Despite starring in two popular TV shows, Alison Brie is not known as Pete Campbell’s dutiful wife, Trudy, on AMC’s “Mad Men,” nor the straight-laced Annie Edison on NBC’s “Community.” She’s a household name — everyone knows her simply as Alison Brie, (or, according to every guy I know, “the woman I will marry one day”).
So, to the delight of fanboys everywhere, the star’s taking her talents to the big screen in “The Five Year Engagement.” The comedy, brought to you by “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” team Nicholas Stoller and Jason Segel, along with producer Judd Apatow, follows a cursed couple (Segel and Emily Blunt) on their very, very long walk to the alter. Here, Brie plays Blunt’s zany sister who dons a British — and dead-on accurate Elmo — accent.
Moviefone chatted with Brie about her upcoming movie, Jason Segel going full-frontal and who the bigger asshole is, Pete Cambpell or Pierce Hawthorne.
I felt like this movie had a “Four Weddings and a Funeral” vibe.
Wow. You know, I hadn’t thought about that at first — it’s a great compliment for the movie. “Four Weddings and a Funeral” is one of my favorite romantic comedies. It’s saved on my DVR.
Do you have an all-time favorite wedding comedy?
[“Four Weddings and a Funeral”] is definitely one of them and probably “My Best Friends Wedding” — I think that’s a great wedding romantic comedy. “I could be jello.” “You’re never gonna be jello.” [Laughs.]
I know that Emily Blunt helped you with the accent, but I heard that you were practicing in your car before you got the part.
I was. I just sort of on a whim thought it would be a good idea to brush up on a British accent, so I’d been [listening to] … these accent CDs on my way to work in the morning and on my way home. So it was like fate.
What other accents do you do?
I had a couple other CDs — Irish and German — but I couldn’t just whip them out. I’d have to go back and brush up on the CDs.
What about Elmo? Was he in your repertoire before you were cast?
Not at all. It’s a new-found talent. It’s so funny because I was so focused on the British accent prior to going into the table read, and I pulled up a YouTube video of Elmo singing “Elmo’s Song” and watched it a few times and I was like, “Oh, OK. Got that.” And I went back to focusing on the British, and yet it’s the Elmo voice that totally got me the job. I’ve called [Nicholas Stoller] on it; he’s confirmed it. He was so excited about my Elmo voice after the table read.
In the movie, Chris Pratt tries to woo you with a pretty lame pick-up line. Are you often the victim of that in real life?
People don’t use a ton of pick-up lines on me. I don’t know that people use pick-up lines. Although, I do feel like there’s a new thing that guys are doing where they, like, insult girls. Like, they think that that’s the move. And I gotta say, it is not the move. Like, get out of here.
Well, my friend saw you in concert and said that your “smile is like a sunrise.”
Wow. Who’s your friend? I think I should probably go out with him. [Laughs.]
Everyone reacts to you like that! Do you have creepy groupies now?
There were definitely some odd characters at that show in particular. But I was so happy that we had such a good turnout. It was the first time we had ever played a show. It’s not like we’re really a “band” — just me and my girlfriends [and] we love to sing. But it’s definitely just for fun. My album is not dropping anytime soon. We’re not really taking it seriously, we just sing cover songs … We’re looking forward to doing a little, small show in LA on Cinco de Mayo, and then we’ll go from there.
Was there much thought put into the name of the band?
No! [Laughs] No, there was not. I think we just didn’t take ourselves seriously as a “band,” and really we were calling ourselves “The Girls Who Sing Other People’s Songs.”
There was a ton of talk that Jason Segel was going to do full frontal in this movie. Was that a running joke on-set?
Well, anyone who’s seen “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” knows about Jason Segel’s full frontal. Unfortunately, the full-frontal scene got cut from the movie so, yeah, we just basically made him do full frontal all the time on-set. We’d be like, “Jason, if we’re not going to see it in theaters, we need to see it now.”
And then he would strip down from his bunny suit?
He had an alternate bunny suit that was just the top half of a bunny suit. And then he would just be naked on the bottom. It was weird! And even though he wasn’t working that day, he would just come to set, like, wearing that. [Laughs.]
Did you ever play around with the bunny suit?
No. Because, you know, after a big, sweaty dude’s been wearing it all day… it wasn’t like, “I want to put that on! That’s what I want to wear.”
Do you think pairing you up with Chris Pratt was a sneaky ploy by NBC to promote two of its hit shows?
[Laughs] I wish it was! We certainly need help with the promotion. But I think it was just a happy accident. Chris is so funny and he’s so sweet and I feel like even though we had seen each other around, we really hadn’t properly met until this project, and [we] just hit it off right away.
Who would you say is the bigger asshole: Pete Campbell or Pierce Hawthorne?
Oh. That is a tough one. I guess, I mean, I might say Pete Campbell because I think that Pierce doesn’t really realize all the time what he’s doing wrong — like he doesn’t mean to be a jerk, he kind of just doesn’t know any better. Whereas Pete’s actions seem so premeditated.
I know tensions are running high on “Community.” Do you ever feel it on-set?
No, no. We have so much fun on-set and we really are a tight-knit group and any of this stuff that’s been happening, it’s really all just been happening since we’ve been on hiatus and I’ve been out of town… It hasn’t really been at the forefront of my mind and honestly, when I think about the show, I’m trying to put my energy into praying for a fourth season. That’s kind of where my mind is at with the whole thing.
Do you have any hopes for Annie in the fourth season?
Well, I just hope we get a fourth season, and then I don’t care. They can do anything with this character. I’ll do anything.
Even wear a bunny suit?
I will wear a sweaty, smelly, Jason Segel-worn bunny suit everyday to work. Not even on the show, just to and from work.