Making a quiet ascension to the top of the Hollywood hierarchy, Aubrey Plaza is now recognised as one of the most unique and promising actors of contemporary cinema. Known for her quirky independent film roles, Plaza built her reputation on American TV, starring in such shows as Mayne Street before collaborating with the British filmmaker Edgar Wright for his comic-book adaptation of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World in 2010.
Ever since, Plaza has traversed a wonky path to the top of the industry, collaborating with such burgeoning directors as Colin Trevorrow, Jeff Baena, Dan Mazer and Lawrence Michael Levine, dedicating her time to up-and-coming talent, despite having the star-power to work with the greatest names of the industry. Though behind the camera she may have not worked with the best, in front of it she has had the chance to collaborate with Robert De Niro, Zac Efron, Bill Hader, Donald Glover and Elizabeth Olsen.
As well as a flourishing Hollywood talent, Plaza is also a serious movie buff, having spoken to Criterion in the past to pick out her favourites from their collection, as well as the movie website Letterboxd, where she recently discussed her top four picks.
First up for Plaza is Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 classic Barry Lyndon, an extraordinary period piece featuring such established names as Ryan O’Neal, Marisa Berenson and the late Leon Vitali. Revealing her thoughts on the movie, she states, “it was mind-blowing… it’s just an incredible masterpiece of a film…that to me just made me fall in love with movies,” picking the film over such other Kubrick classics as The Shining and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
The iconic Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman earns his spot on Plaza’s list too, with the actor choosing his 1974 drama Scenes from a Marriage. “I think it blew my mind like when I saw that for the first time,” Plaza states, adding, “mainly just because, how do you make up one conversation between two people compelling on camera for that long like, he makes it look so easy, and it’s not”.
The third spot on the actor’s list goes to the John Cassavetes movie A Woman Under the Influence, starring Gena Rowlands, Peter Falk and Lady Rowlands. “Cassavetes to me is really important,” Plaza states, explaining, “his movies felt like early improv movies and they’re just so real and natural, and the performances obviously by Gena Rowlands, are so incredible,” praising the iconic European arthouse flick with gusto.
John Waters takes the final spot on Plaza’s list, with the actor stating that the director “changed my life,” with his camp aesthetic and multiple classic films. Whilst she’s a love of Pink Flamingos and the work of Divine, the actor explains, “Serial Mom was like one of the first weird indie movies that I saw when I was a teenager that blew my mind, where I was like how is someone making a movie that is so fucking weird but it’s like playing in movie theatres, like I couldn’t believe that movie and how insane it was”.
Aubrey Plaza’s favourite movies of all time
- Barry Lyndon (Stanley Kubrick, 1975)
- Scenes from a Marriage (Ingmar Bergman, 1974)
- Serial Mom (John Waters, 1994)
- A Woman Under the Influence (John Cassavetes, 1974)