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Why Aubrey Plaza Should Do More Dramatic Roles


Aubrey Plaza is an actress, comedian, and producer, who is best known for starring as April on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation from 2009–2015. Plaza began her acting career by performing improv and sketch comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in 2004, and also performed stand-up at the Laugh Factory and The Improv. She then starred in the online series The Jeannie Tate Show, then appeared in ESPN’s Mayne Street, and the first episode of Funny or Die’s Terrible Decisions with Ben Schwartz.


She obtained her first leading role in Safety Not Guaranteed in 2012, and has continued acting into the present day. For her work spanning decades, she has received accolades, and awards, and was named one of the top 100 influential people in 2023 by Time Magazine.

Plaza is known for her deadpan comedy style, which involves deliberately displaying neutral or no emotion as a comedic delivery to contrast the ridiculousness or absurdity of a subject matter. The delivery is intended as blunt, ironic, laconic, or unintentional. Plaza said, “Being a ‘deadpan’ actor and comedian is harder than people think. Being funny with doing nothing at all is a skill that some people have honed that is really hard. There is a lot going on, even though it seems like there’s nothing going on.

The frustrating thing about being labeled as ‘deadpan’ is that, for me, April Ludgate was a human being that had so many things going on and motivations for everything she said and did.” From her deadpan comedy style, to her performances in various roles, here’s why Aubrey Plaza should do more dramatic roles.

Related: Ryan Reynolds, Jason Momoa and Aubrey Plaza Team Up for R-Rated Hybrid Movie Animal Friends


Career Evolution

Vertical Entertainment

Plaza began her acting career in 2004 performing improv, sketch, and stand-up comedy at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater, the Laugh Factory, and The Improv. She then performed in The Jeannie Tate Show, Mayne Street, Terrible Decisions with Ben Schwartz, Funny People, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Mystery Team. She later obtained her first leading role in Safety Not Guaranteed in 2012 and portrayed April Ludgate in Parks and Recreation from 2009 to 2015.

Aside from performing in television and films, Plaza appeared in music videos for the songs “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings” by Father John Misty and Bona Fide by Cassorla in 2014. Plaza’s early work prepared her for a long acting career and has strengthened her skills as an actress, making her perfect for dramatic roles with the versatility of her foundation.

From 2015 to now, Plaza has starred in and produced various films and television shows and continues working in the entertainment industry as what is known as a deadpan actor. Plaza starred in and produced The Little Hours, Ingrid Goes West, Black Bear, and starred as both Amahl Farouk/Shadow King and Lenny Busker in Legion from 2017 to 2019. Plaza also wrote the children’s book The Legend of the Christmas Witch, with co-author Dan Murphy and illustrator Julia Iredale, and produced and starred in the film Emily the Criminal.

Plaza’s most recent work includes starring in Spin Me Round, The White Lotus, Little Demon, and she was cast in an undisclosed role in the upcoming Agatha: Coven of Chaos. Although labeled as a deadpan actor, Plaza’s performance in each role has proven her skillfulness in portraying dramatic characters and is also the reason why she should do more dramatic roles.

Related: Aubrey Plaza Shares How She Landed Her Role in Operation Fortune: Ruse de Guerre

Past Performances

aubrey plaza
STX Entertainment

Plaza’s past performances have varied from roles written specifically for her to dramatic ones in films she has starred in and produced herself.

Plaza said, “I do not prefer characters that are written for me. In fact, even to this day, when I accept a role, and I hear the words “We’re going to tailor it to you, because you’re so weird,” or whatever it is, I’m, like, “Don’t do that! I’m an actor! I just want to act!” The whole point is to play a character. I think people have a real perception of me. But I would also say that I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad thing. I mean, I’m me. I’m gonna bring myself to every part that I do anyway.”

Plaza explained her dedication to her work by saying, “I think I’ve always been very fueled by rejection. It only made me want it more, because I think I just had that thing inside of me that’s like: ‘I wanna be in the club that I’m not in’ or whatever that is; ‘I want the thing that I can’t have, or the thing that I don’t have. And if you tell me that I’m not good enough, I’ll just find a way to prove you wrong somehow.’” Her determination to succeed in every role she obtains, makes Plaza proficient to do more dramatic roles because of her willpower, skills, and experience both acting in and producing films that have a versatility of dramatic characters.

Related: Aubrey Plaza’s Down for Doing a Buddy Movie with Jenna Ortega After Uniting at SAG Awards

The Aubrey Plaza Thing

aubrey plaza
HBO Entertainment

For her work, Plaza received accolades and awards at the ALMA Awards, Imagen Awards, Independent Spirit Awards, Riviera International Film Festival Awards, Screen Actors Guild Awards, Young Hollywood Awards, and more.

On her ability to successfully perform in versatile roles, Plaza said, “I’m surprised every f****** time. I can’t tell you how many times I’m so sick of hearing all my characters are the same. I don’t know what it is. It’s like there’s something about me… But, I’m always surprised that when I do something new, that there’s always that one person that goes: ‘oh, there she goes doing the Aubrey Plaza thing again.’ And I want to go like, ‘f*** you dude… I only have my own instrument to work with. Anyway, I sound bitter, but I’m not. But I am always surprised that people use ‘deadpan’ to describe some things that I’ve done. It just feels a little reductive. But that’s my journey.”



This story originally appeared on Movieweb

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