Aubrey Plaza on Being the Nerd's Dream Girl, Being Cast for 'Parks & Rec' and Why She Likes Her 'Legion' Superpowers

In this Screen Tests interview, actress Aubrey Plaza talks about being named after a bread jingle, her crush on Bill Pullman, naming her dog after Judy Garland, and why your Halloween costume should never be sexy.

Released on 9/18/2018

Transcript

00:00
I was named after a Bread song from
00:03
the '70s called Aubrey.
00:06
It's like
00:07
♪ And Aubrey was her name. ♪
00:10
♪ A not so very ordinary girl or name. ♪
00:16
♪ But just the same. ♪
00:18
I think I'm the only Aubrey Plaza
00:20
that exists in the entire world.
00:21
I've looked it up.
00:23
But I did find out that my name means ruler of the elves.
00:26
If you look it up in a baby book,
00:28
it's a man's name,
00:29
and it means king of the elves, so...
00:38
In the same week I got cast in Funny People,
00:41
Parks and Recreation, and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
00:44
I had all of those meetings in one week
00:46
and I ended up getting all three parts.
00:49
So my whole life kind of just changed overnight.
00:52
I was unemployed, I was living in Queens,
00:54
I had just recently been fired from my last waitressing job.
00:58
I was an amazing waitress but I just had a policy
01:03
at the time where I just decided to have
01:06
no loyalty to any establishment,
01:09
and if they prevented me from auditioning
01:12
or from following my dreams
01:13
then I would just quit right on the spot.
01:15
That's not sustainable in the restaurant industry,
01:18
(Lynn laughs)
01:20
is what I was told, but yeah.
01:23
I was a nerd dream girl.
01:25
[Lynn] Yes.
01:26
The dream girl of all the nerds.
01:28
I was like a comic book, anime, freak.
01:30
[Lynn] Yeah, you were like a comic book...
01:31
I mean I was wearing glasses.
01:33
I wore glasses in Funny People so maybe
01:35
I became like a nerd...
01:36
[Lynn] You were pretty much, yeah.
01:37
dream icon.
01:39
My favorite movie, well A Star is Born
01:41
is probably one of my all-time favorite movies.
01:43
[Lynn] The Barbra Streisand?
01:44
[Lynn] The Judy Garland version. The Judy Garland.
01:46
I was very obsessed with Judy Garland growing up,
01:48
so I named my dog after her.
01:50
Judy Garland's real name is Frances Ethel Gumm,
01:53
and my dog's name is Frances, but I call her Frankie.
01:56
I was always a strange child, like,
02:00
I remember when Casper came out
02:02
all my friends were obsessed with Devon Sawa,
02:05
and they had a crush on him,
02:06
but I always had a crush on Bill Pullman who played the dad.
02:08
(Lynn laughing)
02:09
I was always into the dads.
02:11
(laughter)
02:12
Don't ask me why.
02:14
John Heard in Home Alone, again the dad.
02:17
Dennis Quaid in The Parent Trap.
02:19
(Lynn laughing)
02:21
I mean, I could go on.
02:23
Well, I read the script for Legion
02:25
and I just thought the script
02:27
was really wild and out there.
02:29
I thought I was meeting to play
02:31
the female lead of the show.
02:34
He offered me the part of Lenny Busker,
02:36
which, in the pilot, was written for a middle-aged man,
02:40
and I was like, Oh, the middle-aged drug addict
02:43
in the mental institution?
02:45
Lenny really becomes the villain of the show.
02:48
I thought, well, that sounds really interesting,
02:50
and I would like to do that.
02:52
Yeah, it's really fun to have superpowers.
02:55
In the first season I had many powers.
02:57
I could just kill people just by,
02:59
like, going like that.
03:00
People would just disintegrate.
03:02
Um, that was a good feeling.
03:04
(Lynn laughs)
03:05
Well, I would come up with different,
03:06
you know, I would just go like that,
03:08
and someone would just explode.
03:11
I thought it was always fun to do
03:13
the most minimal kind of movement
03:15
and to have the maximum destructive effect.
03:18
I was in seventh grade.
03:23
I went to an all-girls school,
03:25
so we, you know, had a brother-school,
03:29
And there was a boy at the brother school
03:31
who took a screwdriver and duct-taped it to his feet,
03:35
and went to school and was kicking people
03:39
with his screwdriver foot,
03:41
and then ended up getting put
03:42
in a juvenile correction facility.
03:45
And, I believe he was my first kiss.
03:48
I remember that it tasted like metal.
03:50
We were doing one of those, like,
03:52
kind of weird, middle-school,
03:55
everyone goes in the basement
03:57
and turns the lights off,
03:58
and there's just like limbs and bodies
04:01
and you just kind of don't know what's happening
04:03
kind of thing and I just remember
04:05
just tasting metal and teeth,
04:08
and I remember he put his tongue
04:09
like he was, like, licking my teeth or something
04:13
and it was strange.
04:14
I guess my go-to songs would be
04:16
Only Time, by Enya.
04:18
That's a real, um...
04:20
[Lynn] That's a bizarre...
04:21
[Interviewer] disruptive song, Uh huh
04:22
That people get very confused
04:24
when that starts happening because
04:26
it's a lot of, like, gibberish.
04:27
(Lynn laughing)
04:29
And then sometimes, you know, if I'm really
04:31
in the mood for it I start doing Garth Brooks
04:35
and that really shocks people.
04:37
[Lynn] Like Friends...
04:38
Like, Ain't Goin' Down 'Til the Sun Comes Up.
04:40
[Lynn] Wow.
04:41
I know, I can pull some really old school
04:44
Garth Brooks out of my pocket
04:46
and people really are always shocked by that.
04:49
I love Halloween.
04:51
But I have a very strict policy
04:53
that I've never worn a sexy Halloween costume
04:57
because I believe that you should be scary on Halloween
05:01
and you should really be trying to frighten people,
05:05
which is what I like.
05:07
So I usually...
05:08
Usually I basically just do
05:10
some kind of version of a nautical sea witch.
05:14
(Lynn laughing)
05:15
I just usually throw, like a fishing net on me,
05:20
and I have a wig, and I have makeup,
05:22
and I just like dressing up like a witch.
05:24
Like a sea-hag, kind of
05:25
[Lynn] I see. I see. character.
05:27
I have two skills.
05:28
I can play the alto saxophone.
05:30
[Lynn] Uh, huh.
05:32
Me and Bill Clinton.
05:33
And I can fold my tongue in half outside of my mouth.
05:37
[Lynn] All right, let's see.
05:38
My tongue is slippery right now.
05:42
OK.
05:43
[Lynn] That's very impressive.
05:44
Okay, that was really...
05:46
(off-camera clapping)
05:47
Did it translate on camera?
05:48
Just know that I'm folding it in half.
05:50
[Lynn] It looks very, very impressive.
05:51
Puerto Ricans are known to have big tongues,
05:53
so I can do a lot with it.