Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Interviews: Vanity Fair Q&A

I just realized this post about a Q&A Rashida did with Vanity Fair never actually went up (sorry Chloe). It's from mid-December but better late than never!

Q&A | Question Time

When word hit the Internet not long ago that Rashida Jones, the co-star of NBC’s Parks and Recreation, was creating her own comic book series—a spy thriller called Frenemy of the State, co-written with Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir, that will be published in early 2010 by Oni Press—the response was a resounding “Yes, please.” Actually, as sometimes happens when attractive women mix with comic fandom, things got a little creepy. Bloggers didn’t hesitate to use terms like “geek chubby” when describing their excitement. And as one online commentator noted, “Rashida Jones is so hot, and the fact that she made a comic makes her much hotter.”

Jones isn’t the first actress to try her hand at comic book authorship—Jenna Jameson and Rosario Dawson both created their own graphic novels,
Shadow Hunter and Occult Crimes Taskforce, respectively—but something about Jones’s comic ambitions seems especially surprising. After all, this is the daughter of Quincy Jones and the Mod Squad’s Peggy Lipton. This is the woman who played the woman who cock-blocked Pam on The Office. Sure, she got all the worst lines in the Paul Rudd/Jason Segel flick I Love You Man, but goddammit, she was in I Love You Man! A woman of her pedigree should be hanging out in Hollywood nightclubs, snogging with John Mayer and trying to decide if she’s too drunk to drive. Learning that Rashida Jones wrote a comic book is like finding out that the hot cheerleader at your high school is really into video games and heavy metal. It’s validation that maybe the things that you love don’t necessarily make you a social outcast. To borrow a phrase from Benjamin Franklin, it’s proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

I called Jones to talk about
Frenemy of the State and comics in general. She was gracious and outgoing, talking to me with the warmth of an old friend. And best of all, she was unfazed by the occasional jackassery of my questions—especially when I asked her if she could convince Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau (who she’s rumored to be dating) to slip some Li’l Wayne lyrics into the president’s next speech (“Look at the ice, radiculous price. Your camera has neva seen a picture this nice”)—for which I am eternally grateful.


Your comic is about a rich heiresses named Ariana Von Holmberg who leads a double life as a C.I.A. spy. I’ve heard that the character is loosely based on Paris Hilton but, well… that can’t be true, can it?

It sounds like kinda a stretch, I know.

When most people look at Paris Hilton, they don’t think, “Hmm, I wonder if she’s secretly fighting crime?” They think, “Hmm, I wonder how long until her next amateur porno leaks?”

Back when Paris was at her height of fame and people were just obsessed with her,
I had this funny notion that she’s actually some crazy genius who knew exactly what she was doing, and she was just conducting this elaborate anthropological study on the world. I imagined that she was going home every night and whispering into her mini-recorder: “Day three hundred and twenty seven. I continue to have them all fooled.” That was sort of where the idea for this comic started. And also, I’m obsessed with our country’s almost cannibalistic obsession with people who are famous for no other reason than that they’re famous. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be interesting to give somebody like Paris Hilton another layer? What if her fame is something more than just an overwhelming need to be an object of desire?”


Read the rest here at vanityfair.com

Interview by Eric Spitznagel