KATIE ASELTON (The League) Exclusive Interview

Katie Aselton

I recently got a chance to speak with KATIE ASELTON who plays Jenny on FX’s new show, The League, which airs on Thursdays at 10:30pm.

She talked about what’s coming up on The League this season, what it feels like to be the only girl among all the guys, the film she recently directed and starred in, and much more. So enjoy the interview below.

Congratulations on ‘The League’. Can you talk about how you got involved with the show?

Katie Aselton: Thank you. Well, I believe the way it all happened was Jackie [Marcus Schaffer] and Jeff [Schaffer], the creators, when they were putting together the show sort of put out into the universe what they wanted and that was just a group of actors that were really comfortable improvising and being in that type of environment. When our agent had heard that she immediately sent over ‘The Puffy Chair’ which was a movie that my husband, Mark Duplass, and I did together a couple of years ago. It was very similar to that type of approach. It was a whole lot of improv and keeping the moments very real and when they saw that they gave us a call. We met with them and we really, really clicked and so from there on out we were sort of onboard.

Is there a script at all on the show?

Katie Aselton: It is all improv, we’re given an outline for every episode. So each scene is sort of summarized into a paragraph. They give us some key phrases that they really like and really want to hear and we sort of make it all our own which is really fun.

How difficult is it to keep going and find those moments?

Katie Aselton: It’s not that difficult in that I think each one of us has our character in us. We’re not that far off and they’re definitely sort of extreme versions of ourselves, but that being said it’s not hard to find what our character would do in those scenarios.

How it working with all these guys, being pretty much the only woman on the show?

Katie Aselton: It’s horrible. I hate all of them. No, honestly, it’s really fun because really my character, Jenny, is a guy’s girl. I sort of have that quality in myself as well. I do like to hang with the guys and do that kind of thing. The boys are amazing. Steve Rannazzisi who plays my husband and Nick Kroll who plays Ruxin and Paul Scheer and John Lajoie, honestly you couldn’t ask for a better group of guys to spend your days with. And my husband is one of them, my real life husband.

How is that working out?

Katie Aselton: It’s nice, really nice. We’ve got a two year old who’s terrorizing me right now but if we were working on different jobs we would have totally opposite schedules, would never see each other. This is sort of nice. We have a baby sitter during the day and then we get to go to work and spend our days together.

And you don’t get tired of each other.

Katie Aselton: That never happens. We actually like each other. We get that time together and so it’s good.

Jenny is more part of the guys than the other wives. Will she get accepted by the guys and get her own team later in the season?

Katie Aselton: I think she definitely sort of digs her way in a little bit deeper and that doesn’t always have the best outcome. That’s what I’ll say about that but she definitely asserts herself in the league.

What’s coming up this season on the show?

Katie Aselton: This season, you’re really just going to watch these people, the guys and the girls and their relationships evolve and grow and it all sort of is grounded by the league and it all sort of comes back to that in the end, but I think really in this first season you’re just going to get to know these guys a little better which is great. Hopefully, if we get to a season two we can see where they go from there, but I think by the end of the first season you’re going to get a real good sense of who these guys are and what the league really means to them and what they’re willing to sacrifice for that.

How many episodes are there in this season?

Katie Aselton: Six in the first season.

Have you shot them all already?

Katie Aselton: We have shot all of them so it’s totally surreal. We’re kind of done. Done and waiting, hoping that people love it.

Have you gotten any feedback yet, have people come up to you that have seen the show?

Katie Aselton: Yeah, it’s been totally cool. I was sort of like, ‘Ah, no one will see it. Who watches FX?’ But people do. It’s crazy. Just the other day Mark and I got out, we went to the Pasadena Rose Bowl Flea Market. It was like eight in the morning and we piled out with our daughter and the second we got out of the car they were like, ‘Man, we love “The League”.’ I was like, ‘Really?’ I still haven’t figured out yet how to really respond to people like that because I’ve never really had that before. I always get really friendly, like, ‘Really? Thank you so much. It’s so amazing.’ I can’t just go, ‘Thanks, man. That’s really nice.’ I’m like, ‘Wee!’

And by the end of this year you’ll be tired of it.

Katie Aselton: Oh, well, I hope I get tired of it. I don’t know if you can get tired of good compliments. I haven’t yet.

Who’s your favorite character on the show apart from your own?

Katie Aselton: I feel like I should say one of my husbands, either my real husband or my fake husband but I think I really like Nick Kroll’s character, Ruxin. It’s so funny, while we were shooting it Steven Rannazzisi who plays my husband, Kevin, coined Nick as being the least likable guy on television but there’s something in the way that it’s all come together that I feel a lot of compassion for Ruxin. I feel like he maybe married his really hot college girlfriend and now his life is just heading downhill since then. Like, he peaked probably when he asked Sofia to marry him and she said yes. That was the peak and it was all downhill from there. Now you have to be married to the hot person who really isn’t that interesting in the end.

I see how he’s unlikable but in a good way.

Katie Aselton: In a really good way, right? While we were shooting Nick was like, ‘There’s nothing redeeming about my character.’ But I totally disagree. I just feel for him so much. I feel like I have friends like him and you just look at him and go, ‘I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. Your life on paper should be much better. On paper it is better and in reality it’s not that. So, sorry.’

Your husband on the show, Kevin, has a better deal, right?

Katie Aselton: Yes, he really does. Kevin kind of really scored, I think. I think that Jenny is the kind of girl that I want to be. She’s kind of that super cool girl who can roll with everything and ends up doing really cool things for her husband, special sex and whatnot.

I saw that you directed a movie called ‘The Freebie’. Can you talk about that?

Katie Aselton: Yeah, I did. That was my first foray into that. It all sort of came about because I was just looking for great work and nothing was really coming along and I was sort of at a weird place where I wasn’t enough of a name to get a project like people with bigger names. They were sort of getting priority over me and I was just getting kind of down about it. Finally, Mark looked at me and said, ‘Well, just make your own thing.’ I was like, ‘I don’t write so I don’t know how that’s going to happen.’ I didn’t feel like I had any original ideas and then one day I was having a conversation with my friend who was sort of going through some weird stuff with his girlfriend and just this idea sort of came about, this idea that this married couple would get one free night with someone else and what that would do to a couple. That’s where it all came about. It’s a project that’s very much like ‘Puffy Chair’ or ‘The League’ that’s very loose and very improvised and it all came from an outline. So that protected me and the whole I don’t write thing. I just put together an outline of what I wanted. I ended up putting the project together with Dax Shepard. I got an amazing crew of people from the indie world who I have just loved and wanted to work with for a really long time and we made this film in eleven days. I think it works, too. I’m really excited about it.

Do you have a release date or are you doing festivals?

Katie Aselton: We’re doing festivals for this so it’s sitting in the hands of Sundance right now and I’m really just on the verge of hyperventilating on a daily basis waiting to hear.

How was that experience, directing and acting?

Katie Aselton: It was really amazing. I think working on ‘The Freebie’ was really special in that it was a really small cast and crew. There was a whole lot of trust and it was just collaborative as you could possibly hope for in the best way. You really just trusted everyone’s ideas and so I didn’t feel solely responsible for the film. I knew that like in the scenes that I was in, the ones where I was acting and it was the really emotional stuff Matt Sanders, our editor, would be there watching it. Mark was in the background. Mark [Duplass] executive produced it. He was there sort of keeping an eye on things. So I was really able to sort of release it all to them and then after every take they’d come back and be like, ‘This is what we’ve got. This is what we don’t have. Where do you want it to go from here?’ It was really nice. Then Ben Kasulke, my DP, has a great eye and a great ability to tell stories and Dax was so good at doing that stuff, too. So it was really much less pressure than I thought it was going to be and we were able to sort of come together and sort of tell the story all together. It was awesome. I don’t know if that would ever happen again but it was an amazing experience for a first project for sure.

Is that something you want to do more of?

Katie Aselton: Yeah, I totally would but I feel like I would have to keep it small and on the same scale that I did this one on. It was just sort of magic and it worked really well that way.

You also did something with your husband, can you talk about that?

Katie Aselton: I had a small role in his studio film that he’s got coming out soon. It has no title but it’s a Fox Searchlight project with John C. Reilly and Marissa Tomei. I just do like a very small thing in that. I did a movie with Tony Shaloub last winter in Wisconsin called ‘Feed the Fish’ which was really fun. I got to jump into Lake Michigan twice in February. I’m a polar bear so that’s cool. That’s pretty much it, and then there’s obviously ‘The League’ which I’m crossing my fingers for and seeing what’s happening next. We’re crossing our fingers for a season two of ‘The League’.

If you could guest star on any other show which one would it be?

Katie Aselton: I just auditioned, and this isn’t going to mean anything to your readers yet but it will, but Greg Garcia, the guy who did ‘My Name is Earl’ has created this new pilot called ‘Keep Hope Alive’ and I just auditioned for the guest role in the pilot of that and that is an amazing script and people are going to love that show. It’s really good. So that would be amazing. I’ve already gotten to guest start on ‘The Office’ and so that was kind of a dream come true. I did that and I was like, ‘Okay, I’m done. I can die now. We’re happy.’ Other than that I think it’d be really fun to guest star on something totally different like ‘Grey’s Anatomy’. I want to be on a hospital bed or something or in prison.