Aubrey Plaza’s lips are firmly sealed about her MTV Movie Awards “Kanye” moment four days ago, which could be seen as evidence that it was a stunt to promote her new movie.
“What do you think?” Plaza replied Wednesday night at a “To Do List” screening.
The actress ran onstage Sunday as Will Ferrell began his acceptance speech for the Comedic Genius award. While holding a drink in one hand, she grabbed his golden popcorn bucket trophy with the other in a not-so-convincing struggle to get it.
MTV quickly promoted the “incident,” while officially denying it was staged and insisting that Plaza was expelled from the audience. The network’s website posted a story headlined “Did Kanye West Inspire Aubrey Plaza’s Movie Awards Stage-Crash?”
West’s interruption of Taylor Swift’s speech at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards — in which he made it clear he thought Beyonce deserved the honor more — was soon followed by an apology tour.
He told Jay Leno that his actions were rude and he was “ashamed that my hurt caused someone else’s hurt.” He announced that he would “take some time off” to think about how to “make it through the rest of this life.” In fact, his planned three-month tour with Lady Gaga was cut short.
But Plaza is offering no apology, confession or explanation.
Her only public comment was a tweet posted Monday: “thanks for the advice @kanyewest went better than planned!”
Was the struggle staged, but not with everyone looped in, so that MTV could deny it was a stunt without lying? Plaza was given the front-row center seat closest to Ferrell, whom she said she’s “known for a long time.” The camera did zoom in on her after she sat back down, giving viewers a clear shot of “#TheToDoList” scribbled across her chest.
“That’s an interesting theory,” Plaza said. “I like that one.”
Did she do it because the best way to get a Hollywood entertainment reporter to write about her is with bad behavior?
“Is that true?” she said. As if she didn’t know.
Can she reveal anything people don’t know? “I can play the saxophone,” she said. “That’s something surprising that people don’t know about me.”
It would “be a dream come true” to play sax at the MTV Awards, she said.
Why wait to be invited? You could jump up on stage.
Aubrey Plaza may deadpan her way through her TV life on “Parks and Recreation,” but in her new flick “The To Do List,” she’s a little more adventurous.
In the August movie, Plaza plays a high school student wanting to check some sexual life experiences off her bucket list before graduating and hitting the college dating scene. Somewhere along the way, she spends some of the film, well, loving herself, and she had to go into a bit of a fantasy world in order to shoot the self-love scene in front of the movie’s crew.
“I’d say it’s an OK day. It’s a medium day. It was OK. When I’m doing things like that, I kind of go into a magical forest in my mind, so it’s almost like no one’s there anyway,” she told MTV News during the third night of Sneak Peek Week at Universal City, California, a string of exclusive interviews and film previews leading up to Sunday’s MTV Movie Awards. “Those days are the best days ever, so I’m crazy.”
While there are some NSFW shenanigans that take place in the film, Plaza said there’s a lot of heart as well. And that has a lot to do with the female friendships that really shape the story.
“I have two sisters. I feel like sisters before misters. That’s real and it’s true,” she said. “When you’re in high school, and I know this from my own experience, there’s a lot of times when you get caught up with your boy-crazy stuff, and I think part of the movie’s message is your friends, your female relationships, are the most important thing, ’cause, really, we’re gonna outlive them all. Women must stick together and we must not let the men interfere. I just think female relationships are very important.”
Her male co-star, Scott Porter, also signed on to the film because of his real-life friendship with Plaza and the movie’s heartfelt message. “You don’t do a film like this unless it has heart … or a great cast. This movie had both of them. So it’s like two home runs at once.”
While “The To Do List” has a whole year to learn if it’s Golden Popcorn-worthy, fans can see which celebs go home with the coveted MTV Movie Awards this Sunday when the show goes live. Rebel Wilson is set to host the 2013 show, live from the Sony Pictures Studios lot in Culver City, California.
You think Hollywood starlets don’t eat? Try telling that to Aubrey Plaza–the sofrito-cooking, almond butter-loving, candy-hoarding star of Parks and Recreation
You’re half Puerto Rican. Did you grow up cooking traditional food?
Aubrey Plaza: It’d be a lie to say I “grew up cooking.” But I was around a lot of food. My grandmother has been trying to teach me the basics–sofrito and rice and beans.
So what’s the secret to tasty rice and beans?
AP: Old-school, Goya Sazón-style seasoning. The kind you get in the back part of a shady
Mexican grocery store.
Are you confident in the kitchen?
AP: I turn into a crazy person. I have a glass of wine to get into a good state of mind. It ends up being an explosion. By the end, I’m covered in flour and ketchup.
Listening to music sometimes helps.
AP: Yeah, I put on some Tibetan chanting, just to kind of center myself.
What about at work–what’s on your dream craft-services table?
AP: A boatload of apples and almond butter and yogurt. Or else, like, ten pumpkin heads full of Halloween candy. Rashida [Jones, her co-star on Parks and Rec] and I are always slapping candy out of each other’s hands.
What kind of candy?
AP: Chocolate bars. Nerds…
Nerds? Really? Are you five years old?
AP: Yeah. We’re five-year-olds. We eat Nerds all day long. And Cap’n Crunch and Cinnamon
Toast Crunch and Cocoa Puffs. Terrible.
You grew up in Delaware and moved to New York for college. What food did you discover in NYC?
AP: Katz’s Deli was a big thing for me. I grew up in a suburban Irish Catholic community. There wasn’t a lot of pastrami. Or latkes. Or matzo balls. I mostly ate SpaghettiOs with chopped-up hot dogs in it.
And now you’re a big-shot actress. You’re in a new movie that co-stars Bill Murray, A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III. Did you guys share any meals together?
AP: Yes, one dinner. It was one of the most special meals I’ve ever had.
What’d you eat?
AP: It was Greek–some kind of fried cheese thing. I don’t really do dairy, and he said, “You’re gonna eat this. And you’re gonna eat it right now.” I was like, “Anything you say.” Because anything Bill Murray says, I will do. He’s the king.
Right. How did it taste?
AP: It was amazing. I threw up later. But it was totally worth it.
As the delightfully sour April Ludgate on Parks and Recreation, Aubrey Plaza spins sarcasm into sitcom gold every week. Plaza landed that role, as well as a part in the Judd Apatow movie Funny People, within a matter of months, and she’s been making people smile ever since. April would hate her. Our March Allure’s Face told me about obsessing over boys at school and why she should be on Downton Abbey.
Was Catholic girls’ school a fertile ground for comedy? “Definitely. When you go to a girls school, you become obsessed with boys because they’re not there. There was only one class in school where boys could take AP English in the morning and everybody wanted to go. Sadly, I never got in, but we would walk by and look at the boys through the windows like they were exotic creatures.”
Are you a list maker? “I’m a list maker, but not a list finisher. I have a lot of lists lying around. Get a new license. Finish every script that’s been sent. Get my nails done. Stuff like that. I’m not a southern girl. Southern girls have their shit together. Reese Witherspoon probably gets her nails done every week. They know to multitask. It’s in their blood.”
What’s your earliest onstage memory? “One of first plays I was in was the chorus of Hansel and Gretel. They put my hair in braids with so much hairspray it got stuck to the witches’ cottage roof, which was made of foam. I kept right on dancing with pieces of that cottage roof on my head. I thought it was so much fun. That was when I realized that I could just go with it and make people laugh.”
If you weren’t on Parks and Rec is there another show you’d absolutely kill to be on? “If I had a time machine, I would love to be on Arrested Development. Today, I would also be on Game of Thrones. I would also love to be on Downton Abbey. They could benefit from having guest stars such as myself. I could ride horses and drink tea. And I’ll do the accent if they want me to.”
On “It’s That Episode” Craig Rowin (UCB Theatre) invites guests over to watch any episode of any TV show they want. They discuss the episode and other crap.
Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation) introduces Craig to the most insane cooking show ever, Sweet Genius. Aubrey talks about her obsession with reality TV and the time she auditioned for a reality show about female comedians. Also, Aubrey and Craig discuss depressing movies.
Filed Under: Interviews • Posted on December 14th, 2012 by admin • Comments Off
When Aubrey Plaza opens the door of her new house in the foothills of Los Angeles’ trendy Los Feliz neighbourhood one rainy late afternoon in November, she is dressed for a cosy night in: leggings, over-sized sweatshirt, slippers.
With her Betty Boop pout and deadpan delivery, the Delaware-born daughter of Puerto Rican and Irish parents has been a hipster crush since she exploded on to the US comedy scene in 2009 with roles as a stand-up comedian in Judd Apatow’s Funny People and as a surly city government employee in the NBC mockumentary sitcom Parks And Recreation (coming to BBC4 next year). But Plaza has never played a mere girlfriend or stock ingénue role, and admits she’s less than comfortable with the idea of selling herself on her looks – for example, by posing for the photos accompanying this article.
“It’s weird, because that’s a job that some people have – they’re called models,” Plaza says as she curls up in a wooden chair at a kitchen table dominated by a deluxe Scrabble board while her big, friendly dog, Stevie, nuzzles her legs. “It’s a skill that not everybody has. There’s no photo-shoot academy. If there was, I’d probably be kicked out.” As she gets up to put on the kettle for tea, she acknowledges that posing prettily is an unavoidable part of her chosen job. “I try to make it fun,” she says. How? “Drugs and alcohol,” she says without missing a beat.
In Parks And Recreation, Plaza’s character, April, is described by curmudgeonly boss Ron Swanson as “both aggressively mean and apathetic”. He pauses and beams. “She really is the whole package.” The character’s admiration reflects the real-world response to Plaza: she’s a certain kind of guy’s dream girl, authentically world-weary in an industry whose idea of a young female misfit is Zooey Deschanel.
Plaza’s character in Funny People was partially based on Janeane Garofalo (who worked with writer/director Apatow in the early 1990s on The Ben Stiller Show), and the younger actor/comedian has continued to draw comparisons to the Reality Bites star throughout her brief career. But Plaza represents several evolutions down the line of women who use their smart mouths to critique an industry that treats pretty girls as a usable resource. Part of her appeal is the way she wraps up her star power in a blanket of knowingness so dry that it almost makes you forget about the way she looks.
Her parents were 20 when she was born – “I was, like, a big accident,” she says. “We started out with nothing, but my parents worked really, really hard, and we kind of moved up. My mom is a lawyer now, and my dad’s a financial advisor.” She is the eldest of three sisters.
At a young age, her mum introduced her to Saturday Night Live. “I became really obsessed with comedy and improv,” she says. “I wanted to be on that show for as long as I could remember.” Plaza was not an idle dreamer: as soon as she identified SNL as her perfect job, she set to work investigating how to land it. “Just by looking at people’s biographies online, I saw that a lot of them did sketch comedy. And I decided that’s what I was going to do.” In high school, she enrolled at an improv school in Philadelphia, the closest major city to Wilmington.
After school, she moved to New York to study film at NYU and take improv classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade. Soon she was performing with the likes of Rob Riggle (The Daily Show), John Mulaney (later SNL’s head writer), and her current Parks co-star, Aziz Ansari. She interned at Saturday Night Live in 2005, and then co-starred in a web series, The Jeannie Tate Show, produced by Maggie Carey, wife of SNL star Bill Hader. In 2008, she finally landed an audition for SNL – and didn’t make the cut.
“Then I was offered the part in Funny People.” Plaza moved from New York to Los Angeles to shoot the Apatow film, assuming that she’d return to New York when the job ended and resume her place on the East Coast comedy scene. “And I never left here. I was cast on Parks And Rec and Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, and it was all happening back to back. So I was thinking, ‘After this, I’ll go back.’ And then Parks just kept going. Which is a good thing, but it was kind of abrupt.”
This sudden rush of success is all the more remarkable considering that in July 2005, when Plaza was 21, she suffered a stroke. She returned home to Delaware, where she underwent speech therapy, and battled anxiety attacks. At the end of the summer, her parents tried to convince her to take some time off, to focus on her health, but Plaza was determined to get on with her life. “It was one of the scariest things that’s happened, but it never felt as if it was keeping me from doing anything. “If anything, it made me more aggressive about getting things that I want. Maybe subconsciously I was feeling it was… not a near-death experience, but it put things in perspective.”
Plaza wouldn’t have been able to accomplish so much so quickly if not for unusual tenacity and ambition. Her agent, she says, saw her in The Jeannie Tate Show, “agreed to meet me for coffee, and I just harassed her. I sent her everything and eventually she started sending me on auditions.
“I think people just associate me with my characters,” Plaza says. “But in high school I wasn’t like that at all. I was president of everything I could be president of. I wasn’t, like, the weird one making comments at the back of the class. I was at the front of the class. I was annoying.”
Aubrey Plaza is featured in the January 2013 issue of “Vanity Fair” magazine, which is being dubbed “The Comedy Issue”. You can now watch an on set interview with Aubrey from the magazine’s photo shoot!
The Hollywood Reporter launches its new video series with a visit to the new set for NBC’s Parks and Recreation.
For the fifth season of the NBC comedy, several characters have moved on from the tiny town of Pawnee to the big city of Washington, D.C.
With Ben (Adam Scott) taking a job in Washington, and April (Aubrey Plaza) tagging along, Parks and Recreation needed a new set to feature the glitzy new office building.
THR tags along as Scott and Plaza walk our cameras through the new and old sets, which reside next to each other on the Los Angeles lot.
April now sits in large open room with several other ambitious young people, while Scott’s Ben has his own office where he runs his boss’ congressional campaign. As THR found, both characters have brought along some mementos from their Pawnee relationships.
Additionally, THR revisits the Pawnee set, unearthing some of the specific details that have been added to the set over the years. (Amy Poehler’s real graduation photo is kept on her character Leslie Knope’s desk.)
As for their character’s now long-distance relationships, Plaza says April and Andy (Chris Pratt) are “still very much in love and married,” but Scott says that when Leslie comes to visit, she feels a bit out of place.
“You would think [D.C.] would be Disneyland for [Leslie]. She comes here with a proposal for Pawnee, and she kind of feels very, very small when she comes. She’s in the middle of the machine of Washington, D.C., and sees April and I kind of thriving here and really being among the power players. It’s a really interesting contrast to being a big fish in a small pond in Pawnee,” Scott says.
The new setting will see Ben and April interacting with each other more than previous seasons. In terms of the characters’ dynamic working together in the upcoming season, Scott teases that “April pretty much makes Ben’s job much more difficult than it needs to be.”
Parks and Recreation’s airs Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. on NBC.
The cast of NBC’s comedy mockumentary “Parks and Recreation” visits Google LA to discuss and answer questions about their 2012 new season. Amy Poehler moderates a discussion with her fellow cast members: Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt and Adam Scott. This talk took place at Google LA on September 6, 2012.
Filed Under: Interviews • Posted on September 19th, 2012 by admin • Comments Off
She may play an eccentric but loveable teen in the NBC hit comedy “Parks and Recreation,” but Aubrey Plaza is a savvy comedian whose talent has made has made her one of Hollywood’s notable up and coming starlets. The 27-year-old– who calls Wilmington, Delaware home – has transformed what might have been a simple support acting role into a character that forms the backbone of the sitcom’s story line while juggling a career as an in-demand film actress with five movies coming out next year.
Plaza, who graduated from New York University in 2005, once dreamt of one day making an appearance on “Saturday Night Live” and while she didn’t quite end up on set as she hoped (she did serve as a page and as an intern in the design department, though!) the actress did get her big break when she impressed the writers and creators of “Parks.” But as everyone knows, good things come in three and that year, she also landed roles on director Judd Apatow’s film “Funny People” and the film adaptation of the graphic novel “Scott Pilgrims vs. the World.”
And now? As a nominee for the 201212 ALMA award for “Favorite TV Actress – Comedy,” the actress (whose father is Puerto Rican), Plaza represents a new wave of Latino actresses ruling the airwaves alongside fellow nominees Victoria Justice (“Victorious”), Naya Rivera (“Glee”), Sofia Vergara (“Modern Family”) and Bella Thorne (“Shake it Up!”) – all gorgeous, sassy actresses who’ve carved out a space for themselves as in-demand comedians and personality actresses.
“I decided I wasn’t going to have a backup plan, so I said yes to most everything and just did as much as I could,” Plaza told New York University’s alumni magazine of her journey to achieve her professional goals. “But there were definitely times when I was, like, sitting on the subway after an audition that went terribly and writing in my journal that I’m a failure and I have to go back to waiting tables again.”
Plaza’s signature deadpan humor is one that stands out among her peers and true to her reputation, no topic off-limits –not even her Puerto Rican heritage.
“I was always kind of using my differences to make people laugh. I don’t even look Puerto Rican, but there were only 40 people in my class, so it was kind of joke to be like, “I’m the only diverse person,” Plaza told NYU’s alumni magazine. “But I was the only diverse person.”
So although actress Naya Rivera may have taken home the gold for her role in “Glee,” one thing’s for sure about Plaza. Her attitude – refreshingly original and wickedly funny– definitely makes her a winner.