Aubrey Plaza gave a keynote ‘screen talk’ at the London Film Festival Monday where she revealed she received a call from her agent during the shoot of Dirty Grandpa telling her that her co-star, Robert De Niro, was “freaked out” by her behavior on set.
Plaza said she received the call early during the shoot for the film, in which she plays De Niro’s much younger love interest.
“I auditioned to get that part. I really wanted that part. I created the character for myself and I wanted to make the most of it. I’m working with De Niro. I’m playing his love interest. Nothing’s going to stop me,” she told the festival audience. “But I didn’t get time with him. There wasn’t time to get to know him or anything like that. He shows up like a puff of smoke when he’s shooting. There’s no chatting at the water cooler. When he shows up, it’s time to shoot.”
Plaza said that as a result, she wasn’t able to become familiar with De Niro, and he may have misinterpreted her method-acting as her actual personality.
“My character had one goal, which is to have sex with him. That was my motivation. And I’m wearing a wig in the film. I was acting totally insane like the character because we were about to shoot,” she said. “I stayed in character because that’s what I do. I don’t think he understood that that wasn’t me. You’d think he would because he’s an actor and a great actor.”
Plaza said that she was “all over” De Niro because she was trying to build up on-screen chemistry.
“Most of our scenes were making out and saying dirty stuff to each other. It was ridiculous,” she said.
Plaza concluded that she mended her off-screen relationship with De Niro a few months into the shoot when he invited the cast and crew to his home for lunch. Plaza said at first De Niro didn’t recognize her when he clocked her at the luncheon. But when she re-introduced herself, the pair became fast friends.
“After that he loved me. We really got along. And I think it clicked for him at that point,” she said.
Later during the keynote, Plaza dedicated an extended period to discussing her shift to producing films. Plaza said that while 2017’s Ingrid Goes West was her second producing credit, it felt like the first film she had a large input into creating.
“I remember reading the script, which I got through my agent and I knew the director and I just saw the whole movie,” she said. “I got really fired up about it and got a meeting with Matt Spicer who is a co-writer and directed the movie.”
Plaza said she “demanded” that Spicer cast her in the film and she forced her way into grabbing a producer’s credit.
“I was just very determined to not only act in the movie but be a producer on it so that I could have more influence over the movie because I had a really strong feeling about it. I felt like I understood how to make it good,” she said.
Plaza added that she wants to continue working behind the camera and plans to move into directing, but she will only direct something she has written.
“I wanna direct. I’m just very precious about it and I’ve been offered to direct a lot at this point but I just feel strongly that I wanna direct something I’ve written myself,” she said. “I have written something that I will direct, but I’m just very busy. But I’ll get there.”
Plaza latest producer credit Emily the Criminal screens as part of the London Film Festival.
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