‘Father Figures’ Star Katie Aselton on Family, Fantasy Football and Superheroes

Katie Aselton from FX's 'Legion' poses in the Getty Images Portrait Studio at the 2017 Winter Television Critics Association press tour at the Langham Hotel on January 12, 2017 in Pasadena, California.
 Maarten de Boer/Getty Images Portrait

Katie Aselton is beloved as the guy’s gal from the fantasy-football sitcom The League, but the star of the new comedy Father Figures really wants to be a badass superhero.

Do you play fantasy football in real life?
I play with my nephews because I think it might keep me in the realm of being a cool aunt. I will forever be the Jenny, and I’m pretty damn good even though I auto-draft and don’t know what the hell I’m doing. Still, I won in one of the years in which all of the cast played along with the show’s creators, who love fantasy football. The fact that I won makes me realize that it’s all kind of bullshit.

So you’re the cool aunt. Are you also a cool mom?
I have 5-and 9-year-old girls, and I try to teach them confidence, self-assurance, and to never change yourself. My 9-year- old is definitely aware of boys and how they perceive her, so battling that is a big thing for us. “Why would you change your voice when a boy is talking to you? Why would you pretend not to know how to play flag football? Why is that appealing to a boy?” These are conversations we have on a regular basis, really focusing on confidence and just being truly who you absolutely are.

Did you struggle with that when you were growing up?
Are you kidding me? I’m still in therapy, regularly talking about this bizarre need for validation. In my line of work, we face so much rejection—it messed with my brain and continues to do so on a daily basis.

What do you think makes a woman sexy?
The sexiest women throw their shoulders back and use their big girl voices and don’t think that intelligence is going to compromise their sexuality. I had a real issue with the manic pixie dream girls of yesteryear, who would hunch their shoulders and apologize for being pretty—that’s bullshit. Lake Bell is a beautiful example of how to be strong and sexy and goofy and awkward. Fucking drop your voice down six octaves so you’re the woman with the deepest voice in the world. I just love women who kick ass—Gal Gadot is the freaking shit.

The sexiest women throw their shoulders back and use their big girl voices and don’t think that intelligence is going to compromise their sexuality.

You’re turning 40 this year—have you felt the Hollywood pressure not to age?
I’m getting traditional mom roles handed to me, but I really want to run and shoot. I was psyched to get Legion and go into the Marvel world, but I don’t even get a gun. Nothing. At least give me a superpower! Honestly though, there’s always going to be someone prettier, taller, thinner, with bigger boobs or better hair. What keeps me bolstered is that I work more now than I did when I was 23, when I had no wrinkles and better boobs.

You’ve made a bunch of films with your husband, director and actor Mark Duplass. What is that like?
It’s one of my very favorite things. I like him. I enjoy his company. I find him funny and creatively awesome. There are certain couples who can work together and certain couples who can’t, and it took us many years to get to a point where it was a good, healthy experience.

It was rocky in the beginning?
Our first movie together, The Puffy Chair, wasn’t easy. We’d been dating for two years, and we were playing a couple that was falling apart. I guess I got a lot of free on-camera therapy.

Is it easy to bring home conflict from work?
When we shot my film The Freebie, a really small, intimate movie about a couple whose marriage was rocky, I had scenes with Dax Shepard—in the bed that I share with Mark in our actual house. I think it takes a strong couple to know what’s real and what’s not. On a great day, none of that would threaten you. On a bad day, it all threatens you. It feels scary, but you just have to know where you are as a couple and make sure that both of you are clear, connected, and in a good place.

What’s your advice for staying attracted to someone after 15 years?
Put your head on his shoulder. Just remind each other that you’re next to each other, that you’re in it together. When someone is like, “You’re always too tired” or “You always have a headache,” that’s never going to get you laid. Being able to really connect is the first step, and then the physical stuff can follow. But you get really fucking tired, because the older you get, the fuller your life becomes. I think about me in my early 20s when I met Mark: A busy day for me would be waking up at 10:30, spending an hour getting a latte, going on a hike, going on an audition, and then waiting tables at 6:00. I’d be like, “I had the busiest day.” I was an idiot.

It’s harder now?
We’ve got two kids, we’re both working, and we have a house to maintain and a business to run. It’s constantly going, going, going, so I can see how easily a physical relationship can fall by the way-side. You’re just spent by the time you get home. If you have kids, you feel like your body is not your own. By the time you crawl into bed, you’re like, “Please don’t touch my body. I want it to myself.” But physical touch is so important. I think once you start losing that physicality with each other, then a divide begins.