Alison Brie on 'The Five-Year Engagement' & Wearing Fascinators: 'I Feel Like a Showgirl'
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By Molly McGonigle
It's official: Alison Brie is one of the coolest funny ladies around. We already loved her on "Mad Men" and "Community," but we think you will be just as obsessed with her after her role in "The Five-Year Engagement." Wonderwall got the chance to catch up with Alison Brie to talk about starring in the movie, rocking fascinators, and perfecting her British accent. Plus, she even details what it was like working with kids and why she loves "Community" so much.
You get to wear a fascinator in the movie, was that something you were excited to do -- especially after all the hype about them after the royal wedding?
Alison Brie: I feel like a showgirl in it. It was really fun. There are a lot of interesting clothes for me in this project. I'm kinda living this dream in a way.
Since this is a Jason Segel movie, we have to ask. Is the comedy more raunchy or highbrow?
You don't want the whole movie to be f---- and sh---. There's other comedy.
Was it hard to master a British accent, since you play Emily Blunt's sister in the movie?
Well, when they first approached me about the table read, and then they called me back and asked me to do a British accent, I had worked a bit with a CD. … And then I actually, embarrassingly rented "The Devil Wears Prada" and just watched Emily's scenes again and again, 'cause I was like I really wanna sound like Emily. Once we started to work on the film, I started working with a dialect coach. … [Then] Emily became on-set dialect coach. I think normally working with a dialect, you just get your lines, you memorize your lines, and it's really easy to finely tune an accent for those specific lines. But here, so much of it is improv. It's coming up with stuff, and then you pitching something, and then you guys creating new lines two minutes before you say them. So it's not all the improv in the moment, but I still just have five minutes to rework it in my head and run it past Emily maybe, and give it a go. I've been having fun with it.
Did Emily help you out with fine-tuning your British accent?
Emily is so great about it. She's so cool and helpful. And that was the whole point about it, that even working with a dialect coach, we didn't want to go too far and just sound super British, because they live in America. And I wanted to sound like Emily sounds.
As a person without kids, was it hard to adjust to working with kids of different ages through the five years that the movie covers?
We worked with a little girl, Zoe, who was 4. And we worked with little boys who were 2, or almost 2. The good news is I look like a really good mom, because they're holding onto me for dear life like "Nooooo! Save us from him [Chris Pratt, her husband in the movie]!"
What were the challenges of working with kids that you couldn't necessarily control?
You can't just get your kids to be quiet when you want them to be quiet. Also, Zoe, our daughter, she's adorable, but she does not like to sit still. I think the most difficult scene we filmed with her was where we just had to lay there and be asleep. And she was just kinda like, "Why?" She was like, "What if I lay and sleep like this?" And we were like, "No, people don't do that." But it's funny to have to explain the "why" of this job to a 4-year-old. It just doesn't make any sense to her. "Just lie here for five more minutes. They're gonna pay you a bunch of money to lie here."
What's the best part about working on your other comedic role on "Community?"
We're part of a good crowd, good company. And I think in that respect, we're able to be a bit more creative. I know that they give a lot of creative freedom to our showrunner, Dan Harmon, and I feel like we're able to push the envelope a little more, which is nice on a network television show ... to kinda feel like you can go outta bounds.
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