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Lizzy Caplan Talks 'Party Down' Movie, Going Bridal at Sundance in Two Wedding Comedies (Q&A)

The TV-film crossover reveals how "Save the Date" and "Bachelorette" owe a great debt to "Bridesmaids," why she doesn't mind playing mopey characters and her favorite Sundance moment.

Lizzy Caplan headshot - P - 2010

Caplan is doing double-duty at the festival this year, appearing in the comedies Save the Date and Bachelorette, which premieres this evening. But before you jump to any these-are-just-ripoffs-of-Bridesmaids judgements, the erstwhile star of Starz’ catering comedy Party Down wants audiences to know these movies aren’t much about weddings at all. The actress also reveals details about the forthcoming Party Down movie and her upcoming TV gig.

The Hollywood Reporter:  How do you feel about inevitable comparisons between these movies and Bridesmaids?

THR: Well, the script for Save the Date had been around for years and years, and I only became attached to it recently. It’s really very different than Bridesmaids; and Bachelorette started as a series of plays in New York. But one thing is for sure, had Bridesmaids not ended up being so amazing and successful, we would never have been able to make Bachelorette. So we are in awe of Bridesmaids and totally owe them so much. Both of my movies are rated R and have a lot more, kind of, drugs and darkness, though. (Laughs.)Save the Date feels like a quiet story about two sisters and the men in their lives, kind of reminiscent of the quieter rom-coms of the 1990s; it’s very character-driven and not as wedding-focused.

THR: And Bachelorette?

Caplan: I play a girl named Gena. All three characters — mine, Isla Fisher’s, Kirsten Dunst’s — are extremely screwed up, terrible human beings. My character had something happen to her in high school because of her boyfriend, played by Adam Scott, and she’s held a very severe grudge for many, many years and is just pretty much pissed at the world. She hates everybody, which is always a fun character I seem to get to play a lot. The movie is based on a series of seven plays that our writer-director Leslye Headland did. They were based on the seven deadly sins, and this one was gluttony. Leslye is amazing and will become a powerhouse writer-director in the very, very near future. She and I were actually developing a television show together for like a year that went nowhere and then from the ashes of that came this movie.

THR: You seem to play a lot of sad, angry characters. Is that a coincidence?

Caplan: (Laughs.) I know, I know, I can’t avoid it. Luckily I do sort of enjoy it. I mean, this one goes the farthest, in that category.

THR: Did Adam come onboard because you had worked together on Party Down?

Caplan: Yeah, Adam and I are very close buddies and I begged him to consider being in this movie. He’s the best, he is the best.

THR: How many times have you been to Sundance?

Caplan: Well, I went to Slamdance once, which is not the same thing though. That was many years ago. And then two years ago, I went for a short film that I produced and was in that’s called Successful Alcoholics. And that was in the shorts festival, but this will be the first year that I have two legitimate movies in competition. (Laughs.)It’s really exciting — I need to remind myself to be extremely excited, especially because I adore the cast of this movie and everybody’s going.

THR: Do you have any favorite Sundance memories?

Caplan: Two years ago, I was at a dinner with my agents and like 16 people. I was at the table with this young girl that I’ve never heard of before named Jennifer Lawrence, who’s now like a massive movie star. She was like, I think, 11 years old then? I mean, I really unfortunately don’t have tons of hilarious Sundance stories, because really I am not the biggest fan of hanging out, but the reason why is because I never go see other people’s movies and I think that’s the way to do it.

THR: I was very excited to learn recently that Party Down is going to become a movie.

Caplan: Yes, that’s what we’re hoping for! Everybody is really onboard and excited. John Enbom, who wrote the majority of the show, is writing the script right now. He really is the unsung hero. It’s so cool. It’s really since the show went off the air that the fan base has gotten bigger. I think I can speak for all of us that it was a particularly special job we would all love to revisit ASAP.

THR: And so you don’t have to become real-life caterers, that’s the goal.

Caplan: I know, I think that hopefully that ship has sailed.

THR: What other projects do you have coming up?

Caplan: I’m about to go to work in a couple hours for my last day on New Girl. I just did like four episodes of that.

THR: I hear that show is doing pretty OK.

Caplan: (Laughs.) Yeah, I hear that it’s enjoying minor success. I’m trying to think what else I’m supposed to talk about. Oh, there’s this other movie that I did called Frankie Go Boom, I’m not entirely sure where that’s going to end up.

THR: It sounds like you have a very diverse professional portfolio at the moment.

Caplan: Just keep telling me that. Call me every morning!