While on a Parks and Recreation set visit today during TCA, I chatted with Rashida Jones, who plays Ann, best friend to Amy Poehler‘s Lesley Knope. Rashida, who is also an accomplished comic book creator and screenwriter, gave me some insight on her upcoming lesbian character, Cindy, in the comedy My Idiot Brother.
“I’m kind of like a conservative lesbian because I’m a lawyer, and I work with a lot of conservative people,” Rashida told me. “I have like a preppy kind of hipster — ironic preppy, is my look. I’m kind of like Ann [her Parks and Recreation character] — a very loyal, stable, consistent force in [her girlfriend’s] life.”
Cindy’s girlfriend, Natalie, is played by Zooey Deschanel. Things don’t go so well for the couple during the course of the film, as it seems like Natalie is taking advantage of her relationship with someone as mature as the reliable Cindy.
“She’s kind of a sh—y girlfriend to me,” Rashida said. “I haven’t seen the movie yet, but in the script it’s clear that I’m the right person for her to be with, and she shouldn’t mess it up.”
So far, reports from the film describe Zooey’s character as “a bisexual hipster” and someone with a penchant for lying. But with the help of her “idiot brother,” Ned (played by Paul Rudd), hopefully she’ll see that Cindy is the kind of person she needs to keep her grounded in reality.
Rashida, whose early film work includes a bit part in the lesbian-themed If These Walls Could Talk 2, said she was a bit concerned to be taking on the roll of a gay woman, but only because she wanted to get it right.
“I wanted to make sure it was an honest portrayal and that it wasn’t a cartoon,” Rashida said. “And I wanted the way that I dress to be different than I do — not because I wanted to make it a cartoon, but because I wanted it to be distinctive. And I wanted to do it service. After seeing The Kids Are All Right — which is such a good movie, and it’s just such a beautiful portrayal of a relationship, regardless of gender or whatever — I just really wanted people to buy it, and make it feel real.”
Judging from Rashida’s other work, and Zooey’s talent as well, it’s probably safe to assume they both put a lot of effort into getting their relationship right, including the part where they actually have to seem like they’re in love.
“We kiss like a couple does, but we don’t have any sex scenes,” Rashida said. “We’re just, like, loving with each other.”
My Idiot Brother premieres at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27.