Alison Brie Likes Rompers, Madewell and Marc Jacobs
If you think Brie is prissy, well, you don't know Brie.
I've liked Alison Brie forever. And her characters, too, even though they're usually high-strung, prissy, and about any other equivalent adjective you can come up with. But that's an over simplification. On Mad Men, as Trudy we often see her as the suburban shrew, always nagging Pete and trying to make him play the role of the perfect husband. But, come on! Pete is an liar, cheater, and generally slithery human being deserving of way more haranguing than she ever could provide. On Community, as Annie Edison, Brie's the classic high school overachiever, but one gone off the rails. And now, in the charming Save the Date, she's cast as the controlling half of a sister duo (the other sibling being Lizzy Caplan, who plays the free-spirit ) whose impending wedding takes the otherwise cool character into bridezilla territory.
Somehow Brie's characters always get to wear the cutest clothes. Annie's Edison's twee style (cardigan central!) is always a favorite of mine and anything Trudy wears on Mad Men is completely drool-worthy. Save the Date's Beth is no style slacker, either: With her little Keds and indie-looking "Hey, I shop at ModCloth" dresses, Brie again wins the wardrobe sweepstakes. Beth is basically Zooey Deschanel, which is never, ever a bad thing.
Lucky recently talked to Brie about everything from her adversion to weddings to her online shopping habit. Read on to hear from the actress in her own words, and don't forget to check out Save the Date (in theaters and on VOD now).
Lucky: What do you think of your character Beth? I don't think there are any bad people in the movie, but she's a bit high-strung.
Brie: It’s true. I think if there was, it would be my character. But I really liked the movie because it seems to give every character a fair chance. Even before I decided to do it I talked to our director, and said, "I really don’t want Beth to come off like a jerk. I don’t want her to be the villain of the movie." And he didn't think she was at all. I was like, "I think she’s just misunderstood," and he was like, "Yeah!" Depending on where you are in your own life or your personal life—if you’re married, if you’re single, if you’re moving in with someone, if you’re recently broken up—you can identify with one of the characters. I read the script and immediately thought, Oh, I know all these people, and I’ve been about half of them at different points in my life.
Of the two sisters, which are you most like? I read that you have an older sister and it sounded like maybe you’re the more free-spirited one and your older sister is more the Type A one?
In my personal life, I am probably more like Caplan’s character or have been in the past. I felt like I was channeling more my sister for the role I was playing. Especially because when we shot the movie she had just been married a year earlier, and I was her maid of honor, so I had gone through a lot of it with her, although I was a lot more helpful than Caplan’s character. After she watched the movie she was like, "Oh my God, I have been in those situations so many times. I understand your character so much." And I was like, "Well, I hope so. I based my character on you."
You tend to get cast as uptight characters. But from everything I've read about you--your naked jogs in college, your days working the clown circuit--you seem like you'd be a blast to hang out with. Why do you think you're always cast in the prim role?
I think it’s my posture. I finally narrowed it down. I used to work in a lot of yoga studios, so I got a lot of free yoga. When were shooting this movie, and this was like the third time it happened, someone said, “You look like you would’ve been into horses and horseback riding.” I thought was so weird, because maybe I've ridden a horse once in my life. I thought, you know, it must just be that because I sit up really straight. I probably look like I have a major stick up my ass a lot of the time. But I really don’t.
That’s hilarious. Maybe it’s just your looks, porcelian skin, very classically pretty.
Yeah, pale skin, dark hair. Thank you. It’s my classic good looks (laugh).
Beth wears the cutest clothes in the movie. What did you think of her style?
Our costume designer was great. She was very collaborative. The whole movie has sort of a hipster feel since the guys are in a band. I think it was important to me that Beth feel cool and the clothes were an important way to tell that story. Because when we meet her in the script she’s already kind of started the transformation into bridezilla territory. I think the audience needs to understand why she fits in the world and why this guy from a band would even be dating her.
I did wonder about that at a certain point.
The clothes were how we wanted to tip people off. She’s cool, she shops at thrift stores, she’s got a bit of a hipster slash rockability style. Even though she’s very responsible, she can still hang with everybody and is an interesting person. It’s not until the end of the movie you hear her say it herself, like, "Why are we having tiramisu?"
Is your own style similar to Beth's?
I don’t think that I go as far into hipster eclectic clothes as I would like to. I aspire to that, but out of laziness I don’t end up doing it. I’m more of a sweater and boots and jeans kind of person these days because it’s almost winter. I’m pretty casual, in general. I grew up in LA and am in shorts and sandals a lot of the time. If I could, I would wear shorts year-round, and these days you can kind of get away with it, so I try. I like rompers too. I just bought a Marc Jacobs wool romper. Anything to keep wearing shorts in the winter! Wool? Yes, please.
Where do you shop in LA?
I’ve recently been a serial online shopper. And it’s mostly Free People or Madewell, and recently Marc by Marc Jacobs. I’ve been binge online shopping, and that’s led to a lot of in-store returns because I end up ordering random test sizes, and then go back to the stores to return things. I need a new plan of action.
Would you like to do a role where you're cast against type, and play a crazy drug addict or something?
I would. I’ve been lucky so far even though the roles I’m playing are Type A characters, they're always something different. Obviously with Mad Men it’s the period, with Community it's because we’re doing comedy, and she’s much younger than I am, and now with this character even though she has that Type A personality, she’s more grounded. So I would like to play something totally against type, maybe more similar to myself. Although I like a transformative character. I like your crazy drug addict idea. That would be fun.
When you put on the Mad Men clothes, do you instantly transform into Trudy?
I definitely have boobs and hips as women should, and I think the clothes are phenomenal in Mad Men. It’s like 80% of the character is already there once you get dressed. Janie Bryant does such an amazing job making the clothing so specific to the characters and to the time period. You can’t help but sit a certain way or walk a certain way when you’re wearing those clothes. And, at this point now, it’s been years of Trudy, so I flip right back into It and immediately feel like her again. It’s a love/hate relationship with the girdles and undergarments that we wear on the show. They’re quite binding; they’re like nothing that women today experience. But they do accentuate a woman’s body in a nice way.
You've mentioned in the past that you've never been the type of girl to fantasize about getting married. How was the wedding dress scene for you?
It felt weird. I would definitely say if I were to get married, I would not be in a dress like that. Or a bridal shops like that. I don’t know, I can’t fully get behind them—they weird me out. I think I mostly just find marriage mostly terrifying, and wedding dresses mostly hideous. If I were to ever get married, I think it would be a different kind of wedding.
Like a hippie California kind of wedding?
Maybe I’d just be barefoot in a little slip. Maybe I’ll just be naked, you know, sweating, why not?
Where do you think Beth and Andrew end up in five years? Do they make it as a couple?
I think they definitely make it. They do. They postpone the wedding for a year, and get married later in a low-key stress free way. I think she comes around and learns a major lesson in this movie. There is such love between those characters.
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