Doing comedy isn't anything new for Alison Brie, but convincing herself that she could play over-the-top sexy for a laugh was bit of a stretch. "I guess I don't think of myself as being that sort of go-to
actress that you would approach for a sexy lingerie scene," Brie recently told Refinery29. "Like, 'Get Alison Brie!'"
Brie became a household name in
2009 when she took the role of quirky college student Annie Edison on the
beloved cult sitcom Community.
Between her weekly shenanigans at Greendale Community College and her excellent
recurring role on Mad Men as Trudy
Campbell (Pete's long-suffering, much
better half), Brie learned that even with two wildly different characters, she
had a type. "I think I've always been good at playing Type A characters,
even though I don't think of myself as being a very Type A person. It's just a
character that comes really naturally to me."
So, when it came to auditioning
for the part of a spoiled, superficial trophy fiancée to Will Ferrell's
prison-bound businessman in the new movie Get
Hard — a character that was not exactly her forte — Brie decided to just let loose. "The audition scene is this one where she's in this sexy lingerie and
she's giving him an inspiring speech before he goes to work," Brie said.
she didn't think she had much of a chance, the 32-year-old played it as audaciously as possible. "It
was really freeing. I put on my best push-up bra and a low-cut top, did some
chair straddling, and just really got into it. I think I had way more fun
thinking I would never get the part than by trying super-hard."
The best thing about winning
the role? Working with Ferrell, her comedy idol. "I can't think of anyone
that I'm a bigger fan of in the comedy world," Brie gushed. "Part of your
comedic identity — any person's — is based on the movies you watch and quote
with your friends, and those styles of comedy that you make your own, even
though they're someone else's."
a handful of Ferrell classics as her all-time favorites ("I love Old School. Forever Old School. I love Step
Brothers — recently with a new friend, she started quoting Step Brothers, and we high-fived and
immediately were like, 'Did we just become best friends?'"), and spoke about the
things she learned from him, and from her other hilarious costars like Kevin
Hart (Get Hard), Chevy Chase (Community), and Jason Sudeikis (her
upcoming movie Sleeping with Other People).
"I came from
semi-traditional theater school, avant-garde theater and such. So much of my
comedy education and film education is on the job," Brie said. "I never did
sketch comedy or improv or The Groundlings, but I've been super-lucky to work
with these hilarious guys — comedy all-stars, really — who are also super-sweet
and cool, and I'd just like to suck the comic force out of them and make it my
own. I knew Will and I would have the same sense of humor, because it's his
that I've been stealing for years. And, because of that, when we're on set, it
feels like joking around with a buddy."
Brie knows this role might be a
bit of a shock to people who only know her for her conservative roles, though. "I've played Annie for so long, and there's this innocence that I think people
associate with me," she admitted. "People
really like to think of me as being sort of naïve and sweet and innocent. There
are aspects of me that are certainly naïve about some things, and I am a sweet
person, but I've had much more life experience than the character Annie has."
As for her
other day job, as Trudy on Mad Men? Could
she give us any hints about the upcoming final season, now that it's wrapped
and its notoriously tight-lipped creator can't fire anyone for
spilling secrets? "Nice try — I can't tell you a thing," Brie deadpanned in her
most serious voice. "You know, I would like to work with Matt Weiner again."
Brie. Good call, all around.
Get Hard is in