Alison Brie on Her Not-Creepy Kiss With Joel McHale
By Marc Schneider Posted Jun 22nd 2010 12:06PM
How awesome is Alison Brie? The 26-year-old actress is not only gorgeous (in that drop-dead kind of way), but she's got meaty roles in two of television's most critically acclaimed shows: 'Mad Men' and 'Community.' The former begins its fourth season on July 25 and, true to history, its stars aren't obliged to talk much about the AMC drama. But NBC's 'Community' is a different ball of fun, having just wrapped its inaugural season with Brie's character, Annie, getting the last laugh -- well, kiss -- in the junior college comedy.
In a chat with PopEater, Brie talks about that kiss (with Joel McHale) and the age-old controversy that arose from it, plus she enlightens us on the allure of Star-Burns, Ken Jeong's niceness and her first TV role on, wait for it, 'Hannah Montana.'
So, you're supposed to be 18 or 19 on the show. Did you detect, like some viewers, a creepy factor with the season finale hookup between yourself and the much-older Jeff/Joel McHale?
I didn't find it creepy! I think it evolves very naturally out of a chemistry between Joel and I, and sort of these characters who were kind of friends and maybe had an innocent curiosity about one another. Even in the debate episode, when the flirtation started and they first kissed, I had no idea where the writers were taking it. After that episode aired and we saw the fan reaction was so positive, it actually surprised me that people thought the finale was so controversial because after the debate episode there had been so much fan feedback in favor of these two getting together.
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I'll tell ya, we had to do that big kiss a number of ways. I think our producers were still deciding how to maneuver around the creepy factor and, um, just exactly which way the kiss would work best. So you know, we had to do this kiss again and again and again from different angles. We narrowed it down to three versions, so our director [Joel Russo] would be like, 'Okay, do No. 1' then 'Let's try No. 2!'
Yeah, but what about kissing Joel?
[Laughter] I will say, on the record, that ... it ain't bad. Joel's definitely a good sport. I can see the headline now: "Alison Brie Loves Kissing Joel McHale!" I would say the guy's a good kisser because he's got a lot of practice. Basically any woman that comes on the show eventually kisses Joel McHale. He's been around the block, ya know [laughs].
Will the relationship between Annie and Jeff get expanded upon?
I don't know where the writers are gonna go with it. But, you know, I'm not creeped out by it. It wouldn't bother me either way. I'm not gonna take sides in the Team Annie/Team Britta debate.
You just did DVD commentaries. Was that a first for you?
I actually did them with a couple seasons of 'Mad Men,' but it was fun doing it for 'Community' because we did one for every single episode. We were split up, you know, but they tried to do a lot of mix-and-matching with the the cast members. I think the writers do an excellent job of balancing the episodes and giving each character a highlight episode. They're doing commentaries for all 25 episodes, with different people in there all the time. Fun! Dan Harmon [show creator] will be in all of them.
Did you have a favorite episode to gab on about?
The 'Debate' was really pivotal for the Annie character and also for her shift in relationship with Jeff. So you'll hear me on episodes that highlight changes in Annie's demeanor and when she's growing up a bit or noticing boys more. You know, the 'STD' episode, where they talk about Annie never seeing a penis, or the debate episode, where she kisses Jeff and they discover sexual tension.
Star-Burns (Dino Stamatopoulos), what's his secret?
Dino's one of our writers and he sort of got thrown into the part, originally. It's a character that people have just grown to love, and I think Dino likes playing it more now. In the beginning, I think he felt like he sort of fell into this role. I don't think he knew how big it was going to be. Luckily, he likes to keep a beard anyway, so I think the star burns kind of get lost in the beard and when it's time, he'll just shave them again. He's getting really good at shaving those stars. I think for a while, he was the most recognizable person on the show, other than Joel and Chevy [Chase].
How awesome was Ken Jeong's acceptance speech at the MTV Movie Awards?
Amazing! I had known about Ken and his wife's situation before, and that sums up Ken right there. We crack each other up on the set, and yet he's just one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. When he speaks, it's always from the heart. He cares more about his family, and you feel that warmth just from working near him. We really lucked out in getting him.
Season 1 encompassed a whole year of school. Would it make sense to only do one more year since that's how long most people go to junior college?
It's probably something we're all secretly wondering, because of course we'd love the show to go on and on for years. Even at the end of the first season, like the episode where Annie is worried about the study group splitting up. And I wonder if that's the direction they can take it in a third or fourth season, that the characters stay friends even if they aren't all taking classes together. It may pose a problem. I can't wait to see what they come up with if we do indeed get a third or fourth season!
What was your reaction to when CBS announced 'Big Bang Theory' was your moving to your time slot?
Well, it's one of those tricky things. At the end of the day, our job is the same, we just need to continue to go to work and bring our A-game and hope the viewers choose to continue the journey with us.
'Mad Men' returns July 25. What are you ALLOWED to say about the new season?
I can tell you that it's in production right now and that I feel very fortunate to be a part of season 4 ... and that's it! People are just gonna have to wait and watch.
Do you wish Matthew Weiner ('Mad Men' mastermind) would let you guys divulge more?
On one hand, it makes it easier, knowing that you can't say anything in interviews. There's no gray area, which is nice. There have been certain episodes of 'Community' where we've suddenly had to keep quiet about things, like the Jack Black cameo or, of course, the finale.
One of the leaked alleged spoilers to emerge has Trudy giving Pete a big surprise.
I was unaware that any spoilers had leaked! No comment!
You show your subtle yet raunchy side in a new Funny or Die video about a woman applying to have her sex act patented. Do tell.
I just got a call from Funny or Die to do it, and I knew Rich Sommer ['Mad Men'] was involved, so I was immediately in. Then I got the script and I was like, "Oh, Dear." But it cracked me up, because when you look on Urban Dictionary all those [sexual] positions are in there, and you go, "Who comes up with this crap?" I love it because you're really not seeing anything disgusting or out of the ordinary. These people all seem sweet and normal and then the things coming out of their mouths are just ... so dirty.
[Editor's Note: We'd embed the video, but it really is FILTHY. Watch it here if you're so inclined.]
Were you really in a 'Hannah Montana' episode?
I was! It was my first TV job out of college. It was the first season of 'Hannah Montana,' so before all the hype or before Miley Cyrus blew up. So, I had no idea what it was, I was just, 'Yea, I booked a Disney show' and I get to work for a couple days. I had no idea where it was gonna go.
Did you play a young teacher or something?
No, and thanks a lot for making me feel really old! I actually played a love interest for her brother in the episode. I'm a hairstylist and he lets me sort of cut his hair in all these interesting ways and it turns out the villain kid hired me to give him a crazy haircut. I didn't even know who Miley was before getting the part. I will say she was very sweet, honestly.
Lastly, congrats on making Maxim's Hot 100!
Ha! I squeaked in at 99! I totally think it's fantastic because, you know, if you're like No. 74, then what's interesting about that?
Yeah, and who did you beat, Lauren Storm? C'mon!
Hey, she's pretty sexy, I'll say that. I patted myself on the back because at least I beat one of them. Now, the only way to go is up!
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