Strengthening On Screen Chemistry: A Conversation with Aubrey Plaza
You are cordially invited to the comedy event of the year! In order to avoid embarrassing their family, hard- partying brothers Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) place an online ad to find “respectable” dates for their sister’s Hawaiian wedding. Instead, the boys find themselves out-hustled by an uncontrollable duo (Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza). Based on hilarious true events, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is the perfect marriage of over-the-top humour and outrageous fun!
Born in Delaware, Aubrey Plaza’s career is testament to the rewards of hard work, determination and talent. Best known for her role as April Ludgate on the hit NBC comedy PARKS AND RECREATION, Plaza’s path to international success began with internships and assistant jobs.
She has played improv and sketch comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, and has appeared at the Laugh Factory and The Improv. A role on the online series THE JEANNIE TATE SHOW brought her to mainstream attention, and she was cast as Seth Rogen’s love interest in Judd Apatow’s FUNNY PEOPLE in 2009. The same year, she was cast on PARKS AND RECREATION, which ultimately ran for seven seasons and 125 episodes.
Other film roles include SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD, SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED and LIFE AFTER BETH. She recently co-starred with Zac Efron in the movie DIRTY GRANDPA.
In MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES, Plaza plays Tatiana. The titular Mike and Dave are brothers, warned by their family to smarten-up their hard-partying ways before their sister’s wedding in Hawaii, and to bring two respectable girls as dates. After posting an ad on Craigslist, they’re contacted by a cadre of prospective suitors, and they ultimately settle on Alice and Tatiana, whose interest in Adam and Dave extends to little more than the prospect of a free holiday on the islands.
The film is based on a true story – though the real Mike and Dave sensibly decided not to bring dates from Craigslist in the end – and was written by Andrey J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, with Jake Szymanski behind the camera. It also stars Zac Efron, Adam DeVine and Anna Kendrick.
What was your interest in MIKE AND DAVE initially?
When I read the script a long time ago, I was so excited by the female characters because they were so funny. It’s so rare to read romantic comedies where the female characters are as funny – if not funnier – than the guys, and I really like that idea. I just became obsessed with it and began harassing everybody involved to get that part.
Not only is it a romantic comedy, but it’s a bro comedy, so it’s probably even rarer in that subgenre. What did you make of the friendship between the girls?
I just love the idea that my character wants so badly to to make her friend feel better, and that’s why she’s pulling all these crazy antics. She just wants to give her friend a vacation and make her feel better. It’s really about friendship and I thought that was really sweet. I liked that for the two of them, their ultimate goals are not to find guys. Their ultimate goal is to have a fun trip together as friends.
Was it fun to find that friendship with Anna Kendrick?
It was amazing. We shot in Hawaii for three months and we got to play there. We’ve known each other for a long time in real life, but we haven’t really been able to spend a lot of time together because we’re both so busy all the time. It was a really grand excuse to be forced to spend every day together, and also to work together, which I was really excited about. I think she’s a really amazing actress. It was fun to have a partner that was committing 110%.
The chemistry between all the characters is very strong. Are those friendships essential to that?
Anna and I had known each other for years, and Zac [Efron] and I had just done DIRTY GRANDPA together. Literally we had a week break between that movie and MIKE AND DAVE, so I had just spent some time with him. Adam and I had only met once very briefly, so I didn’t really know him at all. But when you’re flown to an island and forced to be with each other every day, you get to know each other very fast.
Does location shooting always help?
Oh yeah, definitely, because not only were we working together, but on our off days we were going on adventures together. It felt like we were really getting to know each other in that way too. We were all hiking through the jungles and exploring different areas of the island together. It was a real fun bonding trip.
So much of the movie feels incredibly spontaneous. How much of this came from being on set and working with Jake?
The script was so funny to begin with that there wasn’t a need to change it that much, but we improvised a lot, and Jake was really into that – doing the script and then opening it up and allowing us to riff and say all kinds of crazy stuff. We all joked when we were making the movie that we shot five movies in three months. We could have edited about five different versions of the movie because of how much footage we shot.
Were you familiar with the real story of Mike and Dave when it broke?
No, I didn’t know about it until I read the script over a year ago. But I looked it up and realized these guys were real and that was pretty amazing. Then I got to meet the guys because the actual Stangle brothers came to the set in Hawaii, which was kind of funny.
It must be weird to see people playing themselves. How were they when they came to set?
Oh, they were loving it. I mean, they had the best time. They couldn’t believe it. And they were like their characters: they were ready to party. They were having a blast.
There’s a lot of heart in this film. How important was that?
I think that Adam and Zac, their performance as brothers is so heartfelt. They genuinely love each other and when we were shooting Zac really felt like Adam was his older brother and you could see that when they were working together. It was really cute. I think a lot of times mean-spirited comedy is easier for people to pull off, but heartfelt comedy is harder. And I think it’s more rewarding. It’s always funnier if something is really grounded and you actually feel something.
Do you think comedy is harder than drama?
Of course it is, yeah. It’s hard to be funny and most people aren’t funny. The irony is the funniest people make it look so easy that you forget that it’s hard.
MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES IS AVAILABLE ON BLU-RAY AND DVD ON 12TH DECEMBER, FROM TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX HOME ENTERTAINMENT