Aubrey Plaza is an even hotter terror than a sticky, hundred-degree day. In August, she'll become your creepiest Instagram stalker in Matt Spicer's Ingrid Goes West—but first, she plays medieval nun Fernanda in Jeff Baena's The Little Hours, which comes out Friday. Doesn't sound so terrifying, you say? What if I told you she plays a violent, sex-crazed nun who liberally throws around the F-word?
Plaza, who also produced the film, stars alongside Alison Brie and Kate Micucci as sisters who have an increasingly hard time sticking to their vows. All hell breaks loose when a handsome deaf-mute manservant (Dave Franco) arrives to their convent after fleeing a death sentence for sleeping with his lord's wife. Horniness spikes, and temptation becomes too unbearable to resist.
The Little Hours has already faced vehement opposition from the Catholic League for obvious reasons, but this not-quite historically accurate picture actually draws from Biblical research more than you'd expect. We spoke to Plaza about producing as well as starring in the film, going back to her Catholic roots, becoming a weed nun, and using blood as makeup.
VICE: I was keeping a physical tally of how many times you say "fuck" in this movie—I completely lost count. Do you know how many you say?
Aubrey Plaza: No, I have no idea! I'm sure it's a lot.
You produced this as well. What was that like?
A lot of anticipating disasters and putting out fires. It was a very organic, natural role for me to take on.
Where was it shot?
In these little towns throughout Tuscany. We were eating and drinking wine, over and over again. It was like weird adult camp. We'd shoot for so many hours and then we'd find these little restaurants and have awesome food. It was a really hard shoot, but we made the most of it.
Tell me about the research you did. I know you read the Bible for it…
I did read the Bible—from the beginning.
No [Laughs]. I mostly just got through Genesis—but I did a lot of research on prayer services. I was tasked with coming up with all the chapel services in the film. The movie is improvised, so we weren't gonna make John C. Reilly come up with that stuff. It was interesting, because I got to go back to my Catholic roots and remember prayer and stuff like that.
You come from a Catholic background?
Yeah, I do. It's kind of cool to go back there, surprisingly.
I know that the Catholic League was very mad about this movie. Did you hear of anyone else being offended?
I haven't, but I guess we'll have to wait and see. The Catholic League hasn't seen the movie. They've only seen the trailer. They might love it. It's not really an indictment on Catholicism or the Catholic Church. It's an adaptation of a historical text that's been around for 800 years.
You could take them to the movies tomorrow and see if they like it.
I will. I'm going to see the Pope after this. We can do a Q&A at the Arclight in Hollywood.
Does that kind of outrage excite you before a movie comes out?
I don't think so. I don't ever want to do anything that causes outrage. I think it's an interesting dialogue that is happening, but it's missing the point of the movie. It's entertainment. Jeff [Baena] didn't set out to make any kind of political statement or religious statement. It's a little silly.
Why did you want to play this role?
I was really excited by the concept. I thought shooting a period piece that's a comedy sounded really fun, and it's really rare to come across a movie like that that's getting made right now. Not many people are spending money on movies this wild—and, yeah, playing a nun is a dream come true. I love playing anything that's different that I haven't done before.
Do you have a favorite devilish nun from a movie?
Honestly, no. I love Whoopi [Goldberg] but I wouldn't say she's devilish.
Your character draws blood to use as blush. Have you ever used blood as make-up before?
I… have not?
There was some hesitation there.
I don't think I have.
You've never tried using your bloody nose as lipstick?
No! That sounds terrifying.
Alison Brie and Dave Franco are married, what was it like for all of you to go to town with Dave with his wife on set?
I mean, we're all adults, and we're playing characters, so we don't really think about it like that.
I saw that you hung out the with the weed nuns, which I didn't even know was a thing. Did you yourself end up becoming a weed nun?
I am in the process. My time is limited, but I would really like to explore that. I like the lifestyle that they lead. I don't think I can do it full-time, but there were talks of me becoming an honorary nun.
They did mention chastity as one of their vows, which is interesting since they're not real nuns.
They privatize their sexuality, which means they don't flaunt it. But they can do whatever they want.
There's a bit of witchcraft involved here, too. Did you do a lot of research on that?
Yes, I did a lot of research on fertility rituals, summer solstice, summer fertility rites, paganism. I read up on that. A lot. It was really cool.
Are you a witch?
I can't answer that question.
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