Alison Brie on How to Act Out Comedy + Drama at the Same Time

Video Source: Youtube

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We’re always excited to see Alison Brie onscreen, and in the last year, she has starred in—and for the first time written, directed, and produced—projects across multiple genres. Perhaps best known for her work on television comedies “Community” and “GLOW” (the latter marking her directorial debut in Season 3, which nabbed three Emmy nominations this year), Brie most recently starred in the new horror thriller “The Rental,” directed and co-written by her husband, Dave Franco, now available on VOD. Earlier this year, she also co-wrote, produced, and starred in Sundance-turned-Netflix hit “Horse Girl.” To talk about it all, Brie sat with Backstage for an Instagram Live, where she offered advice for actors wanting to explore other facets of their creativity.

Brie and Franco are each other’s cheerleaders.
“I was totally inspired to write ‘Horse Girl’ after watching Dave write ‘The Rental’ with Joe Swanberg…. I didn’t have the courage to write it, and seeing how excited and passionate Dave was about writing and seeing him have this great writing partner, that was the biggest step of me being like, ‘I could write something; maybe I just need to find a partner to write with.’ So I ended up writing it with our friend Jeff Baena; it was really nice for me to come out of directing [‘GLOW’] and have some small amount of perspective on what that takes, what directing requires. In that sense, I was able to be a really great pillar of support for Dave while he worked, and it was this cool new way we could relate to each other.”

Want to create your own work? Brie has some advice.
“Confidence. It sounds so dumb, it sounds very simple to say, but I think it’s something I’ve been working to build my whole life and will continue to do so. Each of these jobs, [I’ve] just [been] watching my confidence grow, going, ‘Oh, I know a lot more than I think I know.’ Especially for women, I think we’re taught that we should study more or do this more… ‘Maybe I need more experience.’ Fear seems to be the biggest factor in inhibiting me from doing anything, and then once I took the leap… You can’t learn until you try. It’s always been important as an actor to take risks, and now I’m applying that to other aspects of my career. But it’s scary. It puts you in a very vulnerable position. But you have to take the leap.”

There’s a through line for both comedic and dramatic work.
“I took classes about how to audition for comedies because I didn’t know the way to read a TV script. Even after taking that class, ultimately, I felt like I had to tap back into what makes me unique, what makes the way I look at a character unique to me, and the way that I play that character unique to me. I approach all characters the same way, be it comedy or drama.”

Want to hear more from Brie? Watch our full Backstage Live interview below, and follow us on Instagram: @backstagecast.

This story originally appeared in the Aug. 6 issue of Backstage Magazine. Subscribe here.

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