Gillian Jacobs Talks ‘Walk of Shame,’ Six Seasons and a Movie for ‘Community’ and Kissing Adam Brody in Front of Leighton Meester
You know Gillian Jacobs best as Britta on Community. But this summer you can catch her alongside Elizabeth Banks in Walk of Shame where she plays Banks’ “no nonsense” best friend. Celebuzz spoke with Jacobs about the movie, which comes out this Friday, May 2, as well as Community‘s chances for a sixth season.
Celebuzz: How did you get involved with Walk of Shame?
Gillian Jacobs: I read the script and I auditioned for [writer/director] Steve Brill and you know, I think I came in a couple of times and I think I read for both of the friend parts now thinking back. You know, this was like so many other movies, but I actually got this part so it was a nice change.
You know, I hate to use this label because it sort of sounds reductive which isn’t how I intend it. But, Walk of Shame comes a time when a lot of “raunchy female comedies” are coming out and I was wondering if you have any thoughts on why these types of movies are becoming so popular?
Um, maybe because women haven’t been allowed to be raunchy for so long that, you know… Well Bridesmaids was on cable this weekend and I was re-watching it and maybe the success of that film has given women space to be weird and dirty and all the kinds of things that men get to be all the time.
I think definitely there is sort of a thirst to see some equality in behaviors in film and television and I feel like, especially with comedies, there are a lot of women who are pushing boundaries and are popular for doing so.
Well, you know, it’s really cool, and really exciting too, to watch someone like Elizabeth Banks become a producer and now director too. So I’m just excited to see what she does going forward because you know, she’s a really smart, funny woman.
In the movie you play Elizabeth Bank’s best friend and there’s sort of a storied history to the best friend in a romantic comedy role, so I was wondering if there is someone who sticks out to you as a favorite rom com best friend?
Oh wow. Tough question! Um, let me think about that. I’m not the most encyclopedic person when it comes to movies. There are huge gaps in my movie viewings. My mom didn’t let me watch a lot of things when I was growing up. So, like, I’ve seen Mannequin 2 a lot and some of those random movies of the ’80s. Like I never got to see any of the John Hughes movies but I watched The Boy Who Could Fly a lot. I don’t know that I have a great answer for that. Do you have one that can maybe spark my memory?
For me, Judy Greer always comes to mind. She’s like the Meryl Streep of best friend roles.
Well she’s just a fantastic actress. I mean you’d want to watch Judy Greer read the phone book.
Season five of Community just ended. Is there any word on season six?
No definite word yet but, you know, I remain optimistic as always.
And is the ultimate goal still six seasons and a movie?
Well, it started as a throwaway joke, in our second season the character Abed was obsessed with a show that Joel McHale’s character said was going to get canceled after, you know, four episodes and Abed shot back like “Six seasons and a movie!” meaning that’s the benchmark of success to Abed, having a show run for six seasons and then get a movie. And the fans of our show really just latched onto it from that episode and turned it into a hashtag and then that hashtag kind of took on a life of its own and it became a real rallying cry for the show and now sort of our goal, a prophecy that… we will see if it comes true or not. It would sort of be incredible, I don’t know how often a throwaway joke on the second season of a TV show can turn into a movie, but it would be kind of amazing if it did!
Well there’s even rumors that NBCUniversal is starting to look at directors for the movie, so it’s looking like it’s a definite possibility. But your show’s entire success has been because of really, really rabid fans who hold it so dear. What is it like working on a show like that?
I mean I think it’s the thing that keeps you going, when your show you know is always on the verge of cancelation and you don’t know if you’re on the schedule or not and, you know, we don’t get the greatest ratings in the world but you know that you’re creating something that really means something to people and really resonates with them and brings them a lot of joy. You know, it’s what keeps us excited and engaged and always hoping to do more.
I think the idea that a niche show can be successful on television is sort of the status quo now, but you guys have been on for five years and, you know, five years ago that wasn’t really the goal, especially networks [who were] looking for wide hits. And now, nothing is ever going to be I Love Lucy, so it seems like networks are taking a lot more risks on things that they hope will resonate really strongly with a specific set of people. Do you feel like you, if not started that, at least showed studios that this can be successful?
Well I think we are a very interesting bridge show from the era before internet total dominance into, you know, what is now a totally internet dominant era. I also think that we are one of those shows where our audience doesn’t even necessarily own a TV, which is now the reality and it’s hard because we are on NBC we are not considered a hit but were we on a cable network we would be considered a hit. So, you know, it’s all about your frame of reference these days, with what’s considered a success or not. But I think that, hopefully we’ve shown that if you make a show that really appeals to a specific group of people they will become very engaged and active in their viewership and I think ultimately that’s really appealing to networks and advertisers, a really engaged audience.
You’ve got another movie premiering at Tribeca [Film Festival] right now, Life Partners. In that you play Leighton Meester’s best friend and you also play the romantic interest of Adam Brody. What’s it like playing between a real-life couple like that?
You know, I’ve known Adam for years but I’m just an awkward person in general so I was probably the most awkward about the whole situation. They are two very relaxed, chill people who just don’t care and I was [thinking], “Ahhh! This is weird! This is weird!” But, you know, they couldn’t care less. Leighton is so lovely and I think they didn’t care at all.
This interview has been condensed and edited.