Why Aubrey Plaza Wants to See More Female Antiheroes in Film

The ‘Emily the Criminal’ star opened up to ‘W’ magazine about complicated female leads.
Aubrey Plaza

Aubrey Plaza.

Aubrey Plaza is known for her deadpan humor, but the actress is interested in inhabiting more complex characters, a goal she’s fulfilled recently with her roles in The White Lotus and Emily the Criminal.

The 38-year-old Parks and Recreation alumna recently chatted with W magazine about her critically acclaimed film, Emily the Criminal, in which she plays the titular character who finds herself ensnared in a credit card scam to rid herself of student loan debt. Plaza shared that the film was shot in just 21 days and said she learned a lot about the world of credit card fraud.

The actress also revealed that her character in the film is an antihero, a trope Plaza thinks there should be more of in Hollywood—for women in particular.

“[Antihero] characters are usually reserved for men. Think of Taxi Driver. That’s because audiences are so conditioned to like female characters,” Plaza said. “Why aren’t the women likable enough? Approachable enough? All these kinds of things are asked only of women. It’s old stuff.”

Plaza’s interview was part of W’s “Best Performances 2023” portfolio, which also featured Keke Palmer, Michelle Yeoh, Ana de Armas, Margot Robbie and more.

Last November, Plaza was up for a Gotham Award for Outstanding Lead Performance for her work in the John Patton Ford-directed movie. She’s also nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Performance for the role. The ceremony will take place on March 4.

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Cara O’Bleness


Cara is a trending news writer/editor for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. A passionate writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience in print and online media, she loves storytelling and believes that words have the power to change the world. Prior to joining the team, Cara worked as a writer and editor across a number of content verticals, including food, lifestyle, health and wellness, and small business and entrepreneurship. In her free time, Cara loves reading, spending time with her family and making her way through Michigan’s many microbreweries. She is a graduate of Michigan State University's School of Journalism.