While Emmy-nomated actress Lizzy Caplan has gotten much acclaim for her role of feminist trailblazer and sex researcher Virginia Johnson on Showtime’s “Masters of Sex,” she got her start playing hardened but complex characters in a series of comedy-driven projects.
During her hiatuses from the highly-praised drama, Caplan finds herself back to filming big-budget comedies.
This time around, Caplan is featured in Seth Rogen’s new comedy, “The Night Before,” out Friday. It’s a raucous holiday tribute that’s warm enough to please the RomCom lover, and equal parts raunchy to pull in Seth Rogen’s target demo.
In the film Caplan plays Diana, an uber fan of Miley Cyrus, and the ex of Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who’s still trying to win her over.
amNewYork spoke with Caplan about the film.
Since “Masters of Sex” is so emotionally driven, do you intentionally take on lighter fare, like “The Night Before “just to balance yourself out?
It’s not really intentionally, but those are the things that have just come my way during my hiatuses, but it’s interesting because I feel much more primed to do drama as soon as we wrap, but I’m always reminded when I do comedy how much I appreciate the break from the hard-core dramatic work.
You’ve known Seth since “Freaks and Geeks”. What makes him a great collaborator?
It’s easy to forget that Seth is still so young. He’s established himself in the marketplace as someone with one of the clearest voices in comedy, and I think that’s really impressive. He really knows how to make huge movies, so it’s nice to be invited back to keep working with all of those guys because they’re all very lovely. Of course, there’s something kind of sweet about the fact that Seth and I met when we were 15 on “Freaks and Geeks.”
In some movies there can only be one funny female character, but this movie was unique in that it had four funny females, and you all excel in different forms of comedy.
The guys caught some flack in the early days for not really having stronger female characters in their movies or casting straight up comedic actresses. In this movie and even in “Neighbors” it’s changed completely. They’re all well aware that there are really, really funny girls out there. They could have filled those roles out and made them OK, but they were very smart to hire Jillian [Bell], Ilana [Glazer] and Mindy [Kaling].
Do you think that forward thinking is a sign of things changing in the entertainment industry or is it because these guys are the driving forces in comedy?
It’s probably a combination. I wouldn’t say that the business is a warm and inviting place for actresses, generally, but these guys are young and they’re not operating under these weird old guard rules about women being funny. I think that it probably didn’t even cross their minds to not hire funny people.
The excitement Diana has about Miley Cyrus is so endearing. Is there a pop star out there that you would have that reaction partying with?
I got pretty star struck by Miley Cyrus. It was a strange sensation that I got a lot of grief from the boys about. They made fun of me a lot, but I think that Miley Cyrus is making really interesting music. I think she writes a good pop song and she’s a real personality that seems to be something she’s authentically cultivated as opposed to being cultivated by some record executive.
As for “Masters of Sex,” from reading the memoir to working on the third season, has your opinion changed at all about Virginia?
Yes, and I think that’s one of the best things about working in television. Your opinion is constantly changing. She absolutely does some things in the third season that I think would surprise the version of her in the first season.
What are your expectations for season four, coming in 2016?
I really don’t know, but we’re fast approaching the time period where Bill and Virginia get married so I would assume that that happens in season four, but I have no idea for sure.