Archive for the 'Interviews' Category

How Aubrey Plaza Thrives as the ‘Odd Woman Out’

November 11, 2022   Comments Off on How Aubrey Plaza Thrives as the ‘Odd Woman Out’   Interviews

In the years since she wrapped up her time on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” Aubrey Plaza has played a social media–obsessed cyber stalker, a blasphemous 14th-century nun, an all-powerful mutant, and Aaron Burr. This year alone, she turned in a remarkable performance as a credit card scammer in John Patton Ford’s “Emily the Criminal” and lived in the lap of Italian luxury on Season 2 of HBO’s “The White Lotus.” And she’s a little tired, understandably, of viewers filing all these characters under the same “deadpan” description.

“Soon, I’m going to get into the world of prosthetics and start doing some Meryl Streep shit where I change my nose and my hair so people can just completely forget that it’s me,” Plaza says. “I’m always surprised that, when I do something new, there’s always that one person who says, ‘There she goes, doing the Aubrey Plaza thing again.’ I can’t change the sound of my voice. I only have my own instrument to work with. Anyway, I sound bitter, but I’m not. But I am always surprised that people use ‘deadpan’ to describe some things that I’ve done. It just feels a little reductive. But that’s my journey.”

On this episode of In the Envelope: The Actor’s Podcast, Plaza takes us through that journey, from her creative process for her roles in “Emily the Criminal” and on “The White Lotus” to her upcoming work in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Megalopolis” and on the MCU’s “Agatha: Coven of Chaos.”

As both producer and star of “Emily the Criminal,” Plaza embraced every part of the filmmaking process.
“Making movies is an almost spiritual process for me. I can only describe it like: The movie becomes its own living, breathing organism. You have to nurture it and feed it and raise it and get it to the finish line. Producing, for me—it’s all the practical, pragmatic stuff, but there’s a spiritual element to it that does connect to the acting process. It’s about bringing the right energy and the right people into the picture to raise this baby movie. Casting is so important. That, obviously, is really connected to the acting part of it. I want to work with really great people. I want to get people in there that are going to help me with my performance. I want it to feel real. On a deeper level, there’s an approach in my head about movies that feels like there’s a soul to the process. If you can remember that, and keep your eye on that with all the decisions you’re making, it helps the movie be better.”

Harper Spiller, her character on Mike White’s “The White Lotus,” is the most personal role of her career.
“Mike wrote that character for me, so there’s a lot of me in that part. It’s only been two episodes and everyone’s like, ‘This woman is kind of an uptight bitch.’ Which, maybe I am. But you’ll see, as the show goes on, the layers come off; the vulnerability starts to show. You realize there’s a reason why she’s like this. That part, maybe more than any other part I’ve played, is really personal to me. That’s Mike White. He’s a good friend of mine, and he really tapped into something unconsciously about me.

There’s a theme [in my career] of being misunderstood and playing characters that feel like the odd woman out. I’m drawn to those characters on a really basic level. I grew up in Delaware. I didn’t grow up in Hollywood. I didn’t have a direct line to the industry. I was like everybody else who grows up and watches movies and has dreams and fantasies about being an actor. I still can’t believe that I’m actually doing that.”

Getting cast in “Megalopolis” was a pivotal moment for Plaza.
“For a really long time, I’ve been manifesting [the idea that I want] to work with a brilliant director. Who [could] be more brilliant than Francis Ford Coppola, one of the greatest living directors? It’s really hard to get parts in movies where you’re working with directors that have made a lot of films. I don’t regret anything I’ve done. I love working with first-time directors; I’ll never stop doing that, because I love it so much. But there’s been a part of me for a while that’s like, I really want to work with a really seasoned director. I would say Francis Ford Coppola—that guy is seasoned.

I auditioned for him with no expectations to get the part. I was really just like, Man, I just want to meet the guy. Even if I have a five-minute Zoom, that would be enough for me. I love his passion. I feel lucky and completely humbled to be a part of ‘Megalopolis.’ We start shooting this week, so TBD what’s going to go down; but so far, the rehearsal process and the process I’ve been through is blowing my mind. It’s such a reminder that movies can be magical. This guy is really not operating in the Hollywood system at all, and he’s making a giant movie. It’s just so fucking amazing to be around someone that has a passion for movies like me and feels the same way—that the process of making the movie is just as important as the end result.”

She jumped at the chance to work with Kathryn Hahn again on “Agatha: Coven of Chaos.
“ ‘Agatha: Coven of Chaos’—I haven’t talked about it yet. It’s a fun character. I’ll just say, speaking of manifestations…it’s all coming together for me with this part. Kathryn Hahn, she’s a friend of mine; I’ve known her for years. We shared a couple moments onscreen in ‘Parks and Recreation’ 10 years ago, but I’ve never gotten to work with her, really. She’s one of the most incredible actresses that’s working today. She’s a friend of mine. She speaks my language. To be able to get onscreen with her and go toe-to-toe with her is what’s driving me. I think it’s cool that it’s Marvel and all that, but I’m really just interested to work with Kathryn Hahn.

Source: Backstage


Aubrey Plaza says Haley Lu Richardson ‘stalked me for years’ before The White Lotus season 2

November 5, 2022   Comments Off on Aubrey Plaza says Haley Lu Richardson ‘stalked me for years’ before The White Lotus season 2   Interviews

There’s no such thing as five feet apart for Aubrey Plaza and Haley Lu Richardson.

In a recent conversation for Interview, Plaza humorously revealed that her White Lotus season 2 castmate “stalked me for years” before they ended up working together on the hit HBO series. In fact, after the two first met at the MTV Movie & TV Awards, Richardson decided to crash the premiere of Plaza’s 2019 film Child’s Play just to see her again.

“I showed up to the Chucky premiere uninvited,” Richardson recalled. “I made friends with all of Aubrey’s friends at the premiere so that I could get closer to her life.”

And in a turn of events that feels ripped straight out of Plaza’s 2017 film Ingrid Goes West, Richardson soon found herself infiltrating her future costar’s inner circle. “Then Aubrey’s friend invited me to Aubrey’s birthday without asking Aubrey,” she said. “So I showed up and I remember we locked eyes at the bar and you just went, ‘You.'”

Plaza felt the energy shift. “It didn’t matter how many mushrooms I had taken that night. I knew that my stalker had arrived,” she joked. “But there was something deep down inside all along that was like, ‘Even though she’s stalking me, and maybe eventually she’ll cut me up into a million pieces and eat me, I like her. In fact, I love her.'”

She continued, “And so when I heard that you were cast on The White Lotus, I was like, ‘This is some f—ing witchy karmic s—.'”

Richardson added that while it was “really f—ed up” that the two have “absolutely zero scenes together” on the show, they were at least able to hang out off screen.

“So sad,” Plaza agreed. “But actually I think we have things in store for us.”

Their friendship has continued over text as well. “I’m pretty sure the first thing you ever texted me was the bloody knife [emoji],” Richardson said. “You didn’t say your name, didn’t say who it was. That first message was very cryptic. But I immediately knew it was you.”

To which Plaza replied, “Oh yeah. That’s classic me.”

All in all, Richardson’s dedication paid off. “I think I’m the best stalker in the world,” she quipped. “I didn’t get arrested. You never had to get a restraining order. Somehow my stalking was so beautiful and subtle and well thought-out that I’m now your friend. And I’m very thankful for it because I obviously deeply admire you and think you’re cool and very strange. Also, I will always be there for you.”

“Yeah, lurking in the shadows,” Plaza joked.

“I will be,” Richardson responded, “whether you like it or not.”

Source: Entertainment Weekly


“Emily the Criminal” Interview with HeyUGuys

October 28, 2022   Comments Off on “Emily the Criminal” Interview with HeyUGuys   Interviews, Videos

Aubrey Plaza & John Patton Ford are interviewed for Emily the Criminal. Directed by John Patton Ford the film stars Aubrey Plaza, Theo Rossi, Jonathan Avigdori, Kim Yarbrough. Stefan Pape asks the questions.


“Emily the Criminal” Interview with The Upcoming

October 28, 2022   Comments Off on “Emily the Criminal” Interview with The Upcoming   Interviews, Videos

Aubrey Plaza and director John Patton Ford on Emily the Criminal, how the film has the sensibility of a tense thriller but is grounded in real social issues of financial deprivation and the stigmatisation of ex-criminals and the highlights and challenges of the shoot alongside Theo Rossi.


Aubrey Plaza is throwing herself at John Waters’ feet

October 28, 2022   Comments Off on Aubrey Plaza is throwing herself at John Waters’ feet   Interviews

“You know Emily’s capable of doing something fucked up,” Aubrey Plaza declares with a mischievous smile. “She’s gone through some shit. But you don’t know what her past is.” Plaza, 38, is enthusing – albeit in her trademark deadpan voice – about Emily the Criminal, a nail-biting thriller that’s a massive departure from her comic roots. Although Plaza gained fame for playing funny people in Parks & Recreation and, well, Funny People, she’s since reinvented herself as one of the sharpest dramatic performers working today. Last year, there were the hallucinatory gear shifts and eye-popping freakouts of Black Bear; now, Aubrey the actor is Emily the criminal.

Written and directed by John Patton Ford, Emily the Criminal stars Plaza as a temp worker with $70,000 of student debt and a felony limiting her career options. Emily’s solution is to be a “dummy shopper”: Youcef (Theo Rossi) gives Emily a fake credit card, she purchases a store item on his behalf, and then she receives cash in hand. When a grift inevitably goes wrong, Emily resorts to violence. “The role was a physical challenge,” Plaza explains. “I worked with a dialect coach. It was a big deal because I’ve never worked like that before.” Emily is, in fact, from Jersey. “I watched a bunch of De Niro movies, did an impression of him, but said the lines in the movie.”

My interview with Plaza is during the London Film Festival, in Soho, less than an hour before her sold-out, career-spanning talk at a nearby cinema. In terms of arthouse features, Plaza’s playfulness slots in seamlessly with the esoteric humour of Whit Stillman and Hal Hartley; elsewhere, she can achieve big laughs, whether it’s in Dirty Grandpa, Scott Pilgrim, or 125 episodes as April Ludgate in Parks & Recreation. Often there’s a pathos behind the droll delivery, especially as Plaza’s characters maintain the demeanour of someone you know in real life – if not you, yourself.

At 20, Plaza suffered an anxiety-related stroke. How much is Emily driven by financial necessity, versus personal issues? “It’s not just that she needs money,” Plaza says, “but she’s drawn to questionable situations. She’s fighting a lot of demons.” What was her way into the character? “The idea of feeling out of place, misunderstood, frustrated, grinding it out, and being treated a certain way. I understood that part of it. Obviously not to the extremes that Emily is experiencing. I haven’t committed credit card fraud.” A comic pause. “Yet.”


Aubrey Plaza Interview with The Guardian

October 14, 2022   Comments Off on Aubrey Plaza Interview with The Guardian   Interviews

The night before Aubrey Plaza and I met up, she went to the premiere of her latest film, Emily the Criminal, at the London film festival, and was surprised to see an old friend in the audience. It was Aziz Ansari, her co-star on the sitcom Parks and Recreation. “I hadn’t seen him in a really long time, and he lives here now and it was honestly like seeing a family member,” she says, her signature dry monotone belying the warm smile on her face.

What did they talk about?

“I was saying how sometimes I imagine, like, what if my career was happening to April Ludgate, would that be funny?” she says, referring to her supremely cynical-verging-on-nihilistic character on the show. And it is funny, thinking of April, who couldn’t be bothered to answer a phone, now producing and starring in acclaimed indie films like Ingrid Goes West and Emily the Criminal, as Plaza is. Thinking about any of the small-town characters from that star-making show – Tom, Ben, Ron – making it as big as the actors who played them have since (respectively, Ansari, Adam Scott, Nick Offerman) is surreal.

But of all the show’s cast members, it’s Chris Pratt, who played dopey Andy Dwyer, who has had the most unexpected career trajectory, going from doughy unknown to chiselled action star.

“I was joking about this with Aziz. Like, imagine if Chris’s career was happening to Andy. That makes sense now, right? And of course – of course – Andy would end up marrying a Schwarzenegger,” she says, referring to Pratt’s real-life wife, Katherine Schwarzenegger (yes, as in, daughter of).

Today, Plaza is in a London hotel suite, dressed in a camel-coloured short skirt suit with a tan jumper and brown boots. She has just finished filming the wildly awaited second series of The White Lotus, and there is also an upcoming, and slightly improbable, Guy Ritchie film, Operation Fortune, in which she stars alongside Jason Statham and Hugh Grant. And yet, despite all the colour coordination and professional polish, it takes a few moments to not see April Ludgate, the world’s most sarcastic intern, who asked where she got her haircut replied: “Prison.”

This is a common mistake people make with Plaza and she knows she hasn’t helped matters. There are multiple YouTube compilations of her April-like appearances on US talkshows with titles such as “Aubrey Plaza is really WEIRD and AWKWARD. I love it!” Whereas most celebrity appearances on those shows are full of carefully scripted cheese and schmooze, Plaza’s are more in the vein of Andy Kaufman, the late comedian who preferred uncomfortable silences over easy laughs. “I don’t know many people from Delaware,” David Letterman once said to her, after asking where she is from. “Thank you,” Plaza replied with half-held breath, as if taken aback by his comment (Letterman paused and then laughed in surprise). “What’s your red carpet strategy this year?” Conan O’Brien asked her. “I’m just gonna get as drunk as I can and deny, deny, deny,” she replied.

“Each time I think, ‘Just surrender to the process, go with it.’ But I always go off script because I’m desperately trying to have a real moment there and even if it’s uncomfortable, I prefer that to doing something fake. Because that’s what makes me uncomfortable. So I end up doing a character,” she says.

So she’s not naturally like that, gleefully confounding people’s expectations?

“No, I’m a total people pleaser, and it’s something that I’m dealing with in therapy. I think that might come as a surprise to people because they project on to me this disaffected persona. But I totally care what people think, and I wish that I didn’t. I wish I was more like Emily, in fact, and it was really good for me to play that character because it reminded me that I can assert myself, and I can set boundaries and stuff, because I’m really not good at that,” she says.


Pop Culture of My Life: Aubrey Plaza on The White Lotus season 2, her new book, and her favorite pop culture witches

October 13, 2022   Comments Off on Pop Culture of My Life: Aubrey Plaza on The White Lotus season 2, her new book, and her favorite pop culture witches   Interviews

Aubrey Plaza loves a good witch.

Her faves? Everyone from Angelica Huston’s terrifying turn as the Grand High Witch in The Witches to the most classic screen sorceress of all, Margaret Hamilton’s Wicked Witch of the West from the The Wizard of Oz. But she has a more recent witchy pick. “I’m a really big Hocus Pocus fan so I’m really pumped for the Hocus Pocus sequel,” says Plaza, 38. “Bette Midler as a witch? It’s hard to get better than that.”

Plaza’s affinity for spell-casters crossed over to the page with 2021’s bestselling picture book, The Legend of the Christmas Witch, written with her best friend and creative partner, Dan Murphy. It told the origin tale of Kristtörn and her twin brother Kristoffer, who get separated as children and wind up on very different paths, with Kristoffer eventually becoming Santa Claus and Kristtörn becoming the Christmas Witch. The book ended on a cliffhanger of sorts as Kristtörn fell beneath the ice of the South Pole and lapsed into a deep slumber.

Centuries have passed by the time Kristtörn wakes up in the sequel,The Return of the Christmas Witch (out October 11) but she’s found that her beloved Yuletide has been corrupted by the ghastly Kringle Corporation. Set partially in Plaza and Murphy’s home state of Delaware, Kristtörn eventually reunites with her long-lost brother, who explains how one of his elves betrayed him and sucked all the meaning out of Christmas. The siblings —spoiler alert! — save the holiday, but dangers lie ahead in what Plaza hopes will be the upcoming third book in the series.

Though Return is a sequel, Plaza and Murphy actually had come up with the tale before realizing they needed to write an origin story of Kristtorn and her more famous brother. “We needed to tell the story of how these characters came to be before we launch into what they’re up to in modern times,” says Plaza, who says she and Murphy “very inspired by older Nordic tales, Scandinavian folklore, all the troll stories from Norwegian folk tales and children’s literature.”

Below, the star takes EW’s Pop Culture of My Life quiz and reveals her affinity for Nora Ephron classics, who would attend her dream dinner party, and why co-starring with Michael Imperioli finally got her to binge watch The Sopranos.


Aubrey Plaza on ‘Weirding Out’ Robert De Niro in ‘Dirty Grandpa’

October 11, 2022   Comments Off on Aubrey Plaza on ‘Weirding Out’ Robert De Niro in ‘Dirty Grandpa’   Interviews

Aubrey Plaza has opened up about “weirding out” Robert De Niro when the pair worked together in 2016’s “Dirty Grandpa.”

The actor and producer addressed years of swirling rumors about “being weird” and spoke about her commitment to her films at every stage of the process during a London Film Festival ScreenTalk session hosted by Leigh Singer, ahead of the release of Plaza’s new film “Emily The Criminal”.

Reflecting on her working relationship with the “Raging Bull” actor (the two actors played lovers in Dan Mazer’s gross-out comedy), Plaza clarified that any way De Niro could have been offended by her behavior would have been due to her staying committed to her character.

“I didn’t really have a relationship with him off camera because he’s him,” Plaza said when asked about how well she and De Niro knew each other. “I didn’t have time to get to know him, he shows up in a puff of smoke and there’s no chatting at the water cooler.”

The actor explained how focused she remains when playing character — in that film, as the provocative Lenore — and that any experience De Niro had with her was when she was Lenore. “By the time he’d show up, I’m in character. My character had one goal: To have sex with him. I was acting totally insane as the character because we were about to shoot. I don’t think he understood that wasn’t me. You’d think he would because he’s an actor and an amazing one.”

Plaza said one of her agents “heard Bob’s a little freaked out,” and that later in the shoot De Niro hosted a lunch for the cast and crew and didn’t know who Plaza was as she was no longer in character. “I showed up and he’s like, ‘Who are you sweetheart?’ and after that he was normal. At first I think I came on really strong. I did some questionable things I wouldn’t do anymore.”

The actor went on to discuss her perceived behavior on set and in the media, saying that talk shows “short circuit my brain,” and promising the audience that “having an uncomfortable time is not on purpose.” Plaza, whose background in improv comedy led to her breakout role as April on the beloved sitcom “Parks And Recreation,” said the talk show format is “the opposite of improv” and explained her struggle.

“The worst thing you can do at improv is plan a joke,” she explained. “So talk shows short circuit my brain. Planning a story or a joke feels so wrong to me.” Stressing that her attitude is genuine, she added: “Every time I tell myself just be normal this time. Do it and get out. I see Tom Hanks doing it and I’m like, ‘He’s smiling, he’s doing great.’ I’d rather have an uncomfortable time because it feels more real, but it’s not on purpose. I wouldn’t want to make someone feel uncomfortable. It’s my defence mechanism put on display. I try to do it right every time and fuck it up every time.”

Discussing her love of cinema, Plaza explained that her move into producing came from the desire for “my ideas to matter” when it comes to the influence she had over her characters as an actor. While her first producing credit was on 2017’s “The Little Hours,” she calls social media satire “Ingrid Goes West,” released the same year, her “king of comedy” and breakthrough as a producer.

“I want my opinion to matter contractually — and the fun of it is having control over the parts I get to play. I have really great ideas. It’s nice to get to change the final product and have an effect on it, and I’m just not the kind of person who waits around for the perfect thing to fall into my lap.”

After receiving its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, “Emily The Criminal” was released in the U.S. on Aug. 12 via Vertical Entertainment and Roadside Attractions. The film is screening as part of the BFI London Film Festival’s “Thrill” Strand, before being released nationwide in cinemas later this year. Among her next projects are a role in ensemble satire series “The White Lotus” as well as a part in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Megalopolis,” which is yet to begin filming.

Source: Variety


‘It Was Pretty Devastating And Hard’: Aubrey Plaza Opens Up About Her Very Personal Role In “The White Lotus” Season 2

September 30, 2022   Comments Off on ‘It Was Pretty Devastating And Hard’: Aubrey Plaza Opens Up About Her Very Personal Role In “The White Lotus” Season 2   Interviews, TV Shows

When it was announced that The White Lotus universe would be introducing Aubrey Plaza, fans were naturally excited at the prospect of Plaza’s sarcastic character having a face-off with Jennifer Coolidge‘s Emmy-winning character Tanya.

In reality, Plaza says that the character was written for her with her in mind, in only a way that her close friend Mike White could be able to, and that made it her hardest role yet. “Without going into personal details, Mike knows me very, very well, on a way more intimate level than most people know me, and a lot of what he wrote was informed by just knowing me on that intimate level,” Plaza told EW.

The former Parks and Rec actress said that playing the role was intense due to the similarities between her and her character, Harper. “It was really intense for me, reading it and shooting it. I relate to this character more than any character I’ve ever played. It’s really, really close to home. It felt very naked. It was pretty devastating and hard.”

“Mike’s writing is just so subtle but there’s such a deep truth to it that just crushes me,” Plaza added, explaining that it was hard for her to get out of her character’s mindset when she wasn’t working. “I wanted so badly to do a good job, and Harper’s journey, there’s a lot of moments in this season that felt very nightmare-ish to me. It just felt real, and shaking that off was a big obstacle for me. I don’t regret it because I wanted to give Mike everything, no matter what happened. But I’ll be terrified and horrified to see it.”

Still, the second season of the hit series will not follow the same plot devices as the acclaimed first season, which should keep viewers on their toes. “It’s more juicy, it feels like the stakes are higher and there’s more intense drama and plot twists than the first season,” Plaza explained. “Italy has this kind of machismo culture that we’re thrust into and when you have a bunch of Americans going to Europe, there’s always that discourse with the puritanical American style versus the Italians who just seem to be much more open and sexual, to be blunt.” We all know how hard it can be when a bunch of Americans go to Italy.

Season two of The White Lotus premieres October 30th on HBO.

Source: Uproxx


Aubrey Plaza visits UR, speaks on pranks, acting, and Biden

September 14, 2022   Comments Off on Aubrey Plaza visits UR, speaks on pranks, acting, and Biden   Interviews

At 7 a.m. last Friday Morning, Aubrey Plaza was in a leech-filled Canadian lake. 13 hours later, she was onstage at Strong Auditorium in front of hundreds of eager Rochestarians, an improvement according to Plaza.

The actress—known for her performances in widely-liked television shows and movies such as Parks and Recreation, Safety Not Guaranteed, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World—was the headline event of this year’s Yellowjacket Weekend.

The moderated conversation lasted an hour, with Plaza sharing fun moments from her time filming various shows and movies, her college experience, her multiple Joe Biden encounters, what acting means to her, and some pranks—including the toilet goblin.

“You suction cup the goblin’s hands to the bottom lid of the toilet and then you close it so that when someone opens it, it pops out,” Plaza told the audience to laughter. “I did it to Adam Scott.”

The hour-long talk was moderated by junior and Students’ Association Vice President Sybilla Moore and senior and Student Programming Board President Jenny Jordahl. The moderators asked many questions and pressed Plaza on her alleged thievery.

“I usually try to take at least like one or two props from everything that I have done,” Plaza said before chronicling some of her spoils, which include Burt Macklin’s aviators, various costumes, and a lifesize Joe Biden cut out. “I could fucking make money off of this stuff if things don’t work out for me.”

If acting didn’t work out, Plaza envisioned herself as a little league softball coach or credit card skimmer, but acting did end up panning out and offered her fulfillment.

“There is something about acting that’s like an escape or something,” Plaza said, “I’m happiest when the camera is rolling and I’m [acting] and it just feels like everything in my life is just trying to get to that moment, and it doesn’t last very long but to me that’s what I like about it. There’s something exhilarating about only having a couple chances of doing the takes.”

When discussing her favorite moments on set during the filming of Parks and Recreation, the scenes that involved a large portion of the cast stood out.

“I definitely think April and Andy’s wedding was like one of my favorite days on set because at that point, we had all gotten so close that it actually felt real in a weird way,” Plaza told the audience. “Amy was actually crying and I had to be like, ‘I’m not actually getting married’ and she was like, ‘I know but, it’s just like you are.’”