LOS ANGELES—You can add Rumer Willis to the list of people raised in acting families who’ve discovered that you can’t beat DNA. However, if there’s a difference between Willis—the daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis—and other second-generation actors, it’s that she could relate to the geeky character she plays in the movie The House Bunny more than the glamorous world from which she hails.
“I was a computer nerd,” she says in an L.A. hotel room. “I was a big dork. I grew up with braces and glasses, and I wasn’t too active or someone who got into the social crowd. So I understand not fitting in.
"But I think everyone has their own version of feeling out of place. One of the great things we have the ability to do here is show you can have that awkward stage and it is not about whether you are the popular girl or the nerdy one. It is about feeling comfortable with who you are and accepting that.”
In the film (which opens in Vancouver on August 22), Willis plays Joanne, a girl whose physical problems require her to wear an unflattering body brace. Her life changes when a former Playboy bunny (Anna Faris) becomes the house mother of her sorority of misfits. Of course, it’s unlikely that there are many sorority girls who are under as much pressure to look good as Willis and other kids who’ve been raised in Tinseltown.
“Growing up in Hollywood, there is so much pressure from everywhere to look a certain way and dress a certain way,” she says. “I know that I don’t fit that convention, so I am happy to be a part of something that will allow young girls to feel confident about themselves and think, ”˜Okay, that girl is not entirely the ideal of what the perfect picture is supposed to be. So if she can feel that way, then I can too.’ ”
Although she has been around film sets since she was a child, Willis says there is little similarity between tagging along with your parents and costarring in a film on your own merits.
“I kind of grew up on movie sets, so to do it on my own has been really amazing,” she says. “It is a different experience. When I was younger, I would sit in the trailer and I would hang out.
"When we were making this film, I felt there was a shift in mindset from being an accessory to being the one in front of the camera. It has been a different kind of ride, but I think I have learned a lot. I am at the very beginning in terms of the actual work I have done, but it is a different experience being the one at the press junket. I have been to them, but never in this position.”