Rashida Jones on Writing Her First Script and Getting to the Serious Side of Andy Samberg in ‘Celeste and Jesse Forever’

rashida-jones-celeste-jesseIt’s becoming increasingly common for actors to write their own film scripts, particularly for smaller, independent projects that actors do in between the big-budget studio films.  Add Rashida Jones to the list, as the former The Office star co-wrote Celeste and Jesse Forever with fellow actor Will McCormack, and the pair also star in the film alongside Andy Samberg.  Jones spoke to the Huffington Post about writing the film, the challenges associated with performing a character after creating her, and whether funnyman Samberg was able to handle the film’s serious elements.

Jones admits that writing the script was difficult.  She explains, “We had to kind of dig deep, because we felt like that was the only way we were going to make it feel honest and real. Especially because Will and I have never written before. If we were gonna do something and people were gonna take notice, we had to say something that felt somewhat unique. That had to come from real experience.”

Curiously, even though Jones wrote the character of Celeste, whom she plays, she gave the character some less-than-wonderful qualities.  She says it was a challenge to do so, both “as a writer and as an actress. I’ve been lucky enough to work a lot in the past couple of years, and the characters I play are very likeable. They’re kind of dependable and logical and, you know, couldn’t do anything bad if they tried. And I wanted to play somebody who was maybe a little bit less likeable, and whose character flaws were standing in her own way, you know? And as a writer, I think it’s always important to have a character who has somewhere to go… I like stories about people who change a tiny bit, because that’s what happens in real life. You go through an entirely traumatic experience and then you change a tiny little bit.

Despite working with Saturday Night Live star Samberg, Jones explains that the two avoided improvising and mainly stuck to what she wrote, revealing, “I mean, we would see how far we could take the jokes and see which ones worked the best, but when it came to most of the dialogue we really stuck to the script.”  Nevertheless, Jones says that Samberg had no issue acting in a scripted, more serious film, pointing out, “Andy was really up to the task. We’ve been friends for years, and he read the script even before he had anything to do with it. And he was really nice about liking it, but also at a certain point was like, I think I can do this. He hasn’t done anything like this before, and I think he felt ready. Especially because the character is a lot like him, and I think there are things he related to. If he was gonna step out and do some drama, this would be the right time to do it, because it’s very much like him.”

Celeste and Jesse Forever opens in theaters on Friday, August 3.

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-anna-gunn-jacki-weaver-and.jpg
Watch: Anna Gunn, Jacki Weaver and Virginia Kull on ‘Gracepoint’ and Strong Female Roles on TV
The actresses also speak candidly about how they feel about their characters in the series and why its important for TV to feature series with strong female leads.Check out the conversation above!
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-cristin-milioti-talks-a-to.jpg
Watch: Cristin Milioti Talks ‘A to Z’, ‘Once’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother’
Few actresses have the kind of rise as Cristin Milioti has had in the last few years. A virtual unknown in 2011, she became a bona fide Broadway star in the 2012 hit Once, appeared in a supporting role in the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street, and was featured as the titular mother […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-bryan-cranstons-acting-adv.jpg
Watch: Bryan Cranston’s Acting Advice
With Breaking Bad: The Complete Series Barrel being released on Blu-ray with all kinds of goodies today, it gives us yet another opportunity to reflect on the series’ star Bryan Cranston and all of the incredible advice he has offered actors in the wake of his success. In a video he filmed in 2013 for […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/alex-sharp-curious-incident-of-the-dog.jpg
Alex Sharp Talks About His Broadway Debut in ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ (video)
Alex Sharp went from working in a call-center and renovating houses to going to Julliard. And now, he’s starring in one of the most talked about shows of the season, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Check out this great, inspiring video!
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Its-only-a-play.jpg
Watch a Scene From Terrance McNally’s, ‘It’s Only a Play’, Featuring Nathan Lane and Micah Stock
Here’s a quick scene from Terrance McNally‘s It’s Only a Play, currently on Broadway at the Schoenfeld Theater. In this scene, Nathan Lane and Micah Stock meet for the first time. The show, about the opening night of a new play, also stars Matthew Broderick, Stockard Channing, F. Murray Abraham, Rupert Grint and Megan Mullally.