Years of playing Parks and Recreation’s resident trickster April paid off for Aubrey Plaza, who executed an epic prank on her co-stars while shooting the film Spin Me Round in Italy.

“I basically made up a little fake Italian tradition,” Plaza revealed to PEOPLE during a special screening of the film – directed by Plaza’s husband Jeff Baena, who also co-wrote it with star Alison Brie – at the London Hotel in West Hollywood. “I told all the actors, ‘When you shoot in Italy, they have a tradition where when you picture-wrap, you get pied in the face.'”

Plaza managed to convince her fellow actors – including Brie, Molly Shannon, Fred Armisen, Debby Ryan, Ego Nwodim and Ayden Mayeri – that made-up tradition was real, and to expect to receive a pie in the face once each of them completed filming.

“All the actors were like, ‘Is that true?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, it’s what the Italians do,” Plaza explained. “And then I really committed to that. And I orchestrated basically a pie for every actor. We have 11 or 12 actors in the movie and it didn’t matter how long the day was, how tired they were. They all got a f—g pie in their face. And now it’s going to stick – I’m going to make it a thing!”

Brie says she was awed by how effective – and infectious – Plaza’s prank became. “It caught on real quick, and everyone loved it and was terrified by it,” she laughed. “So every time a day came when the next person was going to wrap, it was like everyone knew that the pieing was coming and we had to be increasingly savvy about how we would pie people.”

“The first few just got pies right on set, right after they wrapped,” Brie revealed, noting that Plaza soon had the entire cast working in cahoots to ambush their colleagues who attempted to escape the prank. “We would wait until they got back to the hotel — we would wait hours until they were hanging out!”

“I got a pie in the face,” confirmed Ryan. “Aubrey got me really well. She sort of orchestrated exactly where I was sitting, and they got me and Ben Sinclair on the same day. Yeah, one day these photos and these videos might come to light, but we will never forget the pieing.”

Ryan even quickly became one of Plaza’s accomplices. “I was like making cheeky, clandestine grocery store runs,” she says. “And I know how to order pie supplies in Italian now.”

“It has to be a group effort,” chuckled Plaza. “It’s an orchestrated kind of thing, because you have to get them when they’re not expecting it.”

Plaza shared how only one of her victims sparked a twinge of hesitation. “Emotionally, it was hardest to pie Armisen in the face, because he wrapped at 5:00 in the morning and he had worked a 15-hour day,” she revealed. “Everyone kept being like, ‘Don’t do it to him, man. He’s tired. He doesn’t want it.’ And I was like, ‘I have to do it. I have to keep the traditional alive.’ So when he was walking back to his car, as the sun was coming up, I just popped out from behind a tire and just pied him right there in the driveway. And he took it like a champ.”

Another of Plaza’s accomplices was Mayeri, who somehow escaped her pie-in-the-face moment in Italy, prompting Plaza to concoct a weeks-long plot to finish the job. “Because I was sneaking with her the whole time and I was the last one there, nobody got me until we came home to the States,” said Mayeri, who was not filling-faced-free for long. “I was over at Jeff and Aubrey’s house for dinner and they got me then at the dinner party.”

As it stands, only one cast member remains un-pied: leading lady Brie herself. “I, to this day, have never been pied, so I’m a little nervous anytime I’m around this crowd – it could come at any moment,” she said, glancing furtively around on the red carpet. “I’m a little nervous, because I borrowed this dress!”

Spin Me Round premieres Aug. 19 in theaters, on video on demand and streaming on AMC+

Source: PEOPLE