‘Emily the Criminal’ star Aubrey Plaza has opened up about “weirding out” Robert De Niro when the two worked together in 2016’s ‘Dirty Grandpa’.
Reflecting on her working relationship with the ‘Raging Bull’ actor (the two actors played lovers in Dan Mazer’s gross-out comedy), Plaza clarified that any way De Niro could have been offended by her behaviour would have been due to her staying committed to her character, reports ‘Variety’.
“I didn’t really have a relationship with him off camera because he’s him,” Plaza said, quoted by ‘Variety’, when asked about how well she and De Niro knew each other. “I didn’t have time to get to know him, he shows up in a puff of smoke and there’s no chatting at the water cooler.”
The actor explained how focused she remains when playing character — in that film, as the provocative Lenore — and that any experience De Niro had with her was when she was Lenore. “By the time he’d show up, I’m in character. My character had one goal: To have s*x with him. I was acting totally insane as the character because we were about to shoot. I don’t think he understood that it wasn’t me. You’d think he would because he’s an actor and an amazing one.”
According to ‘Variety’, Plaza said one of her agents “heard Bob’s a little freaked out”, and that later in the shoot De Niro hosted a lunch for the cast and crew and didn’t know who Plaza was as she was no longer in character. “I showed up and he’s like, ‘Who are you sweetheart?’ and after that he was normal. At first I think I came on really strong. I did some questionable things I wouldn’t do anymore.”
The actress went on to discuss her perceived behaviour on set and in the media, saying that talk shows “short circuit my brain”, and promising the audience that “having an uncomfortable time is not on purpose”.
Plaza, whose background in improv comedy led to her breakout role as April on the beloved sitcom ‘Parks And Recreation’, said the talk show format is “the opposite of improv” and explained her struggle.
“The worst thing you can do at improv is plan a joke,” she explained. “So talk shows short circuit my brain. Planning a story or a joke feels so wrong to me.”