Parks and Recreation
Tuesdays 8:00/7:00c • TV Series • April Ludgate
Season 7 premieres Tuesday, January 13, 2015 with back-to-back episodes (8-9 p.m. ET/PT)!
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The To Do List
2013 • In Theaters July 26th • Brandy
Feeling pressured to become more sexually experienced before she goes to college, Brandy Clark makes a list of things to accomplish before hitting campus in the fall.
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A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III
2013 • In Theaters & On Demand Now • Marnie
A graphic designer's enviable life slides into despair when his girlfriend breaks up with him.
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Safety Not Guaranteed
Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel.
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|Aubrey Plaza explains ‘Parks and Recreation’ in 30 seconds|
The actress who plays April Ludgate on NBC’s hit show tries to recall everything that’s happened…in 30 seconds.
|Aubrey Plaza on Being Grumpy Cat and Saying Goodbye to ‘Parks and Recreation’|
Aubrey Plaza’s Twitter handle is @evilhag, but she’s more sentimental than you might think. She loves Christmas movies, for instance, so when she was asked to give a voice one of the biggest Internet memes, she couldn’t turn it down.
The result is Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever, which debuts November 29 at 8 PM Eastern on Lifetime. Plaza plays the voice of the frowning feline in this crazy, super-meta, über-odd live-action movie where she helps a little girl save her favorite pet store. She played Grumpy Cat much like her misanthropic character on NBC’s Parks and Recreation, April Ludgate, but she refuses to be typecast; once Parks ends its final season this spring, the Upright Citizens Brigade-trained Plaza will put that blasé character on the shelf and explore roles that feel “scary to me in some way,” such as the ones in recent independent films like About Alex and Life After Beth.
Plaza took a break from filming the Parks series finale to talk to me about being Grumpy Cat, what she looks for in her movie roles, why April will always be near to her heart, and how emotional this final season of Parks has been.
Read the rest of this entry »
|Aubrey Plaza On Prank Calls, Online Rumors and Her First AOL Screen Name|
She won us over with her bluntly lovable Parks & Recreation character April Ludgate. She toughened up Funny People, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and episodes of Portlandia, and she recently made meme history by voicing the title role of Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever. Through it all, Aubrey Plaza has been an outspoken lover of pranks, so we spent an afternoon watching her prank-call businesses while wielding her signature deadpan at the camera. Below, Plaza offers some pranking pro-tips and reveals that her original AOL screen name was “RadBeaver.”
What’s the most important thing about making a successful prank call?
Never use your name. Always use the name “Tiffany Amber Theesin” — spelled exactly like that.
Best prank you’ve ever pulled?
Following my middle-school principal home in a cardboard box after school. I followed her down the street, and every time she turned around I would drop down and hide in the box. She knew it was me.
How do you prank people via social media?
I believe the Internet is one huge prank on everyone in the world. The joke is on us. And sure, there are many ways… I like to sign people up for ridiculous email subscriptions that they definitely don’t want.
Has anyone ever prank-called you?
My little sister and her friends called me once and told me that my sister was high for the first time and freaking out, and I believed them and proceeded to “talk her down” for an hour before they broke and then laughed at me and told me I sounded like a mom.
What’s the weirdest or least accurate thing you’ve ever read about yourself online?
That I am entirely made up of human parts.
Do you see social networking as an integral part of your work, or do you prefer to outsource it?
I am only on Twitter because I joined a long time ago and have never outsourced it. I don’t see it as an integral part of my work at all… It has nothing to do with my work. It’s mostly something I do when I’m bored or feel like promoting something I care about. Or a way for me to confront anonymous haters of my basketball team, the Pistol Shrimps.
What would your career look like in a world without the Internet?
The same? Is this a trick question? I’m scared.
What was your AOL screen name?
For real, my first AOL screen name ever was “RadBeaver.” This is not a joke. I thought beavers were funny animals and had no idea that it would attract creepers in chat rooms. Once I learned the other meaning of “beaver” I quickly got off AOL and joined a convent.
What were you into in the early web 2.0 days — Friendster? Myspace? LiveJournal?
I was really into any blogspot. I created a ton of fake blogs. Two favorites: saltyseahags.blogspot.com (a humor blog written from the point of view of a sea witch that lives in the bottom of the ocean) and imghanadie.blogspot.com (an actual love journal of my study abroad experience in Ghana — this really pissed off my parents).
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve bought online?
A toilet goblin.
Whom do you stalk on Instagram?
Really old people. Can’t get enough of them. The older the better. Send them all to me. Please.
If you could adopt any web-famous animal, who would it be?
How often do you Google yourself?
I don’t have to because my MOTHER DOES IT EVERY SECOND AND THEN TELLS ME ABOUT IT!!!
What’s the longest you’ve ever been offline?
Not long at all but when I’m done emailing this interview to you I am going to throw all of my devices into the LA river and join a forest cult and check trees and instead of stupid emails.
|How Aubrey Plaza Became Grumpy Cat|
Take a behind-the-scenes look at how “Parks and Recreation” star Aubrey Plaza transformed herself into the Internet’s most famous cat for the new Lifetime movie “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever,” premiering Saturday, November 29 at 8/7c on Lifetime.
|Aubrey Plaza Is Not Mocking You|
|Filed Under: Interviews • Posted on August 9th, 2014 by Jennifer • Comments Off|
Your latest film, “About Alex,” has been called “ ‘The Big Chill’ for millennials.” Is there a way to describe it that doesn’t sound like a terrible studio pitch? I’m the worst at describing anything. I can barely put sentences together. It’s about a bunch of friends who go in the woods and some of them have sex with each other and some of them fight and they learn things and you realize that the only thing that matters is love and the connections we have and that the Internet is evil.
Your character in “About Alex” is not at all like April Ludgate, your character from “Parks and Recreation.” Is it a challenge to play someone who isn’t droll or deadpan, or is it a relief to finally get away from that? It’s a fun challenge to make people accept me as not April and to show that I can do more than roll my eyes. But everything is a challenge for me. Waking up is challenging for me. I can barely put my clothes on in the morning.
You’re so sarcastic that it’s sometimes difficult to tell when you’re being sincere. Believe me, it’s a bigger problem for me. I don’t even know when I’m being serious or not. I can’t tell how I truly feel about anything.
Can your friends or family tell when you’re being genuine with them? Sometimes. I think it’s just the tone of my voice that throws people off. Zooey Deschanel recently told me, “Everything that you say to someone sounds like you’re mocking them.” I was like, “But I’m not.” And she was like, “Even when you just said that, it sounded like you were mocking me.”
You have another movie coming out this month, “Life After Beth,” in which you play a zombie. Did you watch a lot of classic zombie movies to prepare for that? I decided to purposely not watch anything and just kind of wing it. Because I have this brewing demonic monstrous energy inside of me, and I’ve never really had a way to express it. So I didn’t prepare at all. I just went with my instincts. I was like, I’m just going to see what happens when I tap into my monster self.
I doubt many people think, Aubrey Plaza, yeah, she’s got a real rage inside her. That’s a bit surprising. I’m holding a lot of things in. Let’s just leave it at that. Every movie that I do is cathartic, because in my real life I do have a problem with, you know, emoting and letting my feelings out.
The movie also stars your B.F.F., Anna Kendrick. Is it fair to describe her as your B.F.F.? For your purposes, yes. Why not?
You’ve gone on a trip to Mexico with her. You were her Oscars date. You tweet to each other adorably. It seems only a matter of time before you get matching tattoos. It’s true. We have a very deep connection, and it’s hard to have friendships in this town. We have a mutual respect for each other, professionally and personally. And we’re also sexually attracted to each other. That’s another kind of layer of our relationship. We always talk about how we were born in the wrong era of Hollywood. I feel like we could have really ruled the 1930s MGM studio system. If we’d been signed with MGM, we would have owned that [expletive]. But it’s not really like that anymore.
Why does the old Hollywood studio system seem so appealing to you? There’s just something kind of old-school about being signed with a bunch of other actresses and having to hustle and compete in that way. Now any old person can just, you know, pop up out of nowhere.
I thought you were going to say YouTube and the kids. Well, I was going to say that. Still, I want Mr. Meyer to, like, call me up to his office and tell me that I’ve got a four-picture deal. That’s what I want, but that’s not going to happen. Instead, I’ve got to do sexy photo shoots, and I don’t even know what I’m doing.
You don’t like the promotional part of it, the photo shoots and interviews and talk shows? Have you ever seen me on a talk show? I’m the worst interview guest ever.
|“Welcome to Sweden” Aubrey Plaza Interview|
|Filed Under: Interviews, Videos • Posted on July 5th, 2014 by Jennifer • Comments Off|
Guest star Aubrey Plaza talks Welcome to Sweden, premiering Thursday, July 10 at 9/8c on NBC.
|Is Aubrey Plaza Really Bringing Daria to the Big Screen?|
|Filed Under: Interviews • Posted on January 30th, 2014 by Jennifer • Comments Off|
After Aubrey Plaza’s pitch-perfect spoof of Daria Morgendorffer appeared on CollegeHumor, rumors of a big screen revival of the ’90s after-school staple abounded. And while late-twentysomethings are totally ready to dust off their Five Star spirals and *69 their very own high-school Trents (oh my gawd, that soul patch), the Parks and Recreation star remains somewhat mum on the topic. “I have no idea!” she tells ELLE.com via e-mail. “I heard that there were rumblings, but I don’t know.”
One film role that is a sure thing? Playing Dane DeHaan’s zombie girlfriend in real-life boyfriend Jeff Baena’s directorial debut, Life After Beth (which was picked up for distribution by A24 five days after its Sundance premiere). In a glowing review, Variety called Plaza’s an “increasingly intriguing career.” And despite being known for her acerbic delivery—Is April Ludgate responsible for the death of the Manic Pixie Girl trope?—her recent spate of indies, such as last year’s Safety Not Guaranteed, continue to reveal a softer, more dimensional side to the comedienne. “I do not want to do the same thing over and over again, she explains. “I work hard to find diversity in the roles I choose.”
To that end, Plaza refuses to come unhinged in the presence of an awkward situation. “I don’t get embarrassed having to do anything as far as acting,” she says. And despite earlier protestations, she still tends to slip back into trademark sarcasm: “In real life, however, it is totally embarrassing to act like an insane carnivorous zombie,” she says. “People are always put off by that.”
Yeah, totally lame people.
|Popsugar Interview At Sundance|
|Filed Under: Interviews, Videos • Posted on January 25th, 2014 by Jennifer • Comments Off|
Aubrey Plaza plays a zombie in her new film Life After Beth at the Sundance Film Festival, and apparently it took more than just practice to get her character perfect for the big screen. Aubrey joked that there were some “drugs” involved too. Plus, you won’t believe what she said about Amy Poehler’s recent Golden Globe win.
|Why Aubrey Plaza Still Wants to Lick Dane DeHaan’s Face|
|Filed Under: Interviews, Videos • Posted on January 24th, 2014 by Jennifer • Comments Off|
Zom-com-rom-dram. Maybe you’ve never heard the term before, but wait until you catch Life After Beth, the Sundance film starring Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza as a zombie and Chronicle’s Dane DeHaan as the man who loves her. It’s the kind of film that didn’t just require the two to have good chemistry, but to get close . . . like way too close. “It wasn’t hard to lick his face and try to eat him,” Plaza told V.F.’s Krista Smith. “I want to do it right now.”
Though DeHaan and Plaza both have their experience with indies—Plaza in last year’s The To Do List, DeHaan in Lawless and The Place Beyond the Pines—he’ll be the one making a major leap to blockbusters this year with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, coming to theaters in May. “Honestly, the majority of it wasn’t green-screen-madness action, “DeHaan told Smith. “I think that’s one thing that’s really cool about Spider-Man. It’s also a lot of human stories.” That said, there’s plenty of action, and DeHaan’s muscles know it. “I worked with a trainer six days a week, and by the end of it, I was eating 5,500 calories a day.”
Having played a super-villain in Chronicle, the recipient of a punch to the face in The Place Beyond the Pines, and burn victim in the Metallica movie Metallica Through The Never, DeHaan says he was relieved not to be the one in the makeup chair for hours. That job fell to Plaza, who said the “full-on, stage-four zombie” makeup took three to four hours to accomplish. “It was my first time being in prosthetics or anything like that, so it was always interesting to me,” Plaza said. She also told DeHaan she wouldn’t mind getting burn makeup like he had in Chronicle. “Yeah, I would like for you to,” he told her. With nothing but love, of course.
|Filed Under: Interviews • Posted on January 22nd, 2014 by Jennifer • Comments Off|
Now, this is the role Aubrey Plaza was born to play. In Life After Beth, written and directed by Plaza’s real-life boyfriend of many years Jeff Baena (who co-wrote I Heart Huckabees), the Parks and Recreation star finds her first great synergy with a big-screen character as a girl who comes back from the dead but doesn’t realize she’s dead and keeps trying to date her bereft boyfriend (Dane DeHaan). The story plays out less like a zombie movie than a relationship movie, tracing the emotional arc of the living — like DeHaan, and John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon as Beth’s parents — who grieve over the young woman’s death, eschew all sanity when she comes back to life, and enjoy her company all over again.
Baena wrote the script ten years ago, and like Beth, it’s been resurrected. “It was probably informed by the evolution of a relationship that went to shit and you try to get back together, if you broke up. But that was unconscious,” he said in the post-screening Q&A. Jada Yuan spoke with Plaza, who said she was starving and hung-over, about how to play the undead, Parks and Rec getting renewed, and being chained to an oven she carried on her back, which was “really special.”
Plaza [into my recorder]: Rrrrraaaahhhhhhhhhhh. That’s my zombie voice. I have such low blood sugar.
Has playing a zombie been a dream of yours?
No, it has not been a dream of mine, but it’s a nightmare of mine now … okay, let’s talk normally. I’m not obsessed with zombie movies or anything. I was more interested in the story of the movie. The relationship between Beth and Zach [Dane DeHaan] made me love the script because it reminded me of my high school, college relationships.
What reminded you of high school, college relationships? Because I do think it really is a relationship movie.
Like the relationships that you have with the other person’s parents and those kind of boundaries — I thought they were handled really well. And certain things that Zach and Beth do, like trying to find a place to go make out and have sex. I remember when you live with your parents, it’s like you can’t go to their house so you have to go make out in the woods or whatever, and that felt real to me because I remember that feeling. And I thought that the love that they had is very young love and I liked it.
Jeff was saying the movie is a metaphor for when you break up with somebody and then you try to get back together with them.
I think definitely one of the themes of the movie is breakups, and how weird they are and how when you break up it almost is like they die. And I think the movie explores, Well, what if they came back and you could say all the things that you wanted to say to them that you didn’t say when you were together? It’s kind of messing with those ideas.
And you say those things but then it’s still never the same.
Right, then you still have to shoot them in the head and they die.
How did you prep for being a zombie — did you work on your zombie voice?
No, but I weirdly enough have this demon voice that I’ve been doing since I was a kid, so I got to use that voice, and then Jeff and I realized, Oh, it’s weird that I didn’t have to prepare a demon voice, that I just had that one in my back pocket. I don’t think a lot of actors have those kind of voices or sounds that are just ready to go. [Does the demon voice.] This is my demon voice. I guess I’ve been preparing my whole life for this part as a zombie, because I’ve always had this weird demon voice inside me and now everyone knows. I just hope my mommy’s proud.
It seems like it would be really fun to play that part, when you destroy the house, wear a stove on your back.
Wear a stove on my back … that was … fun may not be the word. Hard.
Was it a fake stove?
It was the front half of a real stove and the back half of a fake stove, but it was heavy any way you stove it — what? [Laughs.] It was heavy, and I tore my abdominal muscles when I did some of those scenes. I actually really got hurt.
Did you throw out your back, too?
I had back problems, yeah, but I didn’t throw it out. It was from standing up and then leaning back, and you’d think it would be really good exercise for my core but I just overdid it. Also, I don’t know how to exercise.
Onstage, Jeff said that you resurrected the script. What does that mean?
He’s written so many scripts, and we’ve been together for a couple years, and ever since I’ve been together with him, a lot of people have said, “Oh, have you ever read this one script that he wrote that’s, like, the best script?” Because he tried to get it going years ago and studio, whatever, bullshit happened and it fell apart for whatever reason. But it was a script that still stuck in a lot of people’s minds and one of my agents at the time was one of those people. And Jeff is not the kind of person — he doesn’t like talking about work, we don’t talk about work that much. He’s not into business stuff or whatever, so he’s never given me a script and been like, “Do this.” So I kind of had to make him let me read it. And then I read it and it was so fucking good, and it felt perfect for me and he felt the same way, so then we started the process.
What was the directorial relationship like, given that you have a personal relationship?
It was great. I was nervous. I was like, We’re either going to break up or stay together forever.
Forever. [In her zombie voice, imitating something her character says constantly in the movie.] “Together forever. Together forever.” It was great, he’s a great director and that didn’t surprise me either because his brain is operating on another level — he’s too smart and he’s got so many opinions and he’s a very confident person that always knows what he wants.
Were there any moments when you were like, “We might break up”?
No, not one. The only weird thing was — and it wasn’t even weird, which is why it was weird — was all of the making out with Dane stuff. In my head, I was like, This is gonna be weird, I wonder how this is gonna go. [Jeff and I] never talked about it. We were never like, “Oh, in the scenes where I have to have sex with Dane, is it going to be weird?” And we did one take where Dane and I are really going at it and [Jeff] was like, “Cut.” In my head I was like, Oh my God, he’s gonna be weird about this and everyone was kind of quiet, and he walked over to me and was like, “Do you think you could get more into it and maybe moan a little bit louder and just kind of amp it up?” And I was like, “Copy that, you want me to moan louder? Okay, I can do that for you.” And then Molly [Shannon] and John [C. Reilly] were like, “You guys have a really weird relationship.”’ And later that night I was like, “Is it weird for you to direct me making out with other guys?” And his response was like, “You know my feeling: You’re going to be doing it anyway so I might as well be supervising it,” which I think is a great attitude to have.
Did you think you might go insane listening to all that smooth jazz? [Editor’s note: Eventually, Beth starts to decay and grows so constantly agitated that the only thing that will calm her (and simultaneously give her an orgasm) is smooth jazz.]
Yes! No, I don’t mind smooth jazz that much, I play the saxophone, so …
Do you really?
Yeah. I actually played on this album on this track that just came online and I played on Conan once with a friend’s band. I’m not very good, but I’ve played since I was a kid. I liked the smooth jazz stuff. It was funny to have a trigger that’s supposed to basically give me an orgasm.
Are you just having an awesome time right now, given that Parks and Recreation got renewed just a few days ago?
I actually found out because Jim O’Heir, who plays Jerry on the show, is here [he’s also in Life After Beth] and was shouting to me on the street, like “Seventh season!”’ and I was like, “What?! Shut up.” So that was bizarre.
And Amy Poehler won the Golden Globe.
I’m so psyched for her. It was so fun to celebrate her that night. I feel like she is always the funniest person in the room and whenever she doesn’t win I’m like, How can the funniest person not win? So finally the funniest person won, which I thought was pretty cool. It was just awesome to have our leader up onstage just leading the night and crushing it like she does. Wait, what was the question?
Oh, just I guess what was that like for you. And I’ll wrap this up: What do you think a seventh season means for April?
I’ve been saying this for two seasons now: If they don’t put a baby inside of me, I’m going to put one in myself, literally, so that they’re forced to write it on to the show! I declare. I just think the idea of her and Andy having quintuplets or something would be pretty hilarious. But I have no idea. I don’t know what they are going to do with her character.
Is this the final season?
I don’t know. I really was shocked that we got picked up, and so early. Every year, we all feel uncertain as to whether we’re going to go back or not, we’ve never felt secure. So I don’t know when the end will be, or when the beginning is — it’s all relative. We’re like the little engine that could. We’re just a little fighter guy. We’re not going anywhere.