Aubrey Plaza is known for her deadpan hilarity on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” but the actress has stuck to drama when choosing her film roles. Plaza tells Zap2it that it’s a completely calculated move on her part, designed to avoid typecasting.
In “Safety Not Guaranteed,” on DVD and Blu-ray now, Plaza stars as a newspaper intern charged with befriending a guy who took out a classified ad seeking a partner to time travel with him, and ends up falling for him instead of helping with the article her boss wants her to write.
Zap2it spoke with Plaza about the movie, her typecasting fears, her jerk costars (find out who below) and her next film, the comedy “The To Do List.” Check out what she had to say:
Zap2it: What struck you about “Safety Not Guaranteed” that led you to sign on to the movie?
Plaza: Honestly, I just loved the story. I’ve never read a story like that before, a love story that has a sci-fi element looming over it in that way. It reminded me of the ’80s and the ’90s — I just don’t think people make movies like that anymore. I loved the time travel aspect and I thought the characters were believable. I thought that what they go through and how they change all just rang true to me and didn’t seem forced.
On TV you’re known for being the funny, deadpan girl, but most of your film roles are more dramatic. Was that intentional or coincidental?
It was a fully conscious decision, I think what happens sometimes when you play one character and people see you do that, they associate you with that and they just keep wanting you to do the same thing over and over again. As an actress or an actor you have to fight to get parts that allow you to kind of expand and show people the other things you can do. I thought that this role was an organic way to kind of step out of that box, quote unquote, and show people that I have other feelings that I can portray.
Has it worked?
Yeah, I think so. I will be starring in a movie with Tom Cruise and Matt Damon and Channing Tatum and George Clooney tomorrow. No. [Laughs] I don’t know yet, I think what comes out of something like that will hopefully show over time. People in Hollywood do not take risks that often — people play it safe, and I’m not an obvious casting choice for a lot of movies. Hopefully people will continue to take risks on me and let me surprise people, which is what I think Colin Trevorrow, our director, did.
So, what’s next?
I have a movie coming out in the future called “The To Do List,” and that movie I’m very excited about. It’s my second starring role, and it’s a totally different type of movie and different character than I’ve ever played before. It’s a full on teen slash adult sex comedy about a girl who decides to make a homework assignment out of doing sexual things with guys the summer before she goes to college. She’s totally Type A and a go-getter — there’s no irony in anything that she’s doing, or sarcasm or anything like that, so hopefully it’s a great departure from all of the things I’ve done so far. And it’s really funny, and there’s a ton of funny people in it: Andy Samberg, Bill Hader, Johnny Simmons, Alia Shawkat, Rachel Bilson — she plays my slutty older sister in it and she’s hilarious. It’s a total girl/sex/f—-d up John Hughes movie set in 1993, the year of amazing khaki skorts.
Speaking of costars, what was it like working with Mark Duplass and Jake Johnson on “Safety Not Guaranteed”?
Mark Duplass is amazing. I loved working with him. I think there are not many people who can tackle a role like that and nail it in the way that he did. It’s a very delicate part — you have to ride the line of being a total scary, creepy guy who’s claiming he can time travel and then being extremely likable and falling in love with this girl. He was so perfect for that part and he really helped me as an actor. Jake Johnson is just a total nightmare to work with, he’s an a–hole, and I am not afraid to say that to you or anyone. I hope I never work with him again. [Note: This was sarcastic. We think.] Karan Soni — sweet little Karan Soni — was so great and funny and really added this whole different energy to the mix. All in all, it was really great.
“Safety Not Guaranteed” is available on DVD and Blu-ray now.