Screen Tests

Episode 89

Emma Watson

Episode 64

Jared Leto

Episode 56

Will Ferrell

Episode 55

Lea Seydoux

Episode 52

Emma Watson

Episode 49

Richard Gere

Episode 47

Joan Smalls

Episode 41

Karlie Kloss

Episode 40

Tom Cruise

Episode 39

Clive Owen

Episode 37

Jessica Biel

Episode 35

Uggie

Episode 34

James Franco

Episode 32

Viola Davis

Episode 31

Jonah Hill

Episode 24

Melissa Leo

Episode 18

Mila Kunis

Episode 16

Mark Ruffalo

Episode 14

Emma Stone

Episode 4

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

Credit

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 alltime favorite movies.
01:43
[Lynn] The Barbra Streisand?
01:44
The Judy Garland version. [Lynn] 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 middleaged man,
02:40
and I was like, "Oh, the middleaged 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 allgirls school,
03:25
so we, you know, had a brotherschool,
03:29
And there was a boy at the brother school
03:31
who took a screwdriver and ducttaped 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, middleschool,
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 goto 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
disruptive song, [Interviewer] 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 seahag, 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
[offcamera 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.