On Friday at Sundance, Aubrey Plaza was quickly shaping up into the festival’s MVP for 2017, presenting two films – The Little Hours and Ingrid Goes West – that had Park City audiences rolling in the aisles. On both projects, she’s a credited producer, boarding early and attracting other talent like a magnet. And in both movies, her characters spark with the kind of world-weary detachment Plaza has made her stock in trade, all the while demonstrating an increasingly wide comic range that has been attracting stellar notices.
Rocking up to Deadline’s Sundance Studio for the first time with The Little Hours – alongside writer/director Jeff Baena and co-stars Alison Brie, Dave Franco, Kate Micucci and Molly Shannon – Plaza shared with me her passion for finding fresh material, and was liberally praised by her collaborators. “[Aubrey] truly loves and supports women,” Shannon said. “She likes talented women and funny women and beautiful women, and [she’s] really special like that because not all women are like that. She’s one of the most supportive women I know.”
The Little Hours is weird, in the very best way possible. Also starring John C. Reilly, Nick Offerman and Fred Armisen, the film follows life in a medieval convent in Italy, as a group of horny nuns and their priest go a little stir-crazy and waltz their way through as many sins as they can manage. Distinctly modern language brilliantly juxtaposes with the chaste setting, as servant boy Dave Franco arrives at the convent and quickly becomes the object of everybody’s attention.
“I was super excited by the idea because it was so bizarre,” Brie told me. “It was not like anything I’d heard. Jeff has such a knowledge of the period because of his minor in college.”
Indeed, Baena, whose previous work includes Joshy and Life After Beth, had majored in film production and minored in medieval and Renaissance studies. “He knows so much about the source material,” Brie continued. “And the more he talked about it I was like, this sounds unlike anything I’d ever heard of, or seen in a movie recently.”
Kate Micucci dropped the most tantalizing revelation of the day, discussing her passion for nuns that includes a collection of nun figurines she has been buying for years – who knew such things exist? “I wrote a song when I was 25 about how I wanted to be a nun,” Micucci revealed. “You already have a built-in friend group, so you don’t have to socially go out and try to party or meet people. I was really shy at the time, so I thought that seemed like a way to go. I don’t want to be a nun anymore, but I really was so thrilled to play one.”
The nuns in the cast described the restrictions and revelations of wearing the familiar habit for the length of an entire film shoot. Said Plaza of the veil: “Narrowing it down to just eyes sometimes is a really cool way of following a character, because you can track their emotional journey with just looks, which can be more powerful than words.”
Check out more from the cast and writer/director of The Little Hours in our video above.
Actors, directors, filmmakers and special guests visiting the Deadline Studio at Sundance 2017 enjoyed sweet and savory treats, custom cocktails and more at Applegate’s REEL FOOD CAFE. Find out more about Applegate and their mission to change the meat we eat at www.applegate.com.