If you run into Alison Brie, ask her to show you her sweet wrestling moves. “A lot of people want me to pull these moves out as a party trick,” says Brie. “I’m just a pro-wrestler now,” she quips.
That’s not too far from the truth. The actress is starring in Netflix’s latest series, “GLOW,” which follows the personal and professional lives of a ragtag group of misfit women transforming themselves into the Glorious Ladies of Wrestling. It’s a delicious trip to the ’80s and Brie, who plays Ruth, is right at the center. “I really felt like a team captain,” she says over the phone, upbeat. “I wanted to really prove myself while working on the role.”
It’s Brie’s first go at leading a television show. And the 34-year-old — who is perhaps most popular for her roles in “Mad Men” as Trudy Campbell and “Community” as Annie Edison — fought damn hard for it. “I was told kind of early on that people weren’t sure if I was quite right for the part,” she says. “You audition for certain things and you’re like, ‘Oh this would be a cool job, but I don’t know if I’m quite right for this part.’ And there are other things that I read and it’s immediately like, ‘This is my role!’ [“GLOW” was] one of those.”
Premiering on Friday, June 23, we’ll finally get to see her as a bonafide wrestler babe. One that discovered pretty early on that wrestling is a bit more, let’s say, intimate than other sports. “The first bigger move that I learned for the show is the headscissor. And learning the headscissor [my stunt double] was like, ‘Basically you want your vagina to hit [your opponent’s] chin, and that’s how you know you’re in the right position. If you feel contact, you did it right.’ We were like oh!” She laughs, hard. “Great!”
And even though she doesn’t do party tricks yet, she has taken her new moves on the road. “I did put Larry King in a headlock [a few] days ago, and that was kind of cool,” she says. Brie’s quick to assure though, it wasn’t hardcore. “It was a very gentle headlock.”
Even outside of showing Larry King her wrestling prowess, Los Angeles native can’t be stopped. The actress was recently announced for “The Papers,” a film to be directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep. “I’m just as shocked, trust me!” she says, in disbelief. Plus, “The Little Hours,” (“This is the most difficult movie to describe. Raunchy medieval nun comedy?”) is coming later this month, and “BoJack Horseman” later this year.
She’s enthusiastic about the return of the animated series, which sees her voicing Diane Nguyen, the rare human in an anthropomorphic world. “This is so rude to Diane, but given her behavior, I almost want to see her as a sloth,” Brie says. “She’s deadpan a lot of the time, and she has gone through periods of not knowing what —” Brie starts talking slowly, imitating whatever it is a sloth might sound like — “she wants to dooo.” She laughs, again. “It’s not a perfect fit, but you know!”
But for now, “GLOW” — with its imminent release and near-constant press — is her main focus.
“It was really a dream come true,” she says. “It sounds so boring, but I was just grateful and excited. and more than anything I just wanted to do a really do a good job.”
For what it’s worth, Brie is anything but boring. She’s warm, she has a quick wit and — as she’s mentioned many, many times — she’s grateful. “There’s nothing more fun than working on a comedy and getting to laugh with everyone,” she says. Good thing “GLOW” is a riot.
Follow Rachael Clemmons on Twitter — @rachaelclemz