Alison Brie, the Golden Globe–nominated star of GLOW and this month’s revenge thriller Promising Young Woman, talks being a clown for hire and returning to her nudist roots.
But first, the basics:
Hometown: Los Angeles
Top 5 Flowers to Buy for Your Sweetie:
You have one season left playing a wrestler on GLOW. What will you miss about the role?
Oh my God, everything. I think what I will miss the most, which I’m nervous that will never happen again in any other job ever, is getting to play such a myriad of levels.
Getting to do it all: broad, hammy comedy and very serious, nuanced drama, all within the same episode. Plus, we have wrestling, which lets me work other muscles—figuratively and quite literally.
How have you enjoyed the process of getting into wrestling shape?
I’ve become so addicted to lifting heavy weights and working my body in the gym. Wrestling really has changed the way that I view my body, and strength training goes hand in hand with that.
You stop thinking about yourself as an actress, trying to be skinny for roles. You start thinking about yourself as an athlete, wanting to be really strong to execute these moves on the show.
“Washing the dishes is always a good thing. And getting a woman flowers will never get old.”
Speaking of body stuff, GLOW is the first time you’ve done nudity onscreen. Was that weird?
It wasn’t weird at all. It was actually freeing and fun. I’ve always been a naked person.
A naked person?
In college, I was bit of a nudist. I have no problem with nudity. But at the same time, it’s not something I took lightly. I never made a steadfast rule that I’m not going to do nudity, but everything that came my way involved nudity just didn’t seem to merit it to me. I’m glad that I waited—because I got to do it for the first time on a project that was created by women, that was celebrating women’s bodies.
Sorry, but I have to ask: What do you mean that you were a nudist in college?
I went to Cal Arts and studied theater. It’s always been a very experimental school that enables students to feel boundary-less in their art. When I was there, clothing was only required in the cafeteria. I would exercise my right to be naked—taking a jog through school naked, or making my roommate laugh by hanging naked from the tree outside our dorm. It was just funny to me. Kind of still is.
Were you always a kind of class clown?
I was a literal clown—a birthday-party clown as a summer job between high school and college. It actually helped me as an actress in terms of fearlessness when going into auditions, because there will be nothing scarier than entertaining a group of 20 seven-year-olds for an hour.
You’ve talked about not wanting to have kids. Is that because of those seven-year-olds?
I’ve never really wanted to have kids, and I still feel that way. And I’m lucky that I’m married to a man [actor Dave Franco] who also is not interested in having kids. But we do reserve the right to change our minds.
Promising Young Woman is a thriller about a very different type of man, and a woman’s gruesome revenge. What drew you to the project?
The concept is extremely timely—looking at the different ways that men and women have defined sexual consent, and how we can all get on the same page. Yet the film does it in such a delicious way that it’s compelling and fun to watch.
What does romance mean to you?
I think everyone wants to feel appreciated, understood, and empathized with. A lot of the time men feel like they need to solve every problem for a woman, but women just want to be listened to and appreciated. Sometimes it’s just enough to acknowledge, “Thank you for making dinner; it’s delicious.” Washing the dishes is always a good thing. Getting a woman flowers will never get old.
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