– by Joseph Jammer Medina

The fight of the year has finally arrived.

FIST FIGHT has arrived in theaters today with Charlie Day and Ice Cube going toe-to-toe in the ultimate teacher fight.

The film is about two high school teachers prepared to solve their differences the hard way after school. On the last day of the year, a mild-mannered high school English teacher Andy Campbell (Day) is trying his best to keep it together amidst senior pranks, a dysfunctional administration and budget cuts that put jobs on the line. But things go from bad to worse when he accidentally crosses his much tougher and deeply feared colleague, Ron Stricklan (Ice Cube), who challenges Campbell to an old-fashioned throw down after school. News of the fight spreads like wildfire and ends up becoming the very thing this school, and Campbell, needed.

It also stars Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell, Dean Norris, Christina Hendricks, Dennis Haysbert, Kumail Nanjiani and JoAnna Garcia Swisher.

LRM had a phone interview yesterday with the lovely JoAnna Garcia Swisher, who played the pregnant wife to Andy Campbell.

We had a fun talk about playing a pregnant woman while sort of being pregnant in real life. She also talked about the admiration for Charlie Day and the rest of the cast.

In addition, she also talked about her other upcoming projects like ONCE UPON A TIME, PITCH, and recalling the good times with REBA.

FIST FIGHT is in theaters nationwide today.

Read the exclusive interview transcript below.

LRM: I’ve seen the movie. It’s hilarious. Very funny.

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: Thank you so much. [Laughter] It’s a lot of fun. It’s wildly inappropriate, but amazing. [Laughter]

LRM: So I wanted to know what attracted you to this movie?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: Initially, Charlie Day. I’m a huge fan of him. The opportunity to work with him was very exciting. I flew to Los Angeles, when I was out of town at the time, to meet with Charlie and Richie Keen. I was just so excited. I would’ve done anything at that point. I was like, “Oh! Let’s make this happen!” I was really excited that it all worked out. It was all a good experience.

LRM: Could you talk about working on this project as a pregnant wife? Were you pregnant or was that a costume mold?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: I did actually get pregnant halfway through the filming of the movie in real life. I was very nearly pregnant. That was a full blown pregnancy suit.

LRM: Oh?

Joanna Garcia Swisher: Yeah. [Laughter] It was plastic and silicon and all of that.

LRM: So was it odd in a way that in your mind you know you were pregnant, but you were dressed up to be more pregnant?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: I was literally so sick at the beginning of my pregnancy. I using all of that to help me fuel the uncomfortable waddle that every girl gets before they were about to deliver. A lot of times it’s hard to remember to know on what it felt like. [Chuckles]

LRM: So how was it working with Charlie Day since this was your primary reason to be in this movie?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: It was really an amazing experience. He is such a sweet guy. So funny. I’m such a huge fan of him. To be able to watch him and carry this movie, [I saw] him wear all these hats and be such a great leader. He’s a very generous co-star. He spoiled me rotten. He made me feel very, very special.

LRM: Was there a lot of ad-libbing going on?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: Well, the script is very written. It’s always a plus and a bonus. Then you have a director like Richie Keen, who is a comedian himself. He is very comfortable with funny people. He had areally great idea on what he wanted to capture. He is so prepared in that regard. He made us felt really comfortable to be able to explore, have fun, and go off the rails. He knew he was going to get on at least on what he needed.

The bonus would be to get those hidden gems, when you hire comedians. [Laughter] It’s not often that you get to work with someone who is so comfortable. Oftentimes, [other directors] are so focused on the technical aspect of it or getting the shot.

He was completely prepared, but he knew on what he was getting himself into when you hire all these crazy animals. He made it a lot of fun. That’s sort of a challenge when you can make everyone giggle. That’s what you get when you have a bunch of comedians. All we want to do is to make people laugh.

So when you put all that together, that’s all what we were trying to do with each other. It’s a weird animal that is created. This film really captured that.

LRM: You’ve been in comedies for some time now through your career. How can you not laugh at the guy?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: I don’t. I laugh all the time at the guy. [Laughter] At the end of the day, you got to get there again. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy every minute of it. I love to laugh. I love funny people. So, yeah, I’m along for the ride.

You hold it together as much as you can, but sometimes it’s not easy. [Chuckles] It’s definitely not easy.

LRM: As I said before, I’ve seen the movie and know you had a limited role in this. What I want to know if you were there to watch the multi-day production of the fight scene on the set?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: I wasn’t there for the filming of that. I was back in Los Angeles. It was pretty epic. I saw the aftermath. [I saw] how much work they’ve done; how injured they got; and how it was a complete free for all. There is all this comradery. Not just with Charlie and Ice Cube, even with the background actors were very much connected to the whole feel, vibe and the epic-ness.

It’s all very important to have. You can’t have movie called FIST FIGHT without having an epic fist fight. You can’t disappoint on that level. I really believed that they did their job. [Laughter] That’s for sure.

LRM: So the most difficult thing you had to do was with the pregnancy then?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: [Laughter] I didn’t find anything to be particularly difficult. I really just enjoyed myself. I was really excited to work with Tracy Morgan, Jillian Bell and Charlie, who is such a wonderful actor. I was proud to be on screen that showed him on a more tender level. It’s a completely different level for a person to tug at the heart string and make someone laugh all in a minute. Charlie had that ability.

I felt very lucky to be able to do that. I didn’t find anything really to be terribly difficult. I enjoyed this experience. It was a very wonderful feeling. It was a very warm place to be. There’s a lot of support.

LRM: Personally, I thought the best scene of the film was with the girl who played your daughter, Alexa Nisenson.

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: Oh, yeah. That drop the mic moment. [Chuckles]

LRM: How was working that little girl? After that scene, she definitely has some kind of future.

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: She is a really special young lady. I was really excited to get to the premiere and watch the movie with her. I loved to see her reaction. She literally got a standing ovation. She deserved it.

She has this incredible confidence and bravery. She was able to go out there and do it. But at the same time, she is so sweet and excited.

I’m raising two daughters myself right now. She has great parents. I would be really proud if Alexa was my real daughter. I would love to have my daughters to be anything like that. To have that confidence, be so sweet and talented, she is a real special person. You’ll definitely will be seeing a lot more of her in the future.

LRM: Let me quickly talk about your other upcoming projects. You are going to be back as Ariel in ONCE UPON A TIME?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: Yeah! I loved to be able to [be back on the show]. When I was able to get the opportunity with things working out and I’m able to go back. Such as I’m not pregnant in real life. [Laughter] I would love to visit my family there. They are such wonderful people. They are so special. It’s one of the roles I’m most fond of. It’s so entertaining and I love, love doing the show. It’s a fun unique gig. I would always like to go back.

I’ve been very busy. With the movie premiering tomorrow, I’m just proud to be part of this film. I’m just excited for what’s to come.

LRM: I think you have another project called PITCH? The other half season should be shown pretty soon, right?

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: I love Dan Fogelman and everyone who runs that show. Kylie Bunbury is very beautiful, fierce and a vicious leader. Mark-Paul Gosselaar is such a dream boat. He is such a talented actor. I loved being able to check in and being able to have fun with them.

I really hope for their success and their future. It’s such a great show. They are all great people.

LRM: I loved the show, because I love baseball. I also loved the fact that you married a baseball player.

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: [laughter] I loved the fact that I married him too! He’s quite a guy.

LRM: [Laughter] Awesome. One last question—I was watching a video interview with you recently. You really missed being on the show REBA and you really wanted this show to be rebooted? [Laughter]

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: Oh? [Laughter] Is that how the news [portrayed it]? Someone asked me earlier today about the reboot. It’s such a beloved show. It beat the test of time. It captured a very unique time in my life. It filled with a lot of great memories. We were all very close. We really never run away from each other.

I think it would be really fun to get together again professionally. I know everyone would jump at the chance.

LRM: Thank you so much. I know you have a very busy day today.

JoAnna Garcia Swisher: Thank you. It was so nice chatting with you.

FIST FIGHT it out in theaters nationwide today.

Source: Exclusive to LRM

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.