Parks and Recreation
Thursdays 9:30/8:30c • TV Series • April Ludgate
On Hiatus. Returning for season 6 in the fall of 2013.
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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.
Official Photos IMDb
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.
Official Photos IMDb
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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Reasons to love Aubrey Plaza
|“Safety Not Guaranteed” On DVD & Blu-ray In October|
|Filed Under: Movies, News • Posted on August 27th, 2012 by admin • Comments Off|
“Safety Not Guaranteed” will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on October 30th!
Check out a sneak peek at a DVD extra in which director Colin Trevorrow explains why he cast Aubrey Plaza and Jake Johnson in the film.
|Aubrey Plaza remembers her roots|
|Filed Under: Movies, News • Posted on July 3rd, 2012 by admin • Comments Off|
No one can accuse Aubrey Plaza of forgetting where she comes from. The Wilmington native, who stars in the NBC comedy “Parks and Recreation,” is Delaware through and through.
It was Plaza who name dropped her home state and Vice President Joe Biden in the 2009 Adam Sandler/Judd Apatow film “Funny People.”
Later that same year, she came back to Wilmington as the grand marshal of Wilmington Jaycees Christmas Parade.
And if you happen to stop in Dead Presidents Pub & Restaurant in Wilmington while she’s in town, you might even find her having a drink with friends. (Her uncle Brian Raughley owns the bar.)
This summer, Plaza will return to Delaware once again, hosting a red carpet Delaware premiere for “Safety Not Guaranteed,” a new indie film that she stars in and that has earned her (and the film) an avalanche of positive reviews.
On July 22, the film will be shown at The Grand with proceeds going to the Wilmington Drama League, where Plaza spent time as a teenager. She credits it with putting her on the right path as an actor.
The homecoming couldn’t come at a better time with Plaza poised as a breakthrough star.
Not only has “Parks and Recreation” been picked up for its fifth season – to the delight of its cult-like fanbase – and “Safety Not Guaranteed” getting plenty of buzz, she has a trio of upcoming films with co-stars you’ve probably heard of: “A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III” with Bill Murray and Charlie Sheen, “The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman” with Shia LaBeouf, and her biggest role to date, starring in “The To Do List” opposite former “Saturday Night Live” player Andy Samberg.
“It feels like this is a special time and maybe something is resonating. It’s hard for me to have perspective on myself and what I’m doing, but it does feel a little different,” says Plaza, 27. “When you are doing press for a movie, you do start to feel like you’re everywhere, but that can go away in a day.”
Tickets for the Wilmington screening cost $20 and a VIP package is also available for $125, which includes a meet-and-greet with Plaza. Once the film ends, Plaza will take part in a question and answer session with the audience. (Tickets are available now at The Grand’s box office. Call 652-5577 or visit www.ticketsatthegrand.org.)
|Aubrey Plaza on Rejection, Tina Fey, and Safety Not Guaranteed|
|Filed Under: Interviews • Posted on June 8th, 2012 by admin • Comments Off|
Aubrey Plaza—the actress synonymous with deadpan comedy—gets her biggest break yet (yes, arguably bigger than her break-out role on NBC’s Parks and Recreation); she gets to carry a feature film. “I’m just so thankful I got the opportunity to play a lead in a movie, because that’s like my dream, you know? When you’re on a TV show and you play this kind of character, people can’t get past it sometimes. So, to have people take a risk on me was really great.”
The film in question, Safety Not Guaranteed, which fictionalizes a back story to the infamous, ’90s classified ad—“WANTED: Someone to go back in time with me. This is not a joke… You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before”—in Seattle’s survivalist magazine, Backwoods Home, also offered plum roles for fellow actors Jake Johnson and Mark Duplass; but it’s Plaza who gets to show off her talents most.
“To speak candidly, when I got the script, I knew that Aubrey could pull of the first half of the movie—when it’s a little more of that deadpan, cynical girl,” Duplass said. “But I was so curious as to what was going to happen when she really had to blossom emotionally. And without knowing her, I was like, ‘I don’t know if she’ll pull this off.’”
“But I think that’s part of the key to this movie,” he continued. “As [Plaza’s character] Darius transforms in the film, you get to watch Plaza do something totally different.”
ELLE sat down with the newly-exposed chameleon actress—who pulls off romance, investigative reporting, and time travel in the film—to talk about her name, handling rejection, and why posing for Maxim won’t be her next move.
ELLE: You character, Darius, has a unique name; how do you feel about Aubrey?
Aubrey Plaza: I like my name. My mom named me after a song by the 1970s group Bread. So, it’s meaningful, and I like the song. It’s a love song—kind of—but it’s kind of depressing and dark. She was twenty years old when she had me, so it does kind of give me an idea of what she was like back then.
ELLE: What were your first thoughts when you got the script?
AP: I loved the script. None of the characters fit into a box. For my character, in her life, there’s nothing kind of interesting happening for her, and then all of the sudden she gets to play out this other role and that’s what brought her out of her shell—so maybe it’s a weird metaphor for myself.
ELLE: Darius gets labeled “not a quality hire.” Has that ever happened to you?
AP: With real life jobs—waitressing jobs, temp jobs, things like that—I usually hear that after I get hired and then I get fired. But I’m pretty good at getting jobs. I’m pretty good at weaseling my way into a job, even if I have no business being there. But I feel like I’ve actually heard that more in the acting world—not getting parts that I really want or being rejected as an actor over and over again.
ELLE: Is there ever any feedback with the rejection?
AP: Before—when I was really struggling and trying to have a big break—there’s so much rejection. I’m kind of a very specific—I don’t fit into a thing. It’s almost like I had to create my own thing, because I can’t compete with certain people. And it’s so personal. You get rejected for so many reasons—like physical reasons or whatever. But, I think it’s good to be rejected; builds character.
ELLE: Darius has a deadpan line, where she accuses Jake Johnson’s character of “dangling my vagina out there like bait.” How do you feel about being a sex symbol?
AP: I don’t have much to show, in that sense. Tina Fey is one of my heroes. She once did an interview, or something that I read, where she was like, “Never do Maxim, ever. I will never do it, and it’s not good for girls.” I don’t want to put words in her mouth and I forget what it was exactly, but that stuck in my head, because I’ve been asked to do Maxim before.
ELLE: How did they approach you about disrobing?
AP: They just ask you, and they say, ‘You’re not going to be naked; it’s going to be tasteful. We have these really interesting ideas.’ And you can get caught up in that. And think, maybe it will be good, because you do, as an actress, you do want people to be able to see you that way, because that’s just the reality; it’s helpful to be sexy because that’s what people want. So, it is kind of enticing. But then when you stand back from it, “No, I’m not going to do Maxim.” That’s so unnecessary… I mean maybe someday I’ll play a stripper, but I’ll have an interesting take on it.
ELLE: Has anyone ever sung to you, like Kenneth sings to Darius?
AP: When I was thirteen, the first guy I ever had be my boyfriend asked me out through a song he sang on stage in front of people. Cut to years later, and it’s Johnny Gallagher, Jr. who won a Tony for Spring Awakening. I still have an audio-cassette of the song he wrote for me, and it’s called, “When We Get Married.”
ELLE: What’s another thing most people don’t know about you?
AP: It’s really weird, because when you talk to my mom—people ask my mom, like, “What was she like when she was a kid?” I was really shy. I’m actually a shy person, but not, or something—I don’t know. I think that’s why I’m so awkward in interviews and on late night TV shows or whatever, because I don’t really love being myself in those situations. So, I tend to play a different character or make some weird performance out of it, because that’s more fun for me.
Safety Not Guaranteed hits theaters today.
|Filed Under: Interviews • Posted on June 8th, 2012 by admin • Comments Off|
Being able to relate to a character within a film can be important. That’s part of the reason I walked away from Safety Not Guaranteed with such genuine happiness, understanding this story of an outcast and the joy one can have of truly just being yourself. During SXSW I had the chance to sit down with the film’s two stars, Mark Duplass and Aubrey Plaza, and we discussed watching themselves on screen, the nerves of viewing it with an audience, finding chemistry, and typecasting.
The Film Stage: This film played at Sundance already and garnered a positive reaction. Did you come into South by Southwest with that expectation or were you still in the audience nervous about how everyone would receive the movie?
Aubrey Plaza (AP): I was nervous. I was less nervous after seeing it at Sundance because people seemed to like it but I was definitely nervous. I think it’s only natural to be nervous.
Mark Duplass (MD): As soon as the lights go down you get nervous, it’s just a visceral reaction. But I’ve brought probably five different movies from Sundance to South by Southwest and it’s pretty interesting; there’s a type of audience here, it’s a film lover audience and they want to like the movie. I was hopeful it was going to be as explosive as it was in the theaters based on some of the other movies I’ve brought to Austin.
You two have a certain amount of chemistry that naturally progresses throughout the film. Did you find that during table reads or does it actually take getting out on set interacting with that kind of environment to get that kind of chemistry going?
AP: That’s a good question. I think for me table reads really don’t help in that way at all.
MD: I essentially believe they’re worthless.
AP: We did do a read through of the script before shooting and we did find some things in there but it was because it was the first time that we met and we really interacted as the characters so that was helpful.
MD: It was like a first date kind of thing.
AP: The chemistry started there, and of course when we got on set and were playing with each other in the moment…
MD: I think at the table read we all walked away saying “there’s gonna be a romance in this movie” and it kind of snuck up on us a little bit that this was something we could play in the film.
Aubrey, you’ve had a career built on these certain characters that are kind of “shrug your shoulders, let everything slide.”Are you afraid of being typecast? Do you seek these sorts of roles out or do they come to you?
AP: I wouldn’t say I seek them out, they do come to me only because the first couple of things I did all happened to be similar. So once people saw Funny People and Scott Pilgrim and Parks and Recreation, I’m playing that character and people are used to it. When people are used to you playing that character, they offer you that role because that’s how they think of you. I’m not worried about it; it’s only frustrating to me when it prevents me from getting a job or something. But I like playing those types of characters and I think it is a part of myself so I don’t mind it. But it’s not all I can do and this movie is a step towards me breaking out of that only so I can do different roles and be fulfilled as an actor.
Is there a tendency to kind of coast because you are playing that kind of character on Parks and Recreation?
AP: Oh I always put full effort. I think it’s deceiving; I think when you see me play a character that doesn’t care about anything…if I didn’t put the work in and have stuff brewing underneath it would get old fast and it would be a joke. They respond to it because they know there’s something underneath it. That’s the work I put into it.
A lot of actors talk about how they don’t like watching themselves on film and a lot of those actors that make those comments typically are on the drama side of things, doing deep and heavy work. On the lighter side of things, is it easier to watch yourself in a comedy or is it also difficult?
MD: I don’t have a problem watching myself but I come from a filmmaker background as well so a lot of the movies I was in first I was also the filmmaker of so I’ve gotten used to being critical of myself from a filmmaking standpoint. And to me, to be perfectly honest, there’s really no distinction between the comedy and the drama in the stuff I’m making. They’re not one moment or the other; when you’re watching The Puffy Chair for instance; when it plays at the Paramount [central location of South by Southwest] it plays like Dumb and Dumber. And then when couples watch it at home they e-mail me crying, saying like “this is the hardest relationship movie I’ve ever watched.” So they’re not empirically funny or dramatic; they’re very relative to the screening and environment you’re in so there’s less of a divide between them.
AP: I hate watching myself.
[laughs] Just point blank?
AP: I’m super critical and paranoid and I hate it.
Do you ever wish you could have someone else play your role and you could just sit back and watch it?
MP: As long as you get the money.
AP: No! I don’t want anyone else playing my parts. But yes as long as I get the money. But yeah I like watching everyone’s else stuff; I have no perspective on anything I do. Sometimes. Well, with Parks and Recreation I’m able to sit back and enjoy it and laugh at it, more than I was in the beginning.
MD: And it only took you four years. [laughs]
Safety Not Guaranteed hits theaters Friday, June 8th.
|Interview: “Safety Not Guaranteed” Star Aubrey Plaza|
|Filed Under: Interviews • Posted on June 7th, 2012 by admin • Comments Off|
Aubrey Plaza has won us all over with her portrayal of sarcastic April Ludgate on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” but the stand-up comedienne turned actress is no stranger to the film world, having found a niche in films such as “Funny People” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.” Her latest role as a semi-cranky yet intelligent woman comes in “Safety Not Guaranteed,” a quirky indie about magazine journalists investigating one man’s claims that he can travel through time.
Plaza plays Darius, an intern disconnected in many ways from her emotions and the world around her, who finds a friend in Kenneth (Mark Duplass) as her boss (Jake Johnson) attempts to debunk Kenneth’s time-travel agenda. We recently sat down with the actress to discuss her role, time travel and her sources of inspiration.
You play a cynical character in the film. You tend to play that role in your other films as well — is that a niche? Do you feel compelled to seek out those roles?
I’m always playing some kind of version of myself, because I’ve only got myself to work with, so I’ve got to find stuff from deep within. Honestly, it wasn’t something that I was consciously seeking out. When I was training at Upright Citizens Brigade and working [as a stand-up comic], I never was known for that; I was never the sarcastic weird depressed girl. Things like that just happen because you get cast in one thing if you’re new and no one’s seen you before.
“Funny People” was really that for me. I was an unknown actor and Judd Apatow took a chance on me, and when people see you play that type of character, they just think that’s you and that’s your thing. Literally within weeks I was cast in “Scott Pilgrim” and on “Parks and Recreation,” and they do have a similar vibe. And that just happened, and it’s not something that I would change, it’s great. It’s fun and I like it, so it’s fine. The only thing I don’t like about it is if it prevented me from doing other things, and it has become a bit of a challenge, because people are stupid and afraid to take risks, and afraid to be the one to be like, “I’m going to be the one to cast you in this and hope you can pull it off.”
Do you work on your own material for writing or directing?
Yeah, for sure. I haven’t done anything yet, but I have a couple things I’m working on, features; there’s a couple things I want to write and be in, and then there’s a couple things I want to direct eventually. I did go to film school for directing. As long as you go to a place that has equipment and a film program, you’re doing fine.
Brit Marling (“Sound of My Voice”) told me that she didn’t see many roles she wanted to play, so she wrote her own.
I want to do that for sure, but I also feel like I’m definitely an actor-actor at heart, and I love reading scripts that I didn’t write and looking at character that was not written for me. It’s challenging because it’s hard to jump into a different vision for something and make it your own.
It seems like there’s a lot of time-travel movies coming out. Why is that so popular right now?
I don’t know if it is popular. I think things like that just happen. Our movie was written a long time ago, and we tried to make it a long time ago, and this is just when it happened. I’m sure I could make up a socially relevant reason for that [like] “because the world sucks and everyone wants to go to the past when it was better.”
What sort of books do you read?
I’m reading a book, it’s called “Super Sad True Love Story” [by Gary Shteyngart]. It’s set in the future which is kind of cool, way in the future. It’s really good. I have no rhyme or reason for the things that I read; before that, I read a French parenting book. I have no children and no desire to have a baby, but I just read it. Before that, I read a book about the White Witch of Jamaica. I’m all over the place.
What’s some of your favorite music?
I like a lot of old music, like David Bowie, the Beatles and stuff like that, but then I also like really old music. Judy Garland is my all-time favorite, ever. I listen to her in my car a lot.
What were some difficult parts of the movie for you?
I think the scenes where I have been revealed to Kenneth [Mark Duplass' character] were really challenging. I haven’t had to do a lot of scenes where I’m breaking down or having really crazy stuff happening to me, so yeah, those were hard. I’ve not had to have all of those emotions coming out of me. I’m not a super emotional person, so that’s one reason I love acting — it makes me deal with myself in that kind of way. That scene where I’m apologizing to him, that was really hard and scary for me.
Do you find that you’re more drawn to roles that help you learn more about yourself?
That’s for sure one of the reasons I love acting, because I get to stretch myself in ways that I normally wouldn’t get to. And the way that I work is that I do use things in my own life to make characters real, so it’s always very personal for me. I’m always thinking in terms of, “How am I going to tap into that part of myself?”
What roles have helped you explore your sexuality?
I did do that in “The To Do List” movie that’s coming out. That’s actually a good example, because that was terrifying.
Tell us a little bit about “The To Do List.”
A girl who’s the valedictorian of her high school class, because of advice from her slutty older sister — played by Rachel Bilson, who’s really funny in the movie — she decides she needs to lose her virginity before college or she won’t be prepared, so she makes a list of all the sexual things that she needs to do that summer so she can just know what’s going on. She’s really good at homework, so she just flies through that list and becomes a raging slut almost by accident. And it’s set in 1993.
It’s funny to think that’s a period piece now.
Totally. I’m wearing khaki skirts almost the entire time.
What are some of your favorite movies that have come out recently?
I liked “The Cabin in the Woods.” I really liked that because I didn’t read anything about it, so I had no idea what would happen. I’ve seen a lot of documentaries lately. I watched the Woody Allen documentary, the PBS one. It’s awesome and inspiring.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I don’t know, that’s something I’m dealing with right now. I feel like I used to be so inspired all the time by everything, and maybe now it’s just that weird thing that happens when you’re trying to get work, and you’re hungry for it — when you haven’t done the thing that you really want to do, you’re hungry for it, so everything is inspiring you. Then when you get work, it’s hard not to become complacent. I want to always keep that kind of hunger to do, and create, and do more as an artist, but the Woody Allen documentary was inspiring because I didn’t really know he was a comic. I knew that he was funny, but I didn’t know that he was doing stand-up, and I thought that was cool. It’s similar to the way that I got into it [acting], through doing stand-up — that was a big part of it for me.
Do you still do stand-up? Are you hoping to get back into it?
It’s a love/hate relationship. I’m definitely glad it’s over, but there’s a part of me that really wants to do it again.
You could go to small shows and not announce it, just do it for fun.
I know. I’m mad at myself, I need to do it more.
Why is it so hard to do the things we love the most?
Writing is hard — writing is the hardest. I’ve been trying to write, and it’s really hard. I’ve got no process. I have no discipline, it’s like if I’m not wearing the right shirt, I need to be in a different outfit [to write]. Have you read Stephen King’s book, “On Writing”? It’s really good, it’s inspiring. It’s a book you can just read over and over again.
|Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson and Mark Duplass Put “Safety” First|
|Filed Under: Interviews • Posted on June 7th, 2012 by admin • Comments Off|
“Wanted: Somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box [redacted], Oakview, CA 93022. You’ll get paid after we get back. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.”
This actual personal ad appeared in a newspaper, became an Internet sensation, and is now the basis for indie comedy Safety Not Guaranteed, starring Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson and Mark Duplass. If you’d prefer your sci-fi a little lower-budget than Prometheus this weekend, and with way more laughs, it’s worth checking out. We had a chance to talk to the principal cast members about both the movie and their own temporal desires.
Nerdist: It’s weird to consider the prospect of a film based on a 36-word ad that became an Internet meme. How would you pitch the film to someone who might not be familiar with it?
Aubrey Plaza: Well, I would say that it’s about a guy who put out an ad to find someone to go back in time with him, and he claims he has a time machine and he’s done it once before. And the movie’s kind of about these Seattle magazine workers that go on a trip to interview him and do a tongue-in-cheek story on him, but then kind of get wrapped up in his mission, and their own little missions, and things. I’m very good at pitching, as I’m sure you can tell.
Jake Johnson: I would pitch it as a funny movie with a love story and a lot of heart, but also a lot of laughs, that feels good. That when you walk out – I’ve seen it twice now. I saw it at Sundance and South by Southwest, and it’s one of the only movies I’ve been part of where universally, people walk out, and they might have some issue with something, or some scene they didn’t like, but they walk out feeling good, and there’s a fun summer energy about it. I would pitch like: See it in the summer. Get dinner, a couple of drinks, see the movie. You’ll enjoy it.
N: Aubrey, not only was this role written for you, but it was your first feature-length dramatic leading role. What was that like, having someone say, “Hey, we wrote this specifically for you”?
AP: I was very flattered that they wrote the character with me in mind. I hadn’t met the writer or the director at all, so it was very strange to know that someone would spend their time writing a movie and thinking about me in that way. I was so happy that the movie was good, the script was good and I liked it. Because I was worried that I was gonna read it and be like, “This is terrible! You don’t understand me at all!” But I liked it, so it was awesome. Then when we decided to do it and once we got the money to actually do it, it was different. On a whole ‘nother level, I was terrified that I wouldn’t live up to their expectations, you know? It was a challenge to be the lead in a movie; it was the first time that I’d ever been the lead, so it was scary, but something I’d been dreaming of since I was a kid, so I was really ready for it, excited by it and felt like it was the right one.
N: The ensemble cast had a great chemistry together. How much of what we see was improvised versus being already on the page?
AP: I really wanted to stick to the script. I did a lot of work on the script, and I loved it so much. I thought the characters on the page were really fleshed out and felt real and nothing really felt false to me, so I didn’t feel like I had to improvise, or come it with better lines or better anything. But there were times when we shot the film, especially with Mark and I, that we had to do some spontaneous improvising just to keep it fresh and to explore things, then go back to the script and bring new energy into it, or whatever. So there are times when we messed around a little bit. But we also balanced that out with sticking to the script and the story as it was written.
JJ: The thing with Colin (Trevorrow) as a director, which is impressive, is that at times he was word-perfect on the page, very clear, we’re gonna do two takes and we’re gonna move on. And other scenes, if he didn’t love it on the page, he would tell you before, “I’m gonna want to improvise this one.” Like the scene with Karan Soni and myself when I put the sunglasses on, all that was improvised. Because that scene on the page just wasn’t there yet. So every once in a while he would come in and say, “Look, we’re going to get cross-coverage of this, both of you at the same time, let’s just do it.” And that was to the credit of Colin: he knew what he wanted on page, and he knew what he wanted some freedom with.
Mark Duplass: All my stuff was shot over two weeks. But I also wanted to make sure we had enough time to get the performances right. Colin’s a first-time director and I had made a lot of mistakes on my first movie not having enough time to get the performances right, so we had some good conversations about making sure we had enough takes, and also some room to improvise if things were not working the way we wanted them to. So I felt like it was a good partnership with me and Colin, who is incredibly good visually. And that combined with the relationship focus that I brought to the film was a nice combo.
N: What was the three-week shoot like? It seems as though it must have been pretty hectic.
AP: It was like Indie Filmmaking 101, it was so crazy. Not a lot of sleep; I got bedbugs at one point – that was awesome. It was grueling at times, but very rewarding. It felt very much like we were all at camp and we just went through that experience together, experienced highs and lows. It was crazy.
N: Between this, Parks and Recreation, The To Do List, A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III and The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman it’s been a very busy year for you, Aubrey. What’s it like balancing the comedy with some of these meatier, dramatic roles?
AP: Um, it’s awesome… I love being on Parks & Rec and I love having it be my job that takes up most of my year – I love it so much – but I also love movies and I always am looking to do different parts where I can flex different muscles and show different sides of me and what I can do, so it’s really fun for me to go from the show to a movie like this, or like the Charles Swan movie where I can just play this whole different person. It’s fun to go back and forth.
N: We understand you and Bill Murray hit it off on the set of Charles Swan, and that you tore down the dividing wall on set between two trailers. What was that like?
AP: Yes, that’s right. He’s amazing. Bill Murray is one of my heroes, so getting to spend any time with him was a dream come true and did not disappoint; he’s so much fun to be around. He’s the most fun ever. I was only around him for a couple days, but I felt like we had a connection.
N: Jake, your character in the film is kind of a jerk, but there’s a definite heart underneath all that. What was it about the part and specifically this character that drew you to the role?
JJ: Well, what I like about Jeff a lot is that I do think he’s a dick and I like that. He’s unapologetic. I think he’s nasty and he’s got bad intentions. But I think he loses in the end. So I thought it’d be really fun to play a character who starts in one position, kinda gets kicked in the face a little bit, and then what I really like about him is he doesn’t change. At the end, he’s not like, “Hey, I’ve been really mean.” He’s still gonna go back and be himself. He’s going to go back to Seattle and be that guy. I like that.
N: Between this, New Girl, 21 Jump Street, and Harold and Kumar, you’ve had a very powerhouse year. What is it about comedy that entices you and keeps you coming back to it?
JJ: Oh. Well. It’s where I’m getting work. I’d like to do drama to; to be able to do half and half. But I really love doing comedy, and the people doing comedy right now are really talented, so there’s a lot of great opportunities, so I’m just kinda going where the parties I’m invited to are. I’m not looking to crash the drama parties, but I would love to do both. You know, with New Girl, specifically, that was Liz Meriwether. She hand-picked me, wanted me to audition and fought for me to get the job, so I’ll kinda ride with her.
N: We understand that the ending changed. We don’t want to spoil it, but…
JJ: That’s okay, it’s a tricky thing to talk about – it was [originally] the opposite.
N: Gotcha. So you’ve known director Colin Trevorrow for a while, since you went to college together…
JJ: Yeah, we didn’t go to school together – we went to the same school but we didn’t know each other. We met when we both moved to L.A. But that was over 8 years ago.
N: So what was the experience like, going from making YouTube shorts with him to a feature like this?
JJ: Weirdly, and this is to the credit of this new era of YouTube makers, kind of the same. Just a bigger scale. But the same way he directed me before was the same way he did it; the same way I acted was the same way I did it. Just a bigger crew and bigger stakes, but we maintained that same feeling between us. We’d sit in the hotel each night at the end of the day, have a drink and goof around. It wasn’t like once we were doing this we became “Boss” and “Employee.” It was fun. Not a lot of movies come out that have a special feeling like this one had.
N: If you could go back in time: where and when?
MD: I think what I would probably do is go back to the late ’60s, and go see my favorite filmmaker John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands and his whole crew, and the way they made movies, just getting together at their house on a Sunday night and hatching these films together as a family and community is something I really long to be a part of.
JJ: I’ve realized I wouldn’t go back. Because I know myself. I’d get myself in trouble and it could have huge consequences. I would, at first, do good, then I’d have a cocktail and do stupid stuff about 45 minutes later. So I don’t wanna be responsible for, like, an alien invasion that hits the world in 1984.
N: Well, the future thanks you for your sacrifice.
JJ: Yeah, man, you’re very… Everybody’s very welcome.
N: Mark, you’re a man of many hats: you write, you produce, you direct, you act. On a movie like this, how do you reconcile your roles as producer and actor?
MD: Safety Not Guaranteed was first brought to me as a producer, and I just loved the script. I felt like it was my job just to maintain that really sweet heart that it had. It’s a time-travel film, but it’s more a relationship-oriented kind of film. I actually came on as an actor secondarily; it evolved out of conversations I had with Colin, the director. We both wanted someone to play Kenneth who could ground the character and not make it too kooky, so you could feel the loneliness and the sadness within the comedy. And then he asked me to do it, and I was like, “Okay!”
N: With a character like Kenneth, it would be easy to veer in a cynical direction because he’s got the mullet, he’s got that crazy car, he has the clothes. But you gave him a sense of childlike wonderment that made him feel really well-rounded. How did you prepare for that role and approach it?
MD: Kenneth is very different from me. In the past, onscreen , I’ve played thinly veiled versions of myself, but this was a different case. So I asked myself, what is the thing that makes Kenneth click? For me it is that there is not a cynical bone in his body; he is a true believer. Anyone who thinks they can time-travel clearly is a believer, you know? And I love that quality about him. It’s not too intelligent, in a lot of ways, but it’s got a lot of heart to it. So I just tried to make sure I infused Kenneth with a sense of optimism, a sense of childlike wonder, and a sense of fist-pumping believer that would attract someone like Darius to him.
N: The song you played in the film was gorgeous. Have you played the zither for a long time specifically?
MD: When I read the script it said there would be this song played on a zither, which I was excited about but I did not know what a zither was. So the composer, Brian Miller, sent me a video of him playing the song on a zither, and I used to be a musician, so luckily it’s like an easier version of playing guitar in your lap. But I spent a couple of weeks holing up in my house and my hotel room learning the song so I wouldn’t look like an idiot when it came time to play it. It’s a woodsy, strange instrument – a lot like Kenneth.
N: What else is coming up from you and your brother?
MD: My brother and I have a movie that we directed called Jeff, Who Lives at Home [Nerdist review here]. It’ll be coming out on DVD in June, and then there’s another movie called The Do-Deca-Pentathlon, which is our last micro-budget film we made a few years ago – we’re just getting around to finishing it now. It’s about two brothers who compete in their own personal 25-event Olympics, even though they’re incredibly out of shape and have no business doing so. We’ll be releasing that in July, around the real Olympics.
N: Were you at all worried about working with a first-time director?
MD: I’ve worked with a lot of first-time directors, and when you meet Colin, you realize he’s not the average first-time director. He’s very confident. And he didn’t look like a first-time director on set; he knew what he wanted and he was very, very good. So I didn’t have to do much at all, except to say, “Hey man, I want enough takes to get the performance right, and if it’s not going well, I want you to let me improvise,” and otherwise it was a really good marriage.
N: A lot of people would classify many of your movies under the “Mumblecore” label – what do you think of that term, and does it apply to Safety Not Guaranteed?
MD: I think it was fair to call some of the early films I made – like The Puffy Chair or Baghead – Mumblecore, but it was never a term that I came up with, so we don’t really think about that, that much. I certainly wouldn’t consider Jeff, Who Lives at Home or Safety Not Guaranteed Mumblecore films, because that feels exclusionary to me, like it’s something some New Yorker piece wrote about it. Safety Not Guaranteed is a very hopeful and sweet film, and I want to invite everybody to see it.
|Aubrey Plaza Safety Not Guaranteed Interview|
|Filed Under: Interviews, Videos • Posted on June 7th, 2012 by admin • Comments Off|
Aubrey Plaza’s deadpan delivery might define her Parks and Recreation character, April, but in Safety Not Guaranteed, the comedic actress gets the chance to show a slightly more sentimental side. We caught up with Aubrey at a recent press day for the indie film in LA, where she talked about switching gears with the project and what’s up next for April and Andy. Aubrey told us she’s been pushing for a Parks and Recreation baby, and also dished about her next movie, The Hand Job. In it, she plays a college-bound teen determined to get some sexual experience under her belt before Summer’s over — a role that Aubrey admits required its share of extremely awkward scenes. Safety Not Guaranteed arrives in select theaters this weekend.
|Sh*t Talking with Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson and Mark Duplass|
|Filed Under: Interviews, Videos • Posted on June 7th, 2012 by admin • Comments Off|
When talking about Safety Not Guaranteed co-stars Mark Duplass and Jake Johnson, Aubrey said, “Mark is amazing, always wanting to do something different, he is interested in keeping it fresh and Jake is just like a violent monster. I just dodged him the entire time.” Jake replied by saying, “Aubrey Plaza is as bad as it gets in this business, as an actor and fellow peer she is the worst.
|Filed Under: Interviews, Videos • Posted on June 7th, 2012 by admin • Comments Off|
Directed by Colin Trevorrow and based on a real-life classified ad discovered in a Seattle newspaper, Safety Not Guaranteed follows three reporters who agree to meet with a mysterious man seeking a time traveling companion. Paulington James Christensen III recently met up with the cast of this unique comedy, including Aubrey Plaza, Jake M. Johnson, and Mark Duplass, to discover the secrets of time travel. Watch as the stars of Safety Not Guaranteed go back to the future while looking forward to the past!
|Aubrey Plaza On Her Lead Role In ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’|
|Filed Under: Interviews • Posted on June 4th, 2012 by admin • Comments Off|
Aubrey Plaza is best known as intern-turned-assistant April Ludgate on NBC’s “Parks & Recreation,” but it was her breakout role in the film “Funny People” that got writer Derek Connolly’s attention. He was thinking about a story about a mysterious classified ad when he saw Plaza’s performance and decided she would be a perfect addition to his film. The part turned out to be Plaza’s first lead movie role. “I was terrified,” she told The Huffington Post. “It was something that I’d been dreaming of my whole life, and when it finally happened, I couldn’t believe it. I was so scared but also excited at the challenge of being there the whole time and not just doing a part where I’m kind of in and out and making people laugh.”
In the time-travel film “Safety Not Guaranteed,” opening June 8 in limited release, Plaza plays Darius, an intern at a Seattle magazine who goes on assignment with a reporter and a fellow intern. Their mission? Find the man who placed an ad seeking “someone to go back in time” with him. Plaza spoke with HuffPost Women about the transformation of her character, the evolution of April and her upcoming movie with an all-star cast of actors.
This part was written with you in mind. What was your reaction when they approached you about it?
I was very flattered. Honestly, I didn’t think I was even at a place in my career where someone would do that for me. I was just hoping that it was good.
What about the script appealed to you?
I just thought that the characters were written so well, and they all seemed like real people, which is rare when you read scripts. And I thought it was a really sweet love story, with kind of time-travel sci-fi elements looming throughout. I loved how different the character is in the beginning and in the end, and as an actor, I just wanted that so badly. For the first movie I was going to be the lead in, I felt like it was the perfect opportunity for me to play someone that goes through a transformation and to show people that I can do that.
Is that something that you’ve worried about? That people will think you’re just like April on “Parks & Rec” or that it’s the only role you can play?
Well, I’m not so much worried about it. I mean, I really don’t care too much about what people think of me or who they think I am, but it would bother me if it prevented me from getting other parts because people are afraid that I won’t be able to do it. I’m just making steps in the direction of showing people that I can do more and that I’m not April Ludgate. But I do want to say that I don’t mind it because I love playing that character and I love being on that show. If that’s the only thing I have to deal with because of it, I will take it.
What do you think your character in “Safety Not Guaranteed” found so appealing about Mark Duplass’s character, Kenneth — a man planning a time-travel mission?
I think there is a purity and a sincerity with his character that a lot of the people in the film don’t have and a lot of people in the world don’t have anymore, and I think the film speaks to that, and it shows you that there are people out there that are just pure, positive people and not everything has to be ironic and stupid. I think there was something so nice about his character, and that’s the reason she opened up to him and opened up to the world.
You’ve been pretty open about the anxiety and insecurities you’ve experienced in your own life. This character seems like she also has some of that insecurity, especially at the beginning.
Yeah, the character has a really traumatic thing that happened to her with her mom dying. I’ve never played a character before that’s had something like that to deal with. [It] was really interesting to play someone [for whom] the way they are is pretty much because of something terrible that happened, and that’s kind of their coping mechanism. I don’t think that it would be fun to play a character that is sarcastic or mean or depressed for no reason, but when you give a history to a character, then that’s when it gets really interesting.
You mentioned your character’s transformation in this movie, but it feels like April has evolved too. We’ve started to see her care about the other characters more instead of just being this disaffected intern. Is that something that you pushed for?
It was never a conversation that I had outright, but I think the writers are always trying to keep the characters on the show feeling like they’re fully realized people. I think April’s age –- that period from 19 to 25 or whatever — is the time that you kind of grow up and become an adult, and it’s an interesting time to capture in the show. You are kind of seeing her go from a teenager to a young adult and all that goes along with that. I think that’s why that character’s so fun for me to play. I can act like I hate everyone and everything, but I know that there’s a lot more brewing underneath.
Your character in the upcoming “The To-Do List” sounds completely different. You’ve described her as a Tracy Flick character.
Yeah, that movie, which I will still in parenthesis call “The Hand Job.” I play a type-A valedictorian who has sense of irony or sarcasm, and she basically through the advice of her slutty older sister –- played by Rachel Bilson, who’s hilarious in the movie –- decides to make a list of all the sexual acts she needs to accomplish before she goes to college, so she’s not under-prepared. So she kind of takes on this sexual homework over the summer, and because she’s very good at homework, she just blows through that list. No pun intended. It was so fun for me to play this character that’s almost obnoxious and naïve and funny. And there are so many funny people in the movie –- Bill Hader, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Donald Glover, Andy Samberg … Connie Britton and Clark Gregg play my parents, Alia Shawkat plays my best friend. It’s a very special cast, and I think everyone is so good in their parts. I think it could be really a big one, hopefully.