Gill Pringle and Will Tentindo

In The Little Hours, Jeff Baena adapts Boccaccio’s 14th century book The Decameron into a raunchy comedy set in a convent. When Dave Franco’s Massetto flees from his master, he seeks shelter in a convent occupied by Aubrey Plaza, Molly Shannon, Alison Brie and others.

“You see these women and they’re so oppressed in this movie. They just have all this stuff bubbling to the surface and then this guy comes to town and then it’s all sort of unleashed on him,” Brie said about the film. “The other fun thing about that is you just see all the women’s different desires. He’s the impetus for their desires to come out. You see that they all act in distinct ways.

“They take their pent-up aggression on each other, and then take them out on whoever is nearby: the handyman and the groundskeeper, before Dave’s character arrives. Then on Dave, but in a different, more sexually charged way.”

In one scene, Franco, Brie’s real-life husband, has a threesome with two of the nuns, neither of whom are Brie. “When they shot the threesome scene with Aubrey and Jemima [Kirke], I had been shooting all morning, I was changing to go home for the day, and Aubrey was like ‘you’re not going to hang out and watch the scene?’ and I was like ‘Noooo, I’m good. You guys have fun.’”

But Brie’s character is a powerful and aggressive woman who dominates many of the other nuns. She is also starring in GLOW, a Netflix Originals series about women’s professional wrestling, where she plays another aggressive character.

GLOW

“I am inspired by powerful women. All actors want meaty, interesting roles. It’s boring to play the straight man, who I often play. I’m just always looking for new and exciting ventures.

“With her backstory, we kind of played a lot with the hierarchy of the nuns themselves because this was a real thing at that time. Based on the money their family had, there was a hierarchy within the church and within the nunneries. You see that my character, the sort of head ‘mean-girl’, she doesn’t have to do the sort of tasks they have to do. Like laundry and sweeping the floor, and things like that. She has a bigger bedroom. So, I think that’s where a lot of the backstory came from, that she is used to being a spoiled brat and never expected to stay at this convent for very long.

“This and GLOW are both ensemble pieces. Certainly with GLOW, I did think of myself as a team captain, and more than anything I wanted to set a great example for everyone on set, and still be on time. Be the first to set, the first to try any new wrestling move. I really wanted to bust myself out there in an enthusiastic way, and be gracious on set, and kind of hope that it would trickle down to everyone. It wasn’t like ‘now I’m number one! And I’m going to make crazy requests!’ I really didn’t have any interest in being a diva, I’m excited to continue to learn from the people I’m working with, but it was at the forefront of what I was thinking of.”

The Little Hours will be released later this year. GLOW is on Netflix now.

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