Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World is having a tough go of it at the box office. After being outperformed by Eat Pray Love and The Expendables in earnings last weekend, the film seems to be in need of a second wind. Aubrey Plaza, who stars in Edgar Wright’s eye-popping love story alongside Michael Cera and Jason Schwartzman, believes audiences may yet catch on.
“How can you make a movie that good and not have everyone run to the theatre to see it? Especially when it’s up against other movies that aren’t as special,” says the 24-year-old Plaza, who also stars as the deadpan April Ludgate on television’s Parks and Recreation. “It feels like a Ghostbusters, like a game-changer. It’s got heart, a message for young people and a story that even my parents could fully grasp.”
For Plaza, July 2008 is the moment when her professional career truly began. That month, she not only auditioned for Parks and Recreation and Scott Pilgrim, but she also read for the role of Seth Rogen’s love interest in Funny People, Judd Apatow’s semi-autobiographical dramedy. The actress was living in New York at the time and working with the Upright Citizens Brigade as a stand-up comic, but after the film opened, she was whisked away to Los Angeles.
“Being associated with Judd and Seth and that crew helped me gain some street cred,” says Plaza, who once dreamed of performing on Saturday Night Live. “That movie changed everything for me.”
Funny People premiered just as Parks and Recreation, a comedy from the team that brought The Office to the U.S. and starring Amy Poehler and Aziz Ansari, began its rise in the ratings. On the show, Plaza’s character shows the same sweet bored-to-death watchfulness as the other big roles she snagged in that fateful month.
“My sister Natalie is 19 years old, and whenever I go home I try to absorb her mannerisms and the way she talks and her general disinterested apathetic attitude,” Plaza says, with just a hint of a little laugh. “She’s amazing – there’s times when she’s interacting with her friends that are on a whole different level.”
Today, Plaza seems like she’s one role of away from reaching a whole different level herself. She’s currently reading scripts and writing her own material, and says she’s looking forward to leaving her Natalie-influenced performances behind.
“You put yourself out there in one way and people assume that’s entirely you, but those roles are only a tiny part of me,” she says. “I change all the time and I want to do everything, not just comedies. I don’t think people are out there writing a million scripts for me, but who knows? Maybe they will.”