Tyra Banks returns as the doll who comes to life to help out girls, and now women, in need of a little magic in Life Size 2, the long-awaited sequel to 2000’s Life Size. Banks has been hard at work on the film for five years. Yes, five years -- she was sure to point that out to ET when we sat down with her and her new co-star, Francia Raisa, to get all the details on the holiday flick… which was actually retitled Life Size 2: A Christmas Eve after our chat! Watch the video above for that story, and read on for all the sequel scoop.
WARNING: Minor spoilers ahead!
Life Size 2 picks up 18 years after the original film, and for as long as Banks has been working on the movie, she’s said that viewers will see a “different Eve” from the one they met in the first film. Turns out, she meant a literal different Eve. Yes, a completely different Eve doll comes to life to help Grace Manning (Raisa) than the one who helped out Casey Stuart (Lindsay Lohan) in the original movie.
“Yes, that’s a little bit of a secret,” Banks admits. “But, yeah, this is quite a different Eve I shall say, that we felt that there’s so many technical reasons why that was necessary. But we won’t get into that.”
And because this Eve comes to life for a grown-up, she comes with a little more life experience... and new interests. As in, a love interest.
“She feels things a little differently,” Banks teases. “She’s a little bit more mature because the person that she comes alive for is a 25-year-old woman. So, she sees the world more through those eyes as opposed through the eyes of a little girl.”
But, don’t worry Life Size devotees -- all your favorite Eve-isms return in the sequel. She chows down on butter, wants to see your 100-watt smile and demands to be dressed. That last one is thanks to Raisa, who noticed the iconic, “Dress me!” line was missing from the script.
“The nods [to the original] were surgical,” Banks explains. “So, I studied the original movie over and over and over and over again and was saying, ‘OK, we have to put these things in there…’ but not just a repeat of it, what is the next level for that? So I thought I did a great job, and then I get to set and [Francia’s] like, ‘You don’t have this, you don’t have this, you don’t have this, you don’t have this…’”
Viewers will also get to check in with “original Eve,” who is back in Sunnyvale and running the place, still clad in the hot pink cropped cardigan and capri pants we left her in back in 2000. The new Eve gives OG Eve a call for guidance on her mission back in the real world.
“That Eve is back in Sunnyvale and because she did such a good job with Casey, she’s promoted to, like, President of Headquarters,” Banks says. “So, that’s the President’s amazing, bright, beautiful office. She’s President of Sunnyvale Headquarters and there are many Eves that have been sent to Earth and she’s dealing with this one right now that just doesn’t have the self esteem. She’s like, ‘Get it together, because our lives and our existence depend on YOU!'”
Part of that pep talk involves an iconic Tyra Banks moment: her infamous “I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you!” speech from cycle four of America’s Next Top Model.
“I felt it was necessary to be meta,” Banks says. “I feel like there are so many fans coming from America’s Next Top Model, and just my general fans, and putting that Easter egg in there, I just feel like the rooms of people watching this in their living rooms or on their phones or wherever they’re watching they are gonna go, ‘No, she didn't!’ And, yes, we did.”
Oh, and helping OG Eve back at Sunnyvale Headquarters is Secretary Eve! And no, she still doesn’t know how to type.
Another nod to the original is the return of “Be a Star,” the Eve doll’s theme song. But this time, it gets a Cardi B-style makeover.
“That song, ‘Be a Star,’ to this day I honestly do not understand why people like it so much,” Banks admits. “I remember seeing it for the first movie and being like, ‘It's alright, I kind of sound off key and weird, like, I don't know... it seems kind of corny to me,’ and people love it!”
“They come up to me on the street and they sing it, or they request for me to sing it,” she continues. “All the actors on Life Size 2 are like, ‘Oh my god, that song!’ and I'm like, ‘You know what? I'm so tired of this damn song we have to remix it,’ and we do. It's trap. You gotta [scrunch your face] when you listen to the new song. You gotta act like you smell something, something stank.”
Missing from the action, though, is Casey. While there are references galore to Lohan’s character -- in fact, you see a photo of Casey before you even see Eve -- the actress doesn’t make any new appearances.
“Lindsay was trying to make that happen,” Banks laments. “I mean, she was up in my DMs, I’m up in her DMs. We were sliding left and right for awhile because I definitely wanted her to have a cameo in the movie, but she has her beach clubs and the big [MTV reality] show, which she could not get to Atlanta. And so, it was up to the last minute of us trying to make it happen and she couldn’t, she had a contractual obligation.”