THE TO DO LIST
Have a Perfect Summer Experience
All in all, Carey's tenacity paid off. CBS Films and producer Brian Robbins of Varsity Pictures joined the project and, with the continued and invaluable help of producer Jennifer Todd, cameras subsequently rolled with an impressive ensemble cast: Plaza, Hader, Scott Porter, Connie Britton, Clark Gregg, Rachel Bilson, Johnny Simmons, Donald Glover, Alia Shawkat, Sarah Steele, Andy Samberg, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.
Production took place in Los Angeles over four six-day weeks, a tight schedule even by independent movie standards. What's more, most of the cast was moonlighting to take part in The To Do List. "We had no one in first position. Everyone was doing their other projects that pay the bills for them. We were lucky that we were able to juggle schedules, and the cast was so great that they were able to make it work and fit it into their schedules," Carey says.
Plaza and Carey welcomed their overdue reunion. "What was so fun about working with Aubrey is that this is a chance for her to do a different character than she's normally done. I always thought it might be fun for her to play more of a Type A kind of role," Carey says.
"It's weird going back and forth because Brandy is nothing like April (her character from 'Parks and Recreation'). In fact, I think they would hate each other," Plaza notes.
Carey mines comedy from awkward sexual situations, and prior to The To Do List, Plaza had only filmed a tame on-screen kiss. "There are a lot of sex scenes that aren't sexy (in the film). Aubrey is such a trooper. She was game for anything, which was great," Carey says.
Plaza observes that Brandy offered countless challenges, but notes that her inexperience with sex scenes made it easier to play her. "I've done it all now, and it's really weird. I'm getting it all out of the way," Plaza says. "The sex is intertwined with my experience as Brandy. I'm using it, in a way. I have to be comfortable doing that as an actor."
Carey gave the actors freedom to draw upon their improvisational skills when filming. "We would shoot it as scripted then improvise a couple of takes," Carey says. "Absolutely we would improvise. Aubrey gets credit for the masturbation scene."
"I had to masturbate aggressively for maybe two hours. I'm a changed woman after shooting this movie," Plaza jokes about a scene in which Brandy tries her hand (no pun intended) at pleasuring herself.
There was an obvious built-in familiarity between Carey and Hader. "There's a short hand. Some directors will be gentle. Maggie can be much more direct with me, which I like," Hader says. "I know her sense of humor and her sensibilities. My performance is doing stuff to try and make her laugh."
"The poor guy is going to get stuck in any movie I do because I love working with him," Carey says. "He's the best to have on set because he makes the crew laugh."
Despite the long hours, Carey points out that filming The To Do List was a perfect summer experience. "It was so much fun being on set with everyone. You're all working long hours. You're so sleep deprived that you all get a little silly. It feels like camp."
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