Brie co-wrote “Spin Me Round” with Baena, and is joined on-screen by an ensemble cast that includes Debby Ryan, Molly Shannon, Zach Woods, Tim Heidecker, Ben Sinclair, Ayden Mayeri, Fred Armisen, Lauren Weedman, and Aubrey Plaza.
RogerEbert.com spoke to Brie about the collaborative energy of “Spin Me Round,” its personal components, the time she got nervous meeting Frances McDormand, and more.
Do you believe in the idea of “never meet your heroes”?
Yes, I do believe in the idea of “never meet your heroes,” but y’know, probably because I know that I’m bad at it. Any time I have met an actor that I really admire, it doesn’t go well. I feel so embarrassed, I think I get too nervous. So it’s not for the reason that I think you’re implying, normally people say it as if those people are going to let you down. But I think I let myself down in the interactions. I’m like, Why didn’t I say the right thing to Frances McDormand that time? That was a terrible interaction! I shoot a whole movie with Meryl Streep, multiple scenes, and never told her how much she means to me! I’m thinking, She doesn’t want to hear that, she’s heard that many times, just act! Just be professional! And then later I’m like, I feel like you could have told Meryl how much you love and admire her [laughs].
What did you say to Frances McDormand? Do you remember?
Oh god, it’s like … Yes, I remember unfortunately [laughs]. It was a few years ago when “GLOW” was on the awards circuit a little bit with “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri,” and so I had heard that she was a fan of the show because a couple other people on “GLOW” had run into her and been like, “Frances McDormand said she’s a big fan of the show!” So then I ran into her at the SAG Awards, and I knew somebody who was at the “Three Billboards” table, so I went over to say hello. I was a little intoxicated and she sort of turned and there was Frances McDormand, who I just admired all of my life. And she goes, “You!” And I go, “You!” And then she goes, “No, you!” And then I go, “Yooouuu!” And she’s like [annoyed voice] “You.” And I was like, “Yooouuu!” I could just sense like, the bit went too long. Why did you keep saying “You!”? Eventually she paused and I said, “Thank you so much, big fan! Sorry!” [laughs] I’d love a re-do.
As a writer on “Spin Me Round,” how do you find this balance of being critical of these gloopy institutions—I keep thinking about the alfredo sauce in the bag from the opening credits—without dumping on people like Amber? I’m curious how you and Jeff Baena did that in the writing.
Sure, I don’t think it’s ever our intention to dump on anything. I think that we see the inherent comedy in a really Americanized Italian restaurant chain, whisking people away to a program that’s equally as Americanized as the restaurant itself. There’s an inherent comedy there, but I think as an actor and a writer, I approach all of the characters with compassion. I think Jeff is the same way, we love all of the characters that we create and try to see from everybody’s perspective within the story, and what everyone wants and is hoping for, and how those expectations are dashed. I think comedy needs to have heart to it, to keep it relatable. And it’s never fun to watch people or characters being made fun of, I think you want to find what is relatable about each character and then put them in awkward situations, and that’s where the comedy comes from.