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Aubrey Plaza and Director Jeff Baena Reveal the Highs and Lows of Dating Your Creative Collaborator

The real-life couple collaborated on "The Little Hours," but that doesn't mean they see eye to eye on everything.

Aubrey Plaza and Jeff Baena'Life After Beth' film premiere at the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Scotland, Britain - 26 Jun 2014

Aubrey Plaza and Jeff Baena

LNP/REX/Shutterstock

JB: There aren’t that many studio comedies anymore. They’re really few and far between. They justify the budget they have for those films by doing a movie by committee. I think the studios ultimately see that the biggest return on their dollar coming from superhero and action movies. A lot of the comedies that studios make don’t perform as well in the foreign marketplace, and studios are counting on that money as well, so there is a dearth of comedies. Independent films are trying to fill that gap.

AP: It’s really hard to find a good script. Most things I read are terrible. I like big movies, though. I appreciate a big, high-concept movie, including romantic comedies. But I haven’t seen a really good one in a long time. It’s a shame.

Zac Efron, Aubrey Plaza, Anna Kendrick, and Adam Devine in Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates

“Mike And Dave Need Wedding Dates”

JB: This not because Aubrey is my girlfriend, but I think “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” is a really funny movie. I was surprised at how funny it was.

AP: I love that movie.

JB: There are so many laughs in it.

AP: But even with something like that, you do have to fight a little harder to get your shit in there — doing something interesting.

JB: When you describe one thing as having a market, it’s so reductive. A lot of it is capturing lightning in a bottle.

AP: Just because one movie is really good doesn’t mean you have to make a bunch of movies like it.

JB: “Bridesmaids” was a big hit, and before that, you had Jeff Robinov making a comment in some Warner Bros. meeting about how he didn’t want to do movies with women leads. Then “Bridesmaids” happened and all of a sudden you had all these female-led studio comedies. They’re just chasing the dragon. If studios took chances and tried different things, novelty is generally what works the most. You don’t tell the same joke over and over again. If you come up with a new joke, it will be funny.

Bridesmaids

“Bridesmaids”

Universal Pictures

AP: It’s a success if somebody sees a movie in a theater, but it’s great if they watch them at home, too. If that’s what it takes to have the movie seen, then I’m fine with that.

JB: “Joshy,” which was released by Hulu, was interesting because I thought it was getting more a theatrical deal rather than a day and date deal. Day and date deals are really limiting in a theatrical release because a lot of theaters don’t want to show them. The theatrical almost feels superfluous. I’m all about different avenues for showing movies. I have a nice surround-sound setup with a projector in my house, but that’s not the same thing as watching it with a bunch of strangers in a theater.

I think it’s a shame that there isn’t overall support for people to get off their butts to see movies. It’s like takeout. If you eat at a restaurant, it tastes amazing. But if you get takeout, it’s still great, but it’s not as good.

AP: I mean…OK… [laughs]

JB: It is! It’s true! And day and date is like, they have a bar where you can order food, but you don’t go to it, because your apartment’s nearby….

AP: All right, whatever. Some people don’t go restaurants.

JB: Yeah, it’s an analogy. It’s like, you could go to McDonald’s and eat it there fresh, straight of the kitchen, or get it in the drive through, bring it home, and the fries are soggy.

AP: Look, I grew up watching VHS tapes of things like “My Best Friend’s Wedding.” I watched that over and over again on my television. That was fun! I just want to make a good movie. I don’t care where anyone watches it. I want people to feel something in it.

JB: The reason we did the deal with Gunpowder and Sky to release “The Little Hours” is because it’s not day and date. I think there’s a place for it, and 85 percent of the offers for the movie at Sundance were day and date. But I think if you have a chance to take a risk —

AP: — and it is a risk —

JB: — then you should take it.

AP: That’s the plan for “Ingrid Goes West.” I hope people go see it. Go see it!

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