Alison Brie on writing her own roles, those 'She-Hulk' rumors and a 'Community' movie

Alison Brie in 'Spin Me Round' (IFC Films)

Alison Brie in Spin Me Round. (Photo: IFC Films)

Alison Brie still has no idea where those She-Hulk rumors came from. Or if they were remotely legit. But they were pervasive, to say the least.

“It was definitely odd. I went to pick up a sandwich at a sandwich shop and there was a man there who was like, ‘I just read that you got cast as She-Hulk,” Brie tells us in a new interview. “I was like, ‘Well, you’re the first one that’s told me about it. Maybe I should check with my agents.’”

This was back in early 2020, as unverified reports blazed across the internet that Marvel Studios was looking for an “Alison Brie-type” to play Jen Walters, the cousin of Bruce Banner who also transforms into a hulking green superhero, in their upcoming Disney+ series. (Emmy-winning Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany was eventually cast; Brie has said she was never approached about the part, casting heavy doubt on the validity of the report.)

“There’s a lot of misinformation going on,” she says. “But Tatiana Maslany is such a talented actress. I’m really looking forward to seeing what she does with it… She’s incredible. I loved Orphan Black. I watched every episode of that.”

Maslany would likely say the same thing about Brie, the 39-year-old actress who rose to fame with a supporting role on AMC’s hit period drama Mad Men and as one “The Gang” on NBC’s cultishly followed Community before hitting the wrestling mats in more recent years as the lead in Netflix’s series Glow.

In between that steady stream of 175-plus episodes of popular TV shows, Brie has appeared in films like The Lego Movie (2014), The Post (2017) and Promising Young Woman (2020). Her credits exhibit her versatility, but if attempting to decode what an “Alison Brie-type” means in Hollywood, the actress has certainly mastered the art of playing seemingly tightly wound women who are ultimately far more complex — and venturesome — than we thought.

In her latest, the Jeff Baena-directed comedy Spin Me Round (coincidentally opening one day after She-Hulk’s Disney+ premiere), Brie ventures to Italy as the manager of a Bakersfield, Calif. Olive Garden-esque chain restaurant chosen to attend an overseas training program. While the exotic-sounding program proves far more mundane as Amber (Brie) and her cohorts are chagrined to find themselves confined to a conference room, Amber’s trip gets a lot more interesting after the company’s wealthy and enigmatic owner (Alessandro Nivola) takes a shine to her.

“Jeff read an article about a very similar program that exists in real life in which an Italian chain restaurant, that shall remain unnamed, sends managers to Italy to experience the best in food and culture,” Brie says. “But ultimately that experience, per this article, is a little bit lackluster and very Americanized. Ultimately they’re just in these dormitories, they’re not really seeing a lot of the city. So that was where Jeff originally got the idea and brought it to me. And I agreed that it just has such potential for comedy… And then we really just extrapolated that to like the wildest extent.”

Brie co-wrote the film with Baena, and it’s something she’s doing a lot of recently. After working together on the 2017 medieval comedy The Little Hours, Brie and Baena also cowrote the 2020 psychological thriller Horse Girl. She also recently cowrote the rom-com Somebody I Used to Know with her husband Dave Franco, who directs while Brie costars with Haley Joel Osment.

The actress-turned-writer’s new hyphenate is letting her have more creative input over the characters she plays from the ground-up.

“As an actor, there’s so much out of my control when I get to work on a job,” she laughs. “So it’s been really fun to cultivate writing more, just as a means of artistic expression and then getting to use it to create roles that are exciting to me and are interesting, or just stories that are unique that I think would be fun.”

Brie clearly had fun on Community, the irreverent sitcom that bonded her with co-stars Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, Donald Glover, Gillian Jacobs, Yvette Nicole Brown, Chevy Chase and Ken Jeong.

She says the cast regularly communicates via group text messages.

“The text chain is going off constantly. We’ve already texted like seven times today because Danny and Ken saw each other at an event last night. They sent photos. We text each other constantly. It’s very cute. I love those guys. I hope we can get together.”

That might even entail a long-rumored Community movie.

“There have been some conversations, but I truly have no idea what is going on with it. I have no updates. There are conversations, but no concrete details.”

At least we know it’s more legit than those She-Hulk rumors.

Spin Me Round is now in theaters and on VOD and streaming.

Watch the trailer:

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