What connects Aubrey Plaza to Sally Rooney and the White Lotus? | life and style

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Comedian-turned-actor Aubrey Plaza… Photography: Lisa O’Connor/Rex/Shutterstock

If buying actor stocks were possible, you would be advised to invest in Aubrey Plaza. The comedian-turned-actor has been ubiquitous over the past decade on Parks and Recreation and Ingrid Goes West. Soon we will see her in the return of The White Lotus – only Jennifer Coolidge survives her pleasant first stint, as the privileged few vacationing in Sicily. And Plaza received rave reviews in the US for the thriller Emily the Criminal (which she also produced). Buy, buy, buy.

Tell stories

Pier Paolo Pasolini
… appeared in Les Petites Heures, inspired by Giovanni Boccace’s Decameron, as did Pier Paolo Pasolini … Photography: Sportsphoto/Allstar

Last year, Plaza revealed that she had married her partner, writer/director Jeff Baena. In 2017, she appeared in Baena’s medieval sex farce The Little Hours, loosely based on Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron. He is not the first to draw inspiration from classic 14th-century Italian tales: Pier Paolo Pasolini’s 1971 film Il Decameron is one of many works drawn from the source.

Big in Italy

Natalia Ginzburg
…who was a friend of novelist Natalia Ginzburg… Photograph: public domain

Pasolini, who was killed in 1975 (still unresolved), was a towering figure in Italian culture as a director, poet, public intellectual, political activist and more. He was also a friend of Natalia Ginzburg, who was primarily a novelist and essayist but also elected to parliament in 1983. She appeared in Pasolini’s The Gospel According to Saint Matthew.

Natalia’s Lexicon

Sally Rooney
…an epigraph whose essay My Vocation appears in Sally Rooney’s latest novel… Photography: David Levenson/Getty Images

Ginzburg died in 1991, but is enjoying an English-language revival, with her work reprinted by Daunt and the New York Review of Books. Perhaps best known for her Family Lexicon “novel-cum-memoir,” she was championed by Maggie Nelson and Rachel Cusk. Sally Rooney’s third novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You, features an epigraph from Ginzburg’s essay My Vocation.

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Jemima Kirke
…which Conversations With Friends became a TV series starring Jemima Kirke, best known for Girls, also starring Christopher Abbot, who was in Black Bear with Aubrey Plaza. Photography: PA

By Rooney’s standards, it’s been a quiet time, with the novel and TV adaptation of Conversations with Friends falling short of Normal People’s heights. Jemima Kirke featured in the recent TV series but remains best known for Girls. Also among the cast of Girls was Christopher Abbot, who appeared in 2020 in the meta-drama Black Bear: leading was Aubrey Plaza displaying his disturbing deadpan style. “Plaza’s best role to date,” said Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian; others seem to follow. Invest.

Pairing notes

Lily Along with Dan Murphy, Plaza writes children’s books. Their second album, The Return of the Christmas Witch, will be released in October.

To eat During the filming of Jeff Baena , and culinary themed comedy Spin Me Round, Plaza included on Instagram an encounter with chef Massimo Bottura, whose Osteria Francescana restaurant in Moderna is one of the most ornate in Italy. Start saving.

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