie Smulders apparently never really intended to be an actress, then fell into modeling and for the past eight years has been a member of one of television's more successful comedy ensembles, the cast of "How I Met Your Mother." The show ends next year; the final episodes will be done in February, and Smulders, 31, will be free to do more movies like "Delivery Man" (opening next Friday) about a habitual sperm-bank donor named David Wozniak who finds out years later that he has fathered 533 children, 142 of whom are filing a class-action lawsuit to learn his identity. The potent hero is played by Vince Vaughn, his long-suffering and (naturally) pregnant girlfriend by Smulders, who was nice enough to talk to Newsday contributor John Anderson.
You are Canadian?
Yes, I am Canadian.
You know that "Delivery Man" is based on a Canadian film?
Yes, I do.
Do you think there's a connection?
No. But I wish I had an "I'm a Canadian" card I could use whenever I wanted to get a role I liked.
Did you know what "Delivery Man" was about before you got the script?
I assumed it had to be a Canadian story, because it was a Quebecois film, and Ken Scott, our director, also made that film -- "Starbuck," which I saw when it came out.
The original Starbuck was a Canadian Holstein bull who sired thousands of calves.
I didn't know that.
Is the remake enormously different? I imagine your role was been expanded from the first film, where Emma was a sort of minor character.
Yes, it was. I feel like one of the things Ken really wanted to do was showcase the relationship more between David Wozniak and Emma. Initially, I think, he wanted Emma to be more severe, but we found that that made her unlikable, so we then toned her down a little bit and showcased her in a better light. She's still a policewoman -- there's the same gag about her walking into the friend's pot garden.
Is she still unaware that her boyfriend has this army of children after him? And that, in several cases, he's become their anonymous guardian angel?
Yeah, I'm totally in the dark with the whole central story line, which is an interesting way to do the story because she sees this change happening in him and is under the assumption he's getting his act together because they're going to have a baby together. Which isn't exactly the case.
Emma was kind of harsh in the original "Starbuck," though, wasn't she?
She kind of has to be. He's not exactly an overachiever, and they're coming into this moment where she's pregnant with this man's child, and it's not the first conversation where she's had to say,
"Listen, you really need to figure out what you're doing." The stakes are getting higher, and are kind of forcing him to become a better person.
How was it working with Vince Vaughn?
It was lovely. He's a very kind, very smart man, very quick, a little intimidating -- he's so on top of it all. It's a very heartfelt situation in the film, very loving. Our characters are fighting with each other but are still in love.
With the show coming to a close, you have a lot of plans, or projects pending?
I'm not going to focus solely on anything. I'll do projects as they come up, if they speak to me. Film or TV -- nothing's set in stone. It seems a bit far off. I am moving to Manhattan next summer; my husband works there, so we've been back and forth, anyway.
You do have a busy few months coming up, no?
I do have "The LEGO Movie" coming up, I did a voice on that. And "Captain America 2" will be released next spring. "Avengers 2" is being shot next year -- not sure yet if I'll be a part of that.
Are you feeling bittersweet about "How I Met Your Mother" coming to a close?
Oh, yeah, there are all sorts of emotions, of course, all sorts of things. The season thus far has already been full of a lot of nostalgia and excitement for what the next chapter will be. I'm just grateful for the time we've had together. It's so rare for a show to be on for nine years, and even more so that it's been fun for nine years.