“Editors note: The featured image was added to the article on Wednesday, September 14, 2022.”
Last week, the Student Programming Board welcomed universal Woman Crush Wednesday Aubrey Plaza as the Yellow Jacket Weekend Performer. And, to put the icing on the cake, Wilson Commons Student Activities made the mistake of asking me if I wanted to interview her in collaboration with WRUR 88.5.
Fresh out of an Uber (she’s just like us) and after wrapping filming at 7 a.m. two hours north in Canada, Ms. Plaza met me in Rochester’s fifth most romantic spot: Lower Strong Auditorium. Some
Time Magazine recently called you ‘the Low-Key Movie Star of our Times,’ with your increased popularity and your obvious acting range, how do you decide what projects you chose?
Well, it’s two-pronged. One is, obviously, just if the script is good and if I like it. It always starts with the script. Well maybe three prongs. Script. Character. I get bored really easily so I’m always trying to find a new character that is doing something that I haven’t done before. Even if it’s hard to do that. Also, I have a weird thing where whatever I choose to do I try to connect it to what I’m doing in my real life. Almost energetically, like if I want to bring something energetically dark or if I need lightness and laugh and just have fun. Sometimes I just make decisions about just where I’m at.
Getting your break from a comedy like “Parks and Recreation,” you’ve since expanded your roles to more serious dramas, such as your lead in “Emily the Criminal.” How have you been able to keep yourself out of a type-cast box?
It’s hard. It’s kinda a matter of just constantly making weird left turns and not just doing the easy thing. I noticed that after I was in “Parks” that I would just keep getting offered things that were in the same wheelhouse. It’s kinda just about challenging yourself. I’ve also been kinda a workaholic and so I think the amount of jobs that I have done has helped with that. I’ve kinda just been bouncing around since. But you never know who’s gonna actually see the stuff you’re doing and if they’re actually gonna care. I could do all these independent films and think this is a totally different kind of character, but no one could see them and they could still think about the most popular character you’ve done. It’s kinda just about trying to surprise people and changing up.
Is there an album, song, or musical artist that defined your early 20s?
I listen to really old music. I was probably listening to Talking Heads and Radiohead a lot when I was in my 20s, but I don’t know what I would pick. Also, David Bowie’s low album was definitely a thing. I’m so bad at picking one thing.
You’ve been pretty vocal in interviews about your dabbling with Witchy and Spiritual practices. Are there any rituals (spiritual or not) that you practice before a performance or interview like this?
I don’t think I’ve done rituals before interviews. Definitely before I start a movie, especially if I’m doing two completely different things, I like to do a reset. So I’ll go someplace by myself and do a mushroom type of ritual just to shake off and reset. Witchcraft wise it’s based off the moon and sometimes I’ll get lucky with a supermoon and I’ll piggyback on that and use the energy from that to pick up. I don’t have any rituals for an interview though, I kind of wish I had.
Do you find it to be significant when it does fall on a moon day like that?
Oh, I just finished shooting “White Lotus,” and we finished wrapping on the last supermoon of the year, and the shoot was really emotionally intense and it felt like a chapter ending.
If you had a chance to replace any actor for their character in a film, what role would you want to play?
So many, so many people. This is super fresh in my mind but have you seen “Irma Vep?” It’s on HBO and Alicia Vikander plays that role and I finished the series and I thought that it was a good role and I would like it. I don’t know though. Maybe like Julianne Moore in “Boogie Nights” and Sigourney Weaver in “Alien.”