Cine Latino: 'To Do List''s Aubrey Plaza Talks Sexy Breathing and Masturbation (Exclusive)

Cine Latino: 'To Do List''s Aubrey Plaza Talks Sexy Breathing and Masturbation (Exclusive)

Jul 24, 2013

Cine Latino covers, well, all things relating to Latino culture and the movies, every Wednesday.

Aubrey Plaza is barefoot, crawling on the off-white hotel room carpet floor in a blue minidress, her five-inch designer heels tossed aside in the Four Seasons hotel room. The To Do List star flashes her pearly whites, gets up, and welcomes me into the living room, where we share a loveseat and she proceeds to tell all about her impressive masturbating skills, learning the art of sexy breathing and her most embarrassing moments on set. This is all somehow appropriate given her movie, about a nerdy high school valedictorian trying to lose her virginity before she goes off to college. The film marks the directorial debut of Maggie Carey, whose husband, Bill Hader, also stars in the film alongside Rachel Bilson, Ali Shawkat, Sarah Steele and Johnny Simmons.

Movies.com: This film celebrates girl power in an unconventional way. You're not necessarily kicking ass but you're taking ownership of your own sexuality.

Aubrey Plaza: I'm getting ass in this movie. [Laughs] I never read a script that explored the female perspective on that time in a girl's life when she's going through so many firsts in such an honest way. I just really liked the character, I thought the combination of having a really type A, overachiever kind of girl that's really curious about sex is just such a funny idea to me. I liked that the filmmaker was a female and that her inspirations came from her own experiences. It made me feel like this was going to be a really special movie and different than anything that has been made.

Movies.com: Did you have your own to-do list in high school like your character Brandy?

Plaza: I never had a sexual to-do list. Not at all. I mean, I was curious, in the back of my head I probably had a mental list of things that I hadn’t done that I was curious about but I wasn’t as organized as Brandy Clark in the movie. I wasn’t able to articulate it in that way.

Movies.com: What sort of personal skill did you bring to your character?

Plaza: I brought some amazing masturbation techniques to my character, which includes two handers going in opposite directions. I created that myself… feel free to use it.

Movies.com: Was the masturbating scene a walk in the park or a nightmare to shoot?

Plaza: It was really humiliating. It was a nightmare but it was done for comedy sake. I just try not to take it too seriously but I was surrounded by a bunch of grown men, crew workers that were just watching me do that so that was extra humiliating but there was no way around it. When I got on set there was a camera mounted to the ceiling directly above the bed.

Movies.com: What about the "back door" scene?

Plaza: Actually, every scene in the movie was embarrassing. OK, soooo, I haven’t seen the completed movie so I haven't seen the back door scene… not sure how that looks. I can only imagine.

Honestly, the most humiliating parts of the movie were any time I had to do breathe really heavily or make loud sounds. I just feel like sounds are so private, you know, you never want to hear someone else's sexy breathing. I don’t want to hear that.

Movies.com: Did someone coach you on the heavy breathing?

Plaza: Maggie gave a lot of orgasm line readings. You know when you say a word over and over again it starts to lose meaning? That happened to me with those sex sounds. I would be breathing and after a while I wouldn't know what I sounded like. So, Maggie would come over and be like, do it like this, and that was embarrassing… to be coached on how to breathe.

Movies.com: There's a scene in the movie where you and Johnny Simmons talk about the meaning of sex and it's almost like a moral of the story moment.

Plaza: I think one of the morals is, no matter how many guys are in our lives our female friendships are really important and those are going to last forever. I mean, we are all going to outlive the men anyway so we need to keep our female bonds strong.

Movies.com: Let's talk about some of your accolades. You won an ALMA Award last year for favorite movie actress in a comedy and this year you're up for an IMAGEN Award. How does it feel to be embraced by the Latino community?

Plaza: I know! I'm so excited! It's awesome. I'm half Puerto Rican and Latino fans remind me of that side of my family. The culture is so family oriented. Whenever I'm at the ALMA Awards or IMAGEN Awards there's just a really familiar feeling that I get when I'm around those kinds of people. They are just nice and open and it feels like being at your grandparents' house. It's just fun. I don’t feel judged.  

Movies.com: Will we see you collaborating with Latino actors or filmmakers? Why aren't you in Robert Rodriguez's Machete Kills?

Plaza: I would totally be in a Robert Rodriguez movie. Absolutely hands down I would love to do that.

Movies.com: What's on your current to-do list?

Plaza: I really want to do a romantic comedy. I just grew up loving old-school romantic comedies, like Meg Ryan movies. I want to do a movie like that. I want to try more physical comedy. This movie was a bit physical but I want to keep doing stuff like that, whether it's an action movie or anything. I just like the idea of being more physical and using different skills.

Movies.com: Like the ladies of The Heat? What's your take on female comedians in Hollywood?

Plaza: There are amazing female comedians in Hollywood right now. I just saw The Heat the other day and Sandra Bullock is definitely one of my role models. Her career is so amazing to me and she's been my hero for a long time. I think Melissa McCarthy is seriously a genius, she keeps killing it.

Movies.com: You're known for playing sarcastic and offbeat characters. How does it feel when people describe you as "sexy"?

Plaza: Ah, thank you. I mean, I'll take it. I'll take whatever I can get at this point. If my middle school self knew that was going to happen, I would not believe it. I don’t think I was ever considered a hottie growing up so it's kind of funny to me but I'm honored to be considered a hottie.

Movies.com: Seems like your career is in full steam, so how are you handling fame?

Plaza: I just try to focus on working, being an artist and making smart choices for myself and that stuff will just come and go. I'll deal with it as it happens.

I went to dinner last night and someone recognized me and came up to me to take a picture and the security guard came up to me and said, "Do you need me to do something about it?" I'm like, "No, no one cares about me." And then I thought, "Wait. Do they care about me?" It's weird. It doesn't really happen that often but also I never leave my house so I wouldn't know anyway. I just sit in the dark… and watch Netflix and Game of Thrones.

Categories: Cine Latino, Interviews, Indie
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