Alia Shawkat swung through NYC this week on a busy press tour for her new movie Cedar Rapids, which we previewed last month at Sundance. She plays Bree, a prostitute who enjoys a sordid entanglement with Ed Helms's straight-laced insurance salesman character, in the film directed by Youth in Revolt's Miguel Arteta. Shawkat talked about getting up close and personal with Helms and also addressed the long-running rumors about an Arrested Development movie that have regained steam after the series' creator, Mitch Hurwitz, confirmed his involvement. She also had some interesting ideas for her character, Maeby. Check it out.
BuzzSugar: In this film, you're playing a prostitute, which is new territory for you. What drew you to this role?
Alia Shawkat: "I got a call from [Miguel, the director] and he was like, 'Alia, I want you to play a prostitute!' And I was like, 'Ok!' And it kind of went from there. . . She’s a hooker with a heart of gold so it was fun. I got to do some research — not go out on the street! — but watch films with hookers with hearts of gold. And I got to say some weird dirty things.
BS: You also got to do some crazy things. Was that another perk to this role?
AS: Doing the meth and dancing, and doing real meth — no we didn’t do that! It was really fun. That’s what’s so cool about being an actor, you get to live so many different lives. This one upped every character I’ve ever played.
BS: You and Anne Heche were pretty much the main ladies in the film. Did you two take on the boys comedian club together?
AS: I’m used to being around a lot of male comedians, so it is kind of like a boys club in that you have to sort of earn your say. But after they started hanging out with us for a little while and they see we aren’t just like, 'Oh, tee hee that’s funny!' that we’re funnier than them sometimes, then they start to respect us. They’re all very sweet guys, most comedians are. They’re just a little pervvy.
BS: And of course, the leading man was Ed Helms. How was it working with him?
AS: I was expecting Ed to be a lot dirtier in comparison to some of the other comedians I’ve worked with, that are usually pretty dirty. But he’s such a gentleman, an old Southern boy. He's very polite and respectful with women.
To find out who's on Shawkat's list of dream costars and what she'd like to see happen for Maeby, just read more