Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story joined the ranks of other beloved sports comedy films like Caddyshack, Kingpin, and The Sandlot in 2004. Led by movie stars Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller, this flick boasted an impressive cast of other famous faces, including an unrecognizable Missi Pyle as Fran Stalinovskovichdavidovitchsky
This mid-2000s classic centers on Peter LaFleur's Average Joe's Gym and its ongoing rivalry with the neighboring fitness chain Globo Gym, owned by White Goodman. When Average Joe's faces foreclosure and demolition, Peter enters the Dodgeball Championships in Las Vegas with a team full of misfits to earn enough money to save his business from White. Standing in Peter's way is White's team of elite players, including the "Romanovian" dodgeball champion Fran.
Even those readers who can quote Dodgeball word-for-word may not have recognized the gorgeous actress behind Fran, who underwent a major transformation in her portrayal of the scene-stealing character via brunette side buns, a fake mole, a unibrow, and bad teeth.
However, in real life, Pyle is a blonde bombshell and prolific on-screen talent, so chances are you've seen her other work.
As a major player in film and television, 46-year-old Pyle is a hilarious, go-to character actress in Hollywood. According to her IMDb page, she's accumulated an astounding 170 credits to her name over the last two decades. Some of her other notable gigs include appearances in films like Galaxy Quest and Anchorman, as well as appearances on the small screen on shows like Friends, Frasier, and Soul Man.
And she shows no signs of slowing down. Besides returning for season 2 of the hit YouTube series Impulse, she's already scheduled to appear in at least six films and TV movies in 2019, including Deported, Ma, and Ghosting.
During an interview with The A.V. Club in 2016, Pyle revealed that she went the whole nine yards when auditioning for her fan-favorite Dodgeball character.
"I drew on eyebrows and didn't wear any makeup, just bright red lipstick. I think I drew a mole on. [...] I looked so ridiculous."
While the filming experience was "a lot of fun," Pyle went on to admit that her costume made her feel self-conscious about her looks.
"I was also so unattractive in that movie. I had the fake teeth. It was hard because all those dodgeball tournament scenes — you know, getting extras for a scene like that — a lot of extras were from halfway houses or work-release programs where you have to put in hours. Every time I'd come out, people would be like, 'Ugh!'"
The uncomfortable realities of movie magic aside, Pyle not only looked nothing like Fran in real life, she also unfortunately lacked the character's mad dodgeball skills. On the first day of practice, the actress threw out her neck, then got drilled in the face with a dodgeball. She said,
"It was very humiliating. [...] I've always considered myself an athletic person, but I think I'm just somebody who likes to try athletics. Because I'm tall, so you'd think I'd be better than I am, but I'm not necessarily that great."
Dodgeball was a commercial and critical success. Grossing $167.7 million worldwide, the film scored a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the site's critical consensus reading
"Proudly profane and splendidly silly, Dodgeball is a worthy spiritual successor to the goofball comedies of the 1980s."
While rumors of a long-awaited sequel have been circulating since 2013, the future of Dodgeball 2 unfortunately remains unclear. However, comedy fans were treated to a surprising reunion of sorts in June 2017, when multiple cast members —including Stiller, Vaughn, Justin Long, and Christine Taylor — joined forces for a charitable competition through Omaze to benefit the Stiller Foundation. According to its website,
"[The charity] seeks to promote the well-being of children worldwide through initiatives that support education."
Also reprising her popular on-screen alter ego was Missi Pyle herself as Fran!
As the sage Dodgeball saying goes, if you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball, and if you're Missi Pyle, you can deliver a stand-out performance even in disguise.
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