Five Favorite Films

Gillian Jacobs' Five Favorite Films

The Walk of Shame and Community star chats about her new film, partying sober, and Darkwing Duck.

by | April 30, 2014 | Comments


When Gillian Jacobs won the role of Britta Perry, the rebellious activist and armchair psychologist of the Greendale gang on NBC’s Community, the world had yet to see what comic potential she possessed. Until then, Jacobs had primarily taken darker roles in films like Choke and The Box. But she positively sparkled alongside a talented cast that included Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, and Ken Jeong, and it’s paved the way for further comedy roles.

Next up for Jacobs is Walk of Shame, which opens this week and stars Elizabeth Banks as Meghan Miles, a TV news anchor who finds herself stranded in the wrong part of town after a night of partying. RT spoke with Jacobs about her role as Meghan’s BFF Rose, working with comedy vets, and what it’s like to party “stone cold sober.” But first, here are Gillian Jacobs’ Five Favorite Films:

American Movie (Chris Smith, 1999; 94% Tomatometer)

You know, a movie that I always come back to, which is a documentary — I hope that’s okay — is American Movie, which I think is one of the funniest and saddest movies I’ve ever seen. So quotable. And it really says a lot about hope, optimism, naivete, the movie business. Even though they’re hundreds of miles away from LA and have no real access to Hollywood… I just love that movie so much.

Fanny & Alexander (Ingmar Bergman, 1982; 100% Tomatometer)

A movie that I’ve seen probably the most is Fanny & Alexander, the Ingmar Bergman movie. I even dragged my friends to the super long version that had an intermission. I don’t know how much they liked me that day.

The Philadelphia Story (George Cukor, 1940; 100% Tomatometer)

Well, I was a super fan of Katharine Hepburn as a kid, so let’s say The Philadelphia Story. I also really loved Cary Grant as a kid, so you could do a subset of, like, His Girl Friday; you know, Rosalind Russell, Cary Grant, incredible movie. The dialogue is just mindblowing. The pace at which they manage to speak, I find to be incredible.

Was it someone in your family who introduced you to these classic films?

I think maybe my mom thought that Katharine Hepburn would be a good role model of like a strong, smart, independent woman. Maybe she steered me in that direction. You know, because she was really so ahead of her time. Like, she bought the rights to the play of The Philadelphia Story and made that movie when she was considered box office poison and no one wanted to hire her. I think she was pretty amazing in terms of how she controlled her career and gave herself second chances when people totally counted her out. So it might have been my mom leading me in that direction, but I really responded to her as a kid, and watched Bringing up Baby and Holiday and all of those movies.

The Raid (Gareth Evans, 2012; 85% Tomatometer)

Okay, let’s go for a more recent movie. How about that? You know what movie I loved recently? The Raid, to go in a completely opposite direction. I really enjoyed that movie. That was so fun to watch in the theater. That’s one of those movies where like, it’s so cool to sit there and watch it on the big screen.

Are you a big action fan?

I really enjoy them. I have a hard time watching people getting punched on screen; I have to close my eyes a lot. But somehow, maybe just the sheer number of punchings overwhelmed me and I was okay.

A Fish Called Wanda (Charles Crichton and John Cleese, 1988; 93% Tomatometer)

Okay, let’s do something completely different. Here’s a movie I was watching the other day on cable that I loved as a kid and it still made me laugh: A Fish Called Wanda. It’s still funny.

Next, Jacobs talks about Walk of Shame, working with comedy vets, the future of Community, and how she feels about six-pack abs.

RT: People may not know this, but you’ve got bona fide acting credentials. You started when you were eight years old, and you trained at Juilliard; it’s something you basically always knew you wanted to do. And almost all of your early roles — before a certain show called Community came along — were serious roles. You’ve clearly proven your comedic chops since then; did you always know you could do comedy this well, even when you were reciting Shakespearean monologues on stage?

Gillian Jacobs: Not really. I mean, no, you kind of don’t know you can do it until you do it. I remember doing one scene in college that was funny, and the teacher said, “Okay, well you can do that, but never bring in a scene like that again.” [laughs] So he didn’t really encourage me to be funny in college. So maybe it was just something in my back pocket that I just always loved comedy, just as a viewer. But I don’t think I was entirely sure I could do it until I got the chance to actually do it.

RT: Was it ever something you hoped to break into at some point?

GJ: Definitely, definitely. You can only do so many serious dramas in a row before you want to break. You want a change.

RT: You’ve worked with people like Chevy Chase, Ken Jeong, and now in Walk of Shame you’ve got Elizabeth Banks, Kevin Nealon, Bill Burr, and Tig Notaro, who sports an awesome mullet-like creation, by the way.

GJ: I know, I know. I just saw Tig last week and I was reminding her of that mullet.

RT: Was it intimidating to work with all these people, or were you like, “Pshh, I can hold my own. Ken Jeong ain’t got nuttin’ on me!”

GJ: [laughs] I’m always intimidated. I mean, I love and respect all those people. Somebody like Tig, for example, she did an episode of Community in maybe our second or third season, and she’s someone that I’ve become and stayed friends with, and she makes me laugh so hard. I think she’s just one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. She makes me want to be funnier, but I know I’ll never be as funny as her.

RT: I’m sure there’s a mutual respect there, though.

GJ: I don’t know if Tig respects me. I won’t speak for her.

RT: Now, in Walk of Shame, you play Rose, who is one of Elizabeth Banks’s character’s BFFs, and you’re super protective of her in the film. Are you that friend in real life? Are you the one threatening your friends’ potential dates with castration if they hurt them?

GJ: I don’t know that I’ve ever done that, but I’m sure I give a really good mean stare. I’m sure I give a good evil eye. [laughs] I don’t know that I intimidate anyone in real life. They’d probably laugh if I said that.

RT: So you’re not the one organizing a lynch mob if one of your girlfriends gets dumped, or that sort of thing.

GJ: I’m more organizing the ice cream.

RT: Elizabeth Banks plays Meghan, who’s this good girl who just happens to have the worst luck on the one night when she decides to cut loose and gets stranded in the bad part of town. If the same thing happened to you, who would be the first person you would call?

GJ: My mom. Well, my mom is the only person whose number I have memorized at this point, so she’s actually the only person I could call if I lost my phone. That and my now deceased grandfather’s number at the nursing home. Those are the only two numbers I know. I called my grandpa a lot; that’s nice, right?

RT: That’s really nice. I loved my grandpa a lot too, so I get it. I don’t think you’ll need the number though, because somehow, I don’t actually see what happened to Meghan happening to you; at least, not any more, since you’re a responsible working adult now and all. But back in the day, were you a more disciplined partier, or did you get a little crazy?

GJ: I don’t drink, so it’s kind of hard to go that crazy stone cold sober. So yeah, I’ve always kind of been a grandma, as my friends would tell you. I much prefer to go home and get a good night’s sleep. [laughs]

RT: Well I don’t drink either, and I’ve been known to love my sleep, so we’ve got that in common.

GJ: All right. There you go. See, yeah, when you’re stone cold sober, it’s harder to excuse bad behavior.

RT: Now, another thing I want to point out about your character Rose is that she ends up going home with a rather older gentleman, and she’s visibly disturbed by it. But come on, that dude was ripped!

GJ: Dude, he’s a model! Yeah, he’s f***in’ ripped.

RT: As a contemporary, modern woman, sometimes isn’t that enough when you just want to hook up?

GJ: That’s intimidating to me. I don’t want any part of that. That six-pack was too much for me. That was too much. It was too much.

RT: I do want to mention Community, because that show kicks ass, and you are so good as Britta. The fifth season just ended; have you heard anything at all, through the grapevine or otherwise, about a sixth season?

GJ: You know, I’ve not heard anything definite. The grapevine for me is Twitter, so I probably read about things at the same time you do. You know, we find out about our renewals on Deadline Hollywood, same as everyone else. That’s how I found out about everything that’s happened to my show, basically, the last couple of years. [laughs] So I have no definite word, but you know, I’m feeling pretty good about it. I’m feeling less stressed, and more… I don’t know if it’s blindly optimistic or not, but I’m feeling good right now.

RT: As a child of the 1980s and a fan of classic G.I. Joe, I have to ask, is there any place where I can purchase a Buzzkill action figure?

GJ: Oh my God, they should do it! You should tweet Sony and NBC and ask for it. Start a campaign. And I think they should make the “Britta, the One True Five” poster available for purchase, too.

RT: That would be amazing. Tell me they at least let you keep the one they made for the episode.

GJ: You know, Rob Schrab, who directed the episode, he made that art — that’s his work — and so he gave me a copy, and I framed it and it’s in my house now.

RT: What TV shows did you watch growing up?

GJ: I watched a lot of animated cartoons. I watched X-Men and that Batman cartoon that was on, and Animaniacs and Tiny Toons and Darkwing Duck. I watched all those shows.

RT: Community should do a Darkwing Duck episode next season.

GJ: Oh, that would be awesome. Or Count Duckula.

Walk of Shame opens this weekend in theaters, and if all goes well, you can catch Gillian Jacobs as Britta on NBC’s Community again next season.

Tag Cloud

zero dark thirty National Geographic science fiction tv talk Best and Worst Infographic canceled sports political drama Kids & Family Amazon Studios Nominations Amazon CNN Summer Fox News latino Disney Channel spanish language Discovery Channel ESPN Cartoon Network SDCC boxoffice Marvel Television spinoff ITV cooking cults GoT Chernobyl Super Bowl Valentine's Day Trivia vampires golden globes award winner Disney streaming service rotten movies we love ratings casting YouTube Red MTV animated dc robots historical drama christmas movies 2019 crime thriller medical drama Year in Review dramedy Red Carpet Teen cars what to watch name the review Musicals Masterpiece Food Network foreign MCU USA Network 24 frames crime mockumentary independent Animation aliens YA Fantasy discovery hispanic blockbuster History President Crackle Vudu politics Opinion MSNBC RT History 71st Emmy Awards cinemax Superheroe Hulu romance Spring TV Rock comiccon See It Skip It Awards Tour Rocketman Tumblr anthology USA composers directors Sci-Fi 2017 TNT Biopics WGN GLAAD Endgame book Song of Ice and Fire cancelled television E3 children's TV miniseries game of thrones reboot Cosplay Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Anna Paquin psychological thriller TV Tomatazos disaster Writers Guild of America TruTV Film PBS TCA Winter 2020 Heroines Apple TV Plus RT21 Marvel LGBTQ Holiday crossover Hallmark Christmas movies Grammys Star Wars kids stand-up comedy screen actors guild TCM Starz psycho A&E green book Turner Classic Movies mutant NBC Mary Tyler Moore south america biography Lionsgate quibi Comics on TV AMC indie space Ellie Kemper Sony Pictures Amazon Prime Video 2018 New York Comic Con teaser transformers Watching Series series Dark Horse Comics Emmy Nominations WarnerMedia period drama Pirates BBC Country TCA 2017 Emmys docudrama Avengers PaleyFest slashers documentary movie The Witch Christmas HBO Action Thanksgiving Premiere Dates APB Marvel Studios adventure Character Guide based on movie Paramount Shondaland CMT justice league war Comedy Central Mary poppins cancelled TV shows Polls and Games adaptation social media Box Office Lifetime Christmas movies elevated horror breaking bad Elton John DirecTV spider-man Tarantino sag awards technology theme song Holidays First Reviews batman strong female leads travel Television Academy Stephen King BET diversity true crime Black Mirror toy story ABC Family doctor who Spectrum Originals sequel Martial Arts hist Amazon Prime Certified Fresh Cannes 45 NYCC Star Trek halloween Trophy Talk Rocky comics supernatural dragons Turner zombies Lucasfilm OWN Photos The CW game show DC streaming service revenge SundanceTV Acorn TV canceled TV shows Universal Nickelodeon Logo dogs Pride Month Film Festival VH1 Showtime streaming VICE Rom-Com Syfy The Walking Dead Classic Film TBS Adult Swim Freeform Fall TV cops Apple TV+ FX police drama American Society of Cinematographers Extras Paramount Network Baby Yoda Marathons El Rey Toys DGA TCA 007 Mystery Podcast E! Spike YouTube blaxploitation romantic comedy renewed TV shows Britbox cancelled ghosts comic festivals 2016 Sundance Disney+ Disney Plus CBS BBC America anime witnail screenings IFC Films Sundance Now zombie ABC cartoon FXX Reality werewolf Ghostbusters video Binge Guide Western HBO Max Set visit spy thriller movies Peacock Disney TV renewals Bravo Family cancelled TV series Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Trailer Interview Creative Arts Emmys First Look 2020 The Arrangement versus Drama Mindy Kaling Oscars Horror serial killer Sneak Peek Reality Competition Warner Bros. Awards FOX facebook sitcom X-Men Disney Plus OneApp Calendar IFC Winter TV 2015 Comic Book DC Universe joker A24 richard e. Grant San Diego Comic-Con Video Games Pop talk show GIFs Quiz CW Seed Superheroes Walt Disney Pictures dceu Women's History Month Academy Awards free movies thriller Pet Sematary TV Land SXSW cats spain finale LGBT Musical Comedy crime drama Winners Columbia Pictures YouTube Premium jamie lee curtis Netflix singing competition DC Comics Mudbound TLC TIFF Brie Larson Tubi Crunchyroll Ovation Pixar natural history Shudder Nat Geo Apple Countdown 21st Century Fox binge 20th Century Fox Hallmark Arrowverse Election Esquire The Purge Music Schedule Sundance TV Epix nature Netflix Christmas movies Captain marvel television CBS All Access Mary Poppins Returns Lifetime harry potter unscripted