Welcome to Alison Brie Source, the #1 fan site dedicated to actress, director, writer, and producer Alison Brie since 2011! You may recognize Alison from one of her many projects including Community, Mad Men, GLOW, Bojack Horseman, Sleeping with Other People, The Rental, Horse Girl, and many more! Her most recent projects include ROAR, Spin Me Round, and Somebody I Used To Know. We strive to bring you the latest news and information, the most expansive collection of photos (160,000+ and growing), media and video of Alison and her career - make sure to bookmark us and visit www.alisonbrie.com again soon!
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By Jennifer • August 22, 2022 • Interviews

A lot has changed for Alison Brie since being cast as Trudy Campbell on Mad Men in 2007. Over the years, the California-born actress has proved that she can’t be pigeonholed, from becoming an integral part of the ensemble on Community to embodying supporting characters in films like Scream 4 and The Five-Year Engagement. In 2016, she accepted a bit part in Joshy, a comedic drama from writer/director Jeff Baena. That project was transformative for Brie, who has since collaborated with Baena on 2017’s The Little Hours, 2020’s Horse Girl and now on Spin Me Round. The latter two have marked Brie’s debut as co-writer, an aspect of her career that has become more and more important in recent years.

Spin Me Round, out now, stars Brie as Amber, the manager of an Italian chain restaurant who earns an all-expenses trip to a company’s headquarters in Italy. What begins as a whimsical rom-com, seemingly about an ordinary woman having extraordinary experiences in a foreign country, quickly becomes something else. After Amber is whisked off on a yacht by the chain’s handsome owner, she uncover mysterious circumstances that she fears might be kidnapping, or worse. The movie slips between genres effortlessly, veering from bubbly rom-com to terrifying thriller. Brie stars alongside Alessandro Nivola, Molly Shannon, Tim Heidecker, Debby Ryan and Aubrey Plaza (who is also Baena’s wife). Much of the cast had previously acted together on the director’s previous work, making the 22-day shoot in Italy feel like a reunion.

Observer spoke with Brie about collaborating with Baena, why she wants to write her own roles and what’s next for her career.

This movie really went in a direction that I wasn’t expecting.

Thank you. We really were setting out to make something unique. And I think we did.

How did you and Jeff collaborate on the script after he had the initial idea?

In this case, Jeff brought the idea to me. He had been kicking it around for a while based on an article he read about a similar program that he thought was funny. He had a 10-page outline, I think, and the master beats plotted out. From there, I got to dig into the characters and the arc of the story. I really wanted to dig into this idea of the characters dictating what genre they were in and the way that the movie ebbs and flows depending on their emotions and their haphazard search for adventure.

What did you specifically want for your character, Amber?

She’s a person who’s drifted along in life. She’s not very assertive. But she wants something extraordinary to happen to her in her life. And, over the course of the movie, she really is pushed into situations that make her uncomfortable enough or experiences with people that excite her enough to push her into taking some kind of action.

The thing that inspired me the most was this feeling of dashed expectations. There’s something really funny about thinking you’re going on this exotic trip and then just being let down. And the idea of getting back on the other side of a big experience to find that your life hasn’t changed at all. At the same time, we wanted to show that even if your life hasn’t outwardly changed in any superficial way—your job is still the same, your debt remains the same—there has been some personal growth, some shift inside of this character. You get a sense that she might start to lead her life a little bit differently.

After Horse Girl did you and Jeff always plan to write another film together?

No. Everything that I’ve done with Jeff has come about so organically. He asked me to be in a couple scenes in his film Joshy, and then after that he came to me and Dave [Franco] with his idea for The Little Hours. We developed a trust and really jived well in terms of our comedic sensibility and artistic sensibilities. Making Horse Girl together was special. We had a really great experience. He actually had this idea prior to Horse Girl and we had made that project with the Duplass Brothers’ production company, as well, so they came onboard for this one. We were trying to tap into that magic, as well as the magic of the last time we had been in Italy on his film The Little Hours with a lot of the same cast members.

It’s almost like you’ve formed a theater troupe.

Yes, the Baena Players. It’s really fun to get to play with these actors again and again in different roles and in different capacities. There’s a real comfortability with everybody and we have a fun time.

As as an actress, why is it important for you to be involved in writing the roles that you’re playing?

At first, I think it felt important to me to have more ownership over the work I was doing and a little more power in terms of dictating the roles I would be playing. I say at first, but I’ve written three things. We’re still in the first phase! But a big part of that also is just having a creative outlet outside of acting. There’s a lot of waiting that goes along with working in the entertainment industry. Waiting for the right role, trying to read the right thing. Why not create the things that give myself the opportunities that I’m searching for?

Have you always been someone who writes?

Not at all! Which is why I think it’s great to have a good partner. I’m really grateful to Jeff for these past couple of endeavors together because he’s taught me a lot. And then I wrote another film with my husband, Dave. It’s been nice for me to have a partner because I am still new to writing in general.

Is it challenging to write something with your husband?

I love Dave, so I just want to be around him as much as possible. Finding new ways to work together is really fun for us. Dave and I really have the same sense of humor [and] the same taste in movies already. As a couple, we’re so tuned into one another. So it’s really fun when we watch movies together because most of the time we have pretty similar opinions about the things that we watch.

Every couple who fights over what to watch on Netflix all night is really jealous of you right now.

We don’t fight over it, but it still takes us forever. We’re stuck in that void of what to watch where an hour can disappear as you’re going, “Okay, this is the front runner runner, but let’s see if we can beat it.” An hour later, you’re like, “Well, no, let’s just watch an episode of Curb and go to bed.”

As you take on more projects, have the sorts of roles you’re looking for changed?

Every job that I do changes my perspective on what the thing is that I would like to do next. Because I’ve been really lucky to get to work within a lot of different genres and on different styles of shows and movies. And so, for me, I just like to keep changing it up. The last two films that I’ve written are both sort of romantic, so I feel like now I’m itching to do another thriller or horror movie or something just to shake things up.

Is that where you find yourself now?

I guess I’m looking for something that feels a little bit dangerous. I’d love to get a little messy and I don’t know exactly what that means. But when I look at the work that I’ve done in television, because you commit to a show for years of your life, I can really track my growth as a human being through these shows. I can track different periods of my life. So I am definitely looking for the next television show, and trying to find the thing that’s going to meet me in my power right now as a woman.

Speaking of your power as a woman, do you have lingering feelings about the way Glow came to an end?

Yes and no. I love Glow so much. It’s the greatest working experience of my career so far. And it was heartbreaking for it to end, but also all shows end. I think there’s so much going on in the world and to put things in perspective, it’s okay. I will forever be grateful for the three incredible seasons of the show that we’ve made. I learned so much and grew as a person and checked out a lot of milestones for me and my career in terms of directing, being the number one on a show, the physical aspect of the show and learning how to wrestle and do my own stunts. I met Betty Gilpin, my soulmate. So, for me, it’s all about the positive. But then every so often an ‘80s song comes on to my playlist and I shed a little tear and miss my girls.

Have you continued to direct since then?

Right after our third season of Glow I directed an episode of Marvel’s 616, which was an anthology documentary series. So that was quite different. That was right before the pandemic—I was actually editing my episode all during quarantine and 2020. I haven’t done any directing since then as we’re just coming back out of the shell. I’m starting to put feelers out there. Again, I would love to direct more in television and eventually direct a film, but it’s a much larger commitment.

How does one come to direct a Marvel documentary series?

I have friends that are producers on a number of docu-series. They reached out to me. Actually, the text I got said, “You did theater in high school, right?” To which I replied, “Have you met me?” And we got on the phone. They already had conceptualized an idea for an episode that follows a high school performing these Marvel one-act plays, which do exist and are a thing that high schools have access to. We followed the plays of Ms. Marvel and Squirrel Girl and Thor. This was my first time hearing about these Marvel one-acts. It was extraordinary to fly out to Florida and watch these teenagers dive into these superhero roles and to see the ways that it impacted them as people as a person who loves theater and loved high school theater.

It was a big part of my life and identity in high school. I really liked the way that a Marvel play was able to bring the theater to a larger portion of the high school population who might not have been interested in trying out for theater before. Obviously, they’re so familiar with these characters and excited by the material. I think that theater is a great thing to do for all kids— preteens, teenagers, all adolescents. It’s good for them to do some kind of theater. It’s helpful in terms of socialization, working together, collaborating in a community, getting up in front of people. It was a blast to go and relive my high school theater days and watch these students who are so intelligent and see what their perspectives are on all of that.

What was your best role in high school theater?

You know, my senior year I got to be the lead in the spring musical. And we did Dracula, the Musical and I was Nina, Dracula’s love interest. I don’t know if it was my greatest role. It wasn’t my greatest performance of all time. But it was a really fun musical to do.

Do you have any other projects coming out this year?

I actually don’t think I do. We’re waiting on a release date right now for the film that I wrote with my husband, Dave. It’s called Somebody I Used To Know. We made it for Amazon. It stars myself and Jay Ellis and Kiersey Clemons and Danny Pudi, my fellow Community cast member. I loved working with Dave on the project. It’s another romantic movie in nature. I’m really excited for people to see that when it comes out.

Source: The Observer

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