The last time we saw Rashida Jones lawyering up, the actress was going toe-to-toe with Facebook enfante terrible Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) in the closing moments of the zeitgeist-friending The Social Network. In the Our Idiot Brother (August 26), a dramedy about urban sisters dealing with the wrecking ball of Paul Rudd’s title character’s well-meaning hippie lifestyle, she’s a different sort of legal eagle: openly lesbian with chic style that’s equal parts Brooklyn and boardroom. For our sit-down at L.A.’s Four Seasons Hotel, the Parks and Recreation star talked about donning hipster eyewear, kissing Zooey Deschanel and why starring in The Muppets was like marrying Tom Cruise.
Out: This role is a bit of a departure for you. What drew you to the character?
Rashida Jones: Probably that, in a way. In some ways she is like the characters that I play — she’s stable and loyal and a good friend and all that stuff, but externally, it was definitely fun to try to do something a little bit different than what I’ve done.
As far as putting together the wardrobe, the poindexter glasses, how much input did you have on that?
Jesse [Peretz], the director, had a very specific idea of what he wanted this character to look like because he wanted it to reflect people that he actually knew and that I actually know. We wanted to find a good balance of somebody who’s in a professional world, who has to be somewhat preppy and conservative but still has their own little twists on it. We didn’t want it to be too ironic because then it’s annoying.
The movie’s funny at times, but it can also be dark, especially in the relationship drama that your character goes through with Natalie (Deschanel). How did you feel about the resolution and — spoiler! — the idea of forgiving an adulterous act?
I think it kind of had to be that way, because she suffered so much humiliation and betrayal. I liked the fact that she stands up for herself and that they can be together, because relationships are tough and it doesn’t always work out the way you want. If you can weather the hard times, it’s worth giving it a shot.
How would you compare kissing Deschanel vs. Rudd, your fiancé in I Love You, Man?
Very different. Less stubbly — Zooey’s less stubbly. The kissing stuff with me and Zooey was kind of sweeter. Paul and I was more for comedy. But they’re both great kissers. I’m not going to rate one over the other. [Laughs]
You co-hosted the GLAAD Awards in April with Amy Poehler. Do you feel like you’ve been embraced by the LGBT community?
I’m trying real hard, I don’t know if it’s happened yet. It was so great, that was such a warm audience. They were so nice to us. I got to meet Dolly Parton, which is like the best thing ever. But yeah, I hope so. It’s funny because [my] and Amy’s [characters] on Parks and Recreation, I feel like there’s a little bit of an underlying romantic tension. We’re platonic, but we’re slightly in love with each other on the show and kind of in real life.
The fall TV season in general has a lot of female-driven comedies, and Bridesmaids did so well this summer — does it feel like an exciting time for women in comedy?
Yeah, I mean, I think it’s always an exciting time for women in comedy, but I’m happy that other people are starting to jump on that bandwagon. Part of me is pissed, like, c’mon already, let’s stop having the conversation in terms of gender and just let people be funny, and part of me is really excited because I feel like Kristen Wiig and Amy and Tina [Fey], they’re just damn funny. Who cares if they’re ladies? And if it makes women feel empowered, great, but if we’re talking about it in terms of inequality, I’m kind of sick of the conversation. I want it to be, let’s celebrate people who are funny and talented.
Speaking of, what was your experience making The Muppets like?
So cool and so surreal. It was like growing up with a poster on your wall and idol worshiping and getting to work with that person. I’m sure it’s very similar to how Katie Holmes feels about Tom Cruise -- she said she grew up worshipping him and now she’s married to him. I’m not married to the Muppets, yet, but that’s what it felt like.
Who was your favorite Muppet as a kid?
I love Fozzie. And Kermit really won me over when we worked together.