Aubrey Plaza's actress tips and advice for acting and how improv helped improve her acting skills and connections.
Who is Aubrey Plaza?
Aubrey Plaza is an actress, comedian, and producer. Starting her career in improv and sketch comedy, she would work at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. She starred as April Ludgate on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation and later featured in the FX drama series Legion.
Her first leading role was in the 2012 movie Safety Not Guaranteed and appeared in multiple other movies including, Mystery Team (2009), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010), 10 Years (2011), The End of Love (2013), Ned Rifle (2014), The Driftless Area (2015), Joshy (2016), Ingrid Goes West (2017), An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn (2018), Child's Play (2019), and Black Bear (2020).
Aubrey Plaza Acting Tips:
In a recent interview with NME, Plaza reflected on how her background in improv has influenced her acting in both positive and different ways.
Plaza touched on Jim Carrey’s performance in the 1999 biopic Man on the Moon, where Jim Carrey portrayed comedian Andy Kaufman and Carrey’s on-set behavior was reportedly disruptive to his castmates.
“Those kinds of performances are the most inspiring to me. I’m all for it. I love the drama. I love when things get crazy on set and people start acting insane and people get too into their characters and they’re fighting. I mean, of course I don’t want any fighting and negativity but it’s all very exciting for me – because it’s art. You want art to be intense. You want people to REACT.”
Plaza talked about there experience with improv at the Upright Citizens Brigade. She recalls, “It was the best time of my life, looking back on it. It just truly felt like: ‘We are in an underground – literally, underground – theatre doing an art form that is so f—ing hard, and just so fun when you get it right.’ It was intoxicating, and I was intoxicated.”
Plaza admits that her improv skills did not work out very well in the audition room. That said, the numerous rejects did not upset her. She says, “Auditioning always felt like this f—ed-up game that I was playing with life. Like playing the lottery or something. I think I’ve always been very fueled by rejection. It only made me want it more, because I think I just had that thing inside of me that’s like: ‘I wanna be in the club that I’m not in’ or whatever that is; ‘I want the thing that I can’t have, or the thing that I don’t have. And if you tell me that I’m not good enough, I’ll just find a way to prove you wrong somehow.”