Rashida Jones is the coolest actress ever. Upon arriving at our office to discuss her new series Unhitched – which chronicles the dating misadventures of four best buds – she graciously accepted the cupcake I presented for her Feb. 25 birthday and proceeded to chow down without hesitation. I always appreciate a fellow petite gal who loves to eat! After bonding over our mutual appreciation for Prison Break’s Wentworth Miller, The Office star alum dished on her new show and her own love life.
On Unhitched you play Kate, who is a bad dater.
She’s just the most incapable, naïve, idealistic and stupid dater, and she doesn’t know it. She was with a guy for seven years, so it’s been a long time since she’s had to navigate the murky waters of dating, especially now since it’s changed so much.
The show is by the Farrelly brothers, who are known for their gross-out comedies. Were you prepared for that?
Generally I wouldn’t say that’s my jam, but they do it well by creating really well-rounded characters. So when something weird happens, like monkey rape or sleeping with an air guitarist, you feel something for these guys.
You’re the lone girl in a cast of four. How do you handle all that testosterone?
Guys are just straight up. If you’re cool with them, they are seriously loyal and really honest and fun to be with. I love that. For this particular group of guys, they are just so much fun and ridiculous. Honestly, and I know this sounds weird, but I think they just see me as another dude. That would be the biggest compliment. My hair and makeup just take a little bit longer.
What’s your worst dating experience?
I’m not a big dater, so I don’t have horror stories, but I got dumped a lot in college. A guy broke up with me saying something about planting a flower and not having enough sunlight for it to bloom. That was pretty lame. I was like, “Just do the deed, and we’re done. I don’t need your long Harvard metaphor, please.”
This role is so different than the one you played on The Office.
I didn’t want to do anything that was even similar in tone to The Office because its particulars – the one-camera shooting and uncomfortable tone – it doesn’t get any better than that. On Unhitched there’s a lot of physical comedy. Once they saw I was good at acting embarrassed, they just started throwing food all over me and having me felt up. It felt different enough for me to be challenged, and the script made me laugh so hard.
Are you still a fan of The Office?
I’m a huge fan and eternally grateful for the opportunity. Hopefully I’ll do it again at some point. Karen still works for the company.
Your Office storyline might have been your worst dating experience.
That’s true – being emotionally and psychologically cheated on, and then being dumped in front of all of America! I actually had a ton of anxiety about Karen coming between Jim and Pam before the show aired, that I was going to get threatened or egged, people so wanted them together. There were a few supporters who felt like even though they wanted to dislike Karen, they couldn’t. The fact that my character elicited so much emotion from fans in a physical way, that’s flattering too. But I did get yelled at on the street!
You dated your co-star John Krasinski. Are you still close?
He’s still a great friend. It’s not very often you can work with an ex-boyfriend so clearly. That’s a huge testament of what a great person he is.
He recently directed you in a movie.
It’s called Brief Interviews With Hideous Men, and it’s about what every woman knows about men but doesn’t want to admit to herself. It’s twisted but good.
What is John like as a director?
He’s such a great motivator. It’s a tricky thing to be a director because you have to get what you want, but you have to do it in a way that that person wants to give it to you. I guess there are similarities in a relationship and directing. He’s fantastic; really skillful, honest and direct.
Are you looking for someone special?
I’m so happy for all the career things that are happening for me right now and I think it needs my full attention, so I’m cool with that.
Catch Rashida in Unhitched, premiering Sunday, March 2, at 9:30 p.m. on Fox.