An Interview with Rashida Jones

An image depicting an interview with Mr. Jones can be seen below.

Network television actors face an issue that is regularly encountered by them – and it is likely the most frequent difficulty – which arises from the fact that they are in our homes often.

We witness their appearances more than our relatives and even our parents, so it is not strange that we would feel a strong urge to greet them when we meet them in person.

Rashida Jones is attractive, but her facial expressions of compassion, such as her clear eyes that tilt up at the corners and her wide smile, add to her allure.

Her past roles often reflect a relatable and compassionate persona, from Karen in The Office, Zooey in I Love You, Man, Marylin Delpy in The Social Network.

To her current role as Ann Perkins in Parks and Recreation, who is the show’s moral support when the other characters have difficulties.

In 2008, Jones took taking the initiative and co-wrote, alongside her friend Will McCormack, Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012). This film flips the typical romantic comedy on its head as it follows a divorcing pair who can’t seem to break apart.

The movie is both humorous and emotional, due in large part to Jones’s portrayal of a jittery, frenetic, yet endearing character.

On a Wednesday late afternoon, I encountered Rashida Jones at the Palihouse, a West Hollywood hotel that had been a backdrop for some of her film scenes. It was a week before Obama’s reelection, and she was feeling tense about the result.

Nonetheless, she embodied a unique blend of the most admirable and imperfect qualities of the characters she has portrayed, so it seemed natural to hug her for a good thirty seconds after our discussion was through. –Kathryn Borel

I. Inebriated youths are enamored by celebrities

Did you happen to be present on the set today?

RASHIDA JONES declared that she took the day off.

BLVR: Will you be placing a food order?

RJ affirmed that they would be having the beet and orange salad.

BLVR: Is it not true that beets are the most invigorating of all vegetables?

RJ proposed that there is likely a secret society of hipsters creating the trendy food movements. He noted that ten years ago, beets were not a commonly enjoyed food, and people would often turn their noses up at the thought of eating kale.

Do you recall the time when portobello mushrooms became a popular item?

Rashida requests the beet salad, but without any oranges included.

BLVR: Is your feeling towards oranges one of dislike?

RJ voiced their distaste for the combination of nuts and fruit in their salad, expressing that they wanted to keep it simple and just have a regular salad.

BLVR: I’m curious to know what the latest and greatest superfood is. In the previous year, pomegranate was popular–

RJ: Açai… What’s the latest popular superfood? I’m guessing it might be argan oil. [ Pause ] Or maybe chia. I eat chia seeds often. Chia Pets are now considered a dietary staple. Everyone’s talking about chia Pets like they were the new brussels sprouts.

BLVR: Correct. [ Pause ] You were actively working in support of Obama during his campaign in Iowa. Who do you think is most likely to be swayed by celebrity influence?

RJ: Young drinkers are particularly drawn to celebrities, particularly in the evenings, when they are in the same vicinity. I remember a funny incident when I went to a tailgate with Adam Scott, during a massive football match between Iowa State and Northern Iowa.

The game was on the TV, but was muted so that we could speak for a few minutes, though it didn’t really work. People then gathered around us to take pictures.

In this way, everyone is more or less trading photos for interest in the election and votes for the candidate they are campaigning for. [Laughs]

BLVR: Did they inquire you? Did you feel like you were surrounded by knowledgeable young people?

In an ironic way, there was a lot of productive dialogue. I attended a gathering for women who were going to motivate their peers to register for the electoral process.

BLVR asked, “What was that you said?”

RJ expressed disbelief that there is still a debate about who has control of our bodies and the potential overturn of Roe v. Wade.

They lamented that, with all the technology and advancement around us, society has not become a balanced and peaceful place.

They were shocked to find that people who want progress feel guilty since it is seen as un-American, and that being American is seen as staying ignorant and going backward.

BLVR: The disturbing aspect of social media is that it provides a platform for those with animosity to gain agreement.

RJ expressed their disbelief that the current situation does not embrace positivity and worldwide solidarity.

BLVR: Does this discourage you from taking part in the exchange? Is there a time when it would be wise to halt the discourse due to your visibility?

RJ: Absolutely. That’s the thing–I joined Twitter last year, both to promote my movie and also to support the Obama campaign. But I’m starting to think that maybe I should get out of it, since it’s not good for me.

There’s so much input, and people can contact me all the time, but if I want to locate an old friend or find a kind word someone may have said about my movie, I have to sort through the idiocy.

The sense of entitlement, the typos–which drives me crazy, [Pause] and all the hate, fear, and narrow-mindedness.


BLVR: I was eager to discuss your movie, so I obtained a copy of the screenplay to re-examine its composition.

RJ exclaimed in appreciation, expressing their gratitude for the gesture.

BLVR inquired if the opinion of others was the same as their own, inquiring if the reception to the product was positive; was it well-reviewed?

RJ remarked that those who enjoyed the production genuinely enjoyed it, while those who did not understand it.

The primary complaint was that the tone was inconsistent and not directed, however this was done intentionally. There were a few reviews that were very critical.

BLVR: Who specifically? It’s okay if you don’t want to mention any names.

RJ: I can really recall some of the criticism I got! [Laughs] Someone wrote, “This film will never be noticed” and some others said, “Rashida Jones has the ability to be in a movie, but she shouldn’t write for herself.”

My reaction was, “Do you guys understand that those two things are related?” I didn’t just dream up a script and then thought, “Oh! I should take on the lead role?” It was almost like, “How can I make this lacking material work?” It was tricky for me at Sundance.

BLVR asked: What is the reason behind this?

RJ confessed that in their intense drive to make the movie and get it to Sundance, they had forgotten that people would eventually watch it.

BLVR: You experienced numerous difficulties while attempting to get the project funded and completed. Unfortunately, the companies that agreed to work on it eventually shut down.

RJ shared how some companies had to shut their doors, their plans were disrupted, and their financial backers withdrew their support.

BLVR: Was there ever a time when you considered giving up?

RJ: No, in the past I had the inclination to believe that whatever was meant to take place would eventually do so.

That’s likely one of my biggest flaws and something that I have had to strive hard to overcome: the thought that the universe would work out the details for me. However, when creating a movie, that isn’t the case. The universe will not always be on your side.

BLVR: Abandoning a creative concept and no longer attempting to make it a reality means there is a significant probability that it will be lost forever.

RJ shared that sometimes a project can seem to be on track, only for the company to fold a month later. In their case, they had a number of offers, but one of them wanted the option to not use Rashida if they deemed her to not be financially viable.

Through the adversity, RJ found themselves becoming more protective of their work and taking stock to ask if it was worth the effort.

It can be difficult to tell if our creative projects are worth the effort, due to the subjective nature of their value.

RJ commented that the film they created was not a political documentary, but rather a portrayal of a relationship.

The script was inspired by their own experiences and those of people they knew. Additionally, they noted that the movie was based on relationships they had both had in the past and that the theme hadn’t faded away over time.

BLVR: What did you do to get ready for writing this film, your first? Did you read the books by Robert McKee and the other essential authors?

RJ: Absolutely. I had the opportunity to attend the Robert McKee intensive weekend fifteen years ago and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It was such an amazing experience to watch Casablanca for so long and have it broken down in such detail.

Additionally, I read Story and Save the Cat! [by Blake Snyder] and I became obsessed with The Writer’s Journey [a book by Christopher Vogler that has its roots in Joseph Campbell’s The Hero with a Thousand Faces].

Joseph Campbell is my hero; I truly believe his work is the only reason I can write at all.

BLVR: How did that book appeal to you?

RJ explains that his dad, the legendary music producer Quincy Jones, was a big influence in his life. His dad is passionate about Campbell and storytelling, and he is keenly intrigued by the connection between science and soul

. He enjoys reading books that explore the relationship between neural pathways and the heart.

BLVR asked if any screenplays had been read for research purposes.

RJ and I had a great time watching several films, particularly Broadcast News and several Woody Allen classics, most notably Manhattan and Annie Hall.

BLVR: It is understandable. The dialogue pattern in Celeste and Jesse Forever bears some resemblance to the style of Woody Allen.

RJ: [Laughs] A little? We pinched the idea.

The scene in our flick where Andy and I are at the wedding, playing with the minuscule corn, was a complete steal from the lobster scene in Annie Hall.

It has to do with that instant when you’re like, “I’m opting for this other individual, who isn’t going to grasp something about the heart of me, yet I’m making this decision. I’m just selecting this.”

Third Feminist

This third individual holds feminist principles in their beliefs and values. They strive to achieve equality between sexes and genders and to create a world where everyone can experience fairness and justice.

They are passionate about addressing gender-based issues and fighting for the rights of those who are historically oppressed.

BLVR: You committed yourself to writing for three months straight in your backyard. Could you tell me what kind of routine you followed? The contrast between writing and being on set, which is so structured, must be quite stark.

RJ began his day by waking up, followed by Will coming over. They would then drink coffee together and converse. This pattern continued for a period of a month and a half, with the two simply talking.

They acquired a large board and discussed each element of the story while also noting it down. It was then that they started writing some scenes. RJ was on hold for Parks and Recreation and because of an impending strike, there were not many auditions for him.

He thus had limited activities to occupy himself.

On some days, he would be inspired and write a scene in the night and send it to Will for review in the morning. Most of the time, however, they would sit side-by-side and determine the purpose of the scene, the game on top of it, and if it could achieve more than one thing.

My Dad has had a lifelong friend, Mike Nichols, whom I think is the best. Every time I take a trip to New York, I make sure to take him out to lunch so that I can bombard him with questions.

He’s very good at telling stories, and he taught me that stories are either a negotiation, a conflict, a seduction, or all three. Another friend also gave me a few helpful tips

. He said to not include all the colloquialisms while writing in order to create a rhythm. This was very useful information to have, and I found it great that nobody cares when you’re writing a script in L.A. because everyone is doing it.

Every coffee shop in this city is bustling with people typing away on their laptops, working on a project in Final Draft. I must confess, I find the sight rather intimidating.

RJ: [Chuckles] It can be tough, but it’s also great for me as an actor. People usually respond with a sarcastic, “Oh, you’re an actress and you’re writing a script? Let me know when you’re done.” That gave us a little room to have no expectations.

We drafted it within four months and sent it to our friends, including Jesse, the titular character, who’s a neighbor and works at Warner Bros. We got some incredible notes from writer and development friends.

Then, we went to Jennifer Todd, who had given Will his first movie job and me my first employment in L.A.–

BLVR: Pardon the intrusion, but what was the first employment opportunity you took on in Los Angeles?

RJ was the third Feminist in If These Walls Could Talk 2 and their one line was, “This is not the kind of behavior we are looking for in this place, buddy.”

BLVR: It’s easy to recognize that you had a feminist agenda in mind due to the use of the term “man.”

RJ recalled the notes meeting with Jennifer Todd and Debbie Liebling, who was overseeing Fox Atomic, and commented that Jennifer remarked “That was the best notes meeting I’ve ever had. It was too good to be true.” and was indeed accurate in her statement.

BLVR: Is there a message that the film industry is sending with the narrative that your movie has been dropped multiple times? Does this have more to do with the current climate of the industry than the material itself?

RJ suggested that if they had made this movie a decade ago, they would not have had to go through so much difficulty.

Executives are so accustomed to using their “quadrant language” that they have trouble categorizing films that have elements of romance, comedy, and drama, like Broadcast News. Such movies are hard to place in the current system.

Only Noah Baumbach can craft a film that successfully intertwines all four cinematic categories, but few other filmmakers have the same capability.

RJ stated that he believed comedy was going through a developmental period and that he was uncertain of the outcome.

He continued on to explain that he had to use a variety of methods, including asking favors and making promises, in order to acquire the resources needed to make their movie.

RJ also mentioned that he had asked his friend if they could film in the hotel they were in, promising not to cause any damage. RJ concluded by emphasizing the effort that went into making their film on a limited budget.

When our press tour took us to Dallas, a journalist remarked that in the past, adults would go to the cinema and children would watch television. But now, it’s the opposite – children are going to the movies, and adults are tuning in to TV.

That is one of the reasons why people don’t feel the need to go out and view a movie unless it’s something special like in 3-D or has an amazing sensory experience.

Because of the high-quality TVs with surround sound, people can wait two weeks to watch it in the comfort of their own home – or even watch movies released at Sundance straight away.

BLVR: To further look into your writing activity–I think it is essential to inquire of writers who have been used to leaving their abode to work. Did you dress up daily when you sat down to compose?

RJ confessed that if he and Will ever lacked motivation, they would dress up in humorous costumes, complete with an odd headpiece and several layers of clothing. This, he said, was a great way to get beyond their own mental blocks.

In an interview, Susan Orlean mentioned that she showers and puts on some makeup as if she is readying herself for a regular day in the office. That is why I asked the question.

RJ has taken on a personal project to not go outside in a disheveled state. She showers and wears a proper outfit because she feels too old for that. Her nineteen-year-old sister can look attractive without any effort.

But RJ and her best friend Will, who is also her writing partner, have a more conservative attitude. Even though they joke around, they still maintain a level of respect; for example, they won’t work together in their pajamas.


BLVR: My friend Sarah, an author and editor, told me when she heard I was speaking with you: “I’m curious to know what life was like in her residence. Was it cheerful? Was growing up in her family a joyful experience like a jazzy tune?”

RJ chuckled fondly as he reminisced about his and his sister’s idealized childhood in the late ’70s and early ’80s.

Celebrity culture was not as prominent back then, with no paparazzi or internet, so even the upper-class, ostentatious kids had no idea what went on behind the scenes.

The family lived in a ranch-style home, and their circle of friends ranged from George Benson and Steven Spielberg to kids from RJ’s Montessori school.

Birthdays were always celebrated with a trampoline, piñata, and cake, and the music was always set to his dad’s two compilation albums, The Dude and Sounds … And Stuff Like That!!, which featured Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, Patti Austin, James Ingram, and Luther Vandross.

Every Sunday night, his parents would invite their friends over to the house, the Brazilian cook Remi would make soul food and traditional Brazilian dishes, and everyone would drink wine and sit outside.

The parents of the Poitiers, Maya Rudolph, and Lumets all knew each other, and RJ’s dad even asked for advice on raising biracial kids.

BLVR: The perfect version of California is portrayed; one that is bathed in sunshine, progressive and funky.

RJ confirmed that the area had an abundance of avocado trees and plenty of shade.

BLVR: It has been said that you were a bit of an uncomfortable young person…

RJ reminisced about how he was overweight as a child. He was content with being that way during his preteen and early teenage years, as it allowed him to grow and develop certain aspects of himself that he would have missed out on if he had been beautiful young.

At the age of twelve, it is suggested that young girls should be confined to reading books.

RJ: [ In a conspiratorial manner ] My plan is to make my child gain more weight. I want to give them glasses and braces and then let them eat whatever they want!

BLVR proposed that they could have their grand unveiling at the age of twenty-seven.

RJ suggested that the time limit could either be forty or never.

My opinion, which has been disproved countless times, is that artists possess an advantage in relationships due to their capacity for appreciating the advantages of working together creatively.

RJ commented that artists have a tendency to be fickle and to chase inspiration, which can lead them to search for something new in order to feel inspired again. This could even mean entering a new relationship.

BLVR inquired if the person thought that they would be with an individual who is an artist in the end.

RJ declared that it is not likely for the person he has in mind to be an actor. Instead, it may be a writer or someone who can comprehend the creative procedure without having to use cosmetics for a living.

He added that male actors have to wear makeup and be made up, and that there are people who have no other choice but to become actors because of their talent.

He continued that the thing with acting is that they make a lot of money, which they do not feel they deserve and they are still dependent on others to give them jobs.

BLVR: At any moment, the business may choose to take away all of it.

RJ commented that people do not like the way she looks, and it is not even related to her behavior.

She does not consider herself to be like Michael Shannon, wanting to express something inside her. She wants to experience challenges and humbleness, but sadly, it is almost impossible for women in acting to age gracefully.

Unless you are Meryl Streep, who is an “angel from God” that does not belong to any category, it is difficult to maintain a positive self-esteem based on how people perceive you.


When one is ready, they have taken the necessary steps to ensure they are prepared for whatever may come their way. Being prepared is essential to ensure success and to avoid any potential problems that may arise.

BLVR: Could you explain what aspects of your personality you exaggerated to form the Celeste character?

RJ admits to having a need to be correct and a strong sense of justice. Additionally, the speaker has the ability to thin-slice people and get an accurate sense of who they are.

While RJ jokes about his fine-tuned intuition, it is noted that sometimes the initial decisions made based on his intuition are not always correct.

The speaker goes on to relate this to his relationship with Jesse in the movie and to some men he has encountered in real life, commenting that they can be “bossy and disrespectful.”

BLVR: Jesse is viewed unfavorably by Celeste.

RJ is an alumnus of Saturday Night Live, the renowned American comedy show.

BLVR: In the film, there is a remarkable bond between you and Andy, a hint of sexual tension, and then a distaste for what he stands for, all of which are depicted in the movie.

RJ expressed that he and Will, being fans of romantic comedies, wanted to do something new to add to the genre.

They considered how usually in the movies, the breakups are depicted in a rather unrealistic way: two people getting into a huge argument, then a plate gets thrown, followed by a lot of crying and eventually the couple gets back together.

But they wanted to show how a real breakup is, with all the long and difficult stages of it.

BLVR: It is often a wish that somebody would be eliminated; or that a piano would crash down upon them.

RJ: [Laughs] I can definitely relate to having those types of thoughts about my former partners.

I remember when somebody said something similar to what Elijah Wood’s character says in the movie–“You’re ready when you’re ready”–to me while I was in the midst of getting back together with an ex.

I thought to myself, “Don’t tell me that, because it’s like you’re assuming this has an end!” It’s like when a surgeon is doing an operation and they have to cut through all those layers of tendons, veins, and muscle before they can get to the organ.

It’s the same thing with a broken heart or a foggy mind–they’re still connected.

BLVR: We need to reconsider the definition of “working out” when people apologize for something not going as expected. However, it could be that it did have a successful outcome while it lasted.

RJ proclaimed, “Absolutely.” He is currently immersing himself in a book entitled The Future of Love by Daphne Rose Kingma.

This book has the concept that any moment could be a relationship. As an example, one might cross paths with an attractive person on the street and have a relationship with them

. Thus, there could be an ideal version of each relationship, and this could range from a short-lived encounter to a long-lasting friendship.

Other Options You Might Consider

It is possible to avoid plagiarism by altering the structure of a text without changing its overall context and the message it conveys.

This can be done by recasting the words, phrases, and sentences in a different manner. The original meaning and intent should remain intact, however, in order to maintain the markdown formatting.

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