10Q: Alison Brie
by RAHA LEWIS / photograph by KAYT JONES
There’s no place like home for Alison Brie. Raised in South Pasadena, she showed up on Hollywood’s doorstep and was soon welcomed into hit shows with open arms. On AMC’s Mad Men, she tastefully agitates the viewer as uppity Trudy Campbell, and she paints a most intriguing picture of the coming of age of straitlaced college student Annie Edison on NBC’s Community.
She’s the quintessential girl next door. Or is she? The actress certainly has a wild side. She sent a few ripples into the world when she joined comedians and actors in penning her youthful sexual misdeeds in Alexandra Lydon and Laura Kindred’s Worst Laid Plans: When Bad Sex Happens to Good People. So we wanted to, ahem, delve deeper...
1. How much of you is in Community’s Annie?
I connect with the fact that she didn’t come out of her shell until college, where there is this sea of boys, and every one of them is a possibility. Dan Harmon, the creator, recently said the character of Annie is becoming more sexual because he’s taking a cue from me. I was like, “Wait, wait! Does that mean you think I’m sexy?” I’ll take that.
2. Perhaps it had something to do with Worst Laid Plans. You called yourself a “self-proclaimed captain of coitus.”
Out of context, it seems very graphic, but it was meant solely for comedy. It stemmed from an Upright Citizens Brigade show, with the most amazing people [Amy Poehler and Janeane Garofalo among them]. Even though college was an experimental time, I definitely embellished to set the story in a more humorous context. I was also sure my story was going to be buried in this book—37 other brilliant actors contributed. When I saw the reaction, I called my mom and said, “Hey, remember that story? People think I’m a freaky freak now.”
3. Annie is so incredibly buttoned down. Are we ever going to see her flip out?
She has had some crying episodes. And she has never been popular, so I think anything threatening the group would be a real jolt to her otherwise composed demeanor.
4. Does she secretly want to dominate or be dominated?
She’s in control so much that maybe being dominated would be a break from her uptightness. She’s like a schoolgirl you want to be naughty with. You know, What is under the blouse that’s buttoned up so high?
5. Is there any of that in you?
Like Annie, I think I had a lot of innocence—and I somehow still do. I try to be very much in control when it comes to work. I have a strong work ethic. So, I suppose there would some be room for domination.
6. Okay, over to Mad Men—and we’re so glad it’s back, by the way. I read that creator Matt Weiner said Trudy is just like you.
I get pigeonholed into type-A personality characters, but I’m really not type A. I’m kind of a spaz. I think the common link between Trudy, Annie and myself is drive.
7. Is there a character you are dying to play?
I always wanted to play a mental patient. I was fascinated with playing crazy people in college, and I don’t know if I ever quite perfected it.
8. Do you think “sexy” has an age limit?
Not if you can still have fun with it. I think owning your sexuality is great—having a sense of humor about it is even better.
9. Is there a male celebrity who knocks your socks off?
Robert Downey Jr. He is such a talented actor, and I think I have always been more attracted to talent than I have been to people’s appearance. But yes, he is very hot.
10. You did a Charleston on Mad Men recently. Do you have a favorite style of dance?
Honestly, my favorite kind of dancing is just lettin’ loose. There’s something great about the carefree flinging of your body to great music. It can be so joyous. And when you have great friends to dance with, that’s a really fun time. My favorite kind of dance to watch is ballet. I’m in such awe of what the human body is capable of. Watching it brings up a combination of awe and jealousy—a good jealousy, though.