Gillian Jacobs is about to rule streaming video: her cult hit Community is headed to Yahoo and she has a Netflix series with Judd Apatow in the works. But first, she’s starring in Life Partners, a movie about two co-dependent best friends that hits video-on-demand on Nov. 6 and arrives in theaters in Dec. 5. TIME caught up with the actress to talk about female friendship, her ideal night in and whether this year is the Year of the Gillians.
TIME: Your co-star Leighton Meester said much of this movie was improvised. How was that?
Gillian Jacobs: I think there was a lot of it that was scripted, and then there’s probably a lot of moments in there that are just us goofing around that they kept in. I’d have to re-watch the movie right now to tell you what I remember being improvised. But I remember it was a really loose, fun atmosphere where it just felt like everyone was hanging out.
Is the director like, “Come on guys, get serious, we need to finish this movie”?
We were professionals about it, but I think they were excited that Leighton and I were getting along because we didn’t know each other before we started the movie. That was a big risk for them, casting two people who never really spent time together.
You two do play convincing best friends.
We didn’t have trailers on that movie, so it’d be everyone hanging out in whatever place we were shooting. Sometimes that gets a little tiresome, but a lot of time that leads to people getting to know each other better and hanging out more, which is great.
So is Leighton your BFF now?
I love Leighton! I have not seen her recently — she was in New York for a long time doing Of Mice and Men, but I think she is one of the nicest, sweetest, funniest people I’ve ever worked with.
The main characters, Sasha and Paige, spend a lot of time just lounging around and cracking jokes in this movie. What’s your ideal girls’ night in?
Watching bad TV and eating food that’s not good for you are two key ingredients, I believe. If at some point along the way you get a pedicure, that sounds pretty perfect.
Sasha and Paige also watch a lot of America’s Next Top Model. Are you a fan?
I haven’t been watching that show as much recently as I have everything that’s on Bravo.
So do you have a favorite Real Housewives franchise?
That’s such a hard question.
They’re like your children.
Exactly. They’re each unique and special in their own way. Maybe Beverly Hills, just because I see some of them around L.A. That is a unique thrill — seeing housewives in the wild.
Do you get starstruck with reality stars?
Oh yes, are you kidding me? I was staying at the Trump SoHo in New York when I was shooting Girls, and they put up every reality star there. Every day I would walk through the lobby and see someone incredible and have to text all my friends.
Speaking of Girls, your upcoming role has been shrouded a bit in mystery. Give me a scoop!
I don’t want to get in trouble with Lena or Jenni Konner, so I’m not going to give you anything good, but how about this: there’s an episode where I wear a full set of pajamas as daywear.
It’s the most comfortable costume I’ve ever worn.
Have Girls and Life Partners given you new insight into female friendship?
I felt like Life Partners did clearly describe unique things about friendship — not just friendship between girls. I felt like it was really true and honest, and I think I related more to this script, just in terms of my own life and my own problems or shortcomings, way more than I have with other scripts. So that was exciting — you don’t always feel that way.
Your Life Partners love interest is played by Adam Brody, who was dating Leighton while you were filming. The director said that was sometimes awkward. Was it?
Well, I’m a very awkward person. At no point did Leighton or Adam try and make it awkward or say anything — I’m just a nervous Nellie. We’re all also actors, so we’re used to this weird job in which we kiss people who are not are significant others. They’re familiar with the concept.
They were stars of some very important teen dramas. In the battle of The O.C. versus Gossip Girl, where do your loyalties lie?
Well, I have huge gaps in my TV-watching because for a long time I didn’t own a TV. When those shows were on the air, I did not own a television, so I have to sadly say I’m not really that familiar with either one of them. But I do remember a lot of my friends in New York being completely obsessed with Gossip Girl.
You should clear your weekend plans and get caught up.
I have my homework cut out for me.
With Life Partners going to video-on-demand first, Community coming to Yahoo and your upcoming Netflix series, you’re really diving into streaming video. Have you noticed that?
Yeah. I remember a couple years ago my friend [House of Cards creator] Beau Willimon was like, “I’m going to do this show for Netflix,” and I was like “Okay, sure, Netflix.” He was such a visionary to see where television was going. I feel really excited by it. Being on network television is not always the most fun. There’s a lot of pressure and demand for audience and people tuning in to watch it live, and I’m not entirely sure that’s the way people watch things anymore. You’re just hoping and praying people are going to sit down at their TV. If you’re a critically acclaimed but not publicized show, it’s pretty daunting. It’s nice to feel liberated from that.
Does moving to Yahoo give Community a chance to do anything it couldn’t have gotten away with before?
I don’t really know what the new rules are. I wonder if these episodes will eventually have to air on TV because of our syndication deal. I’ve not really had a conversation with anyone about that. I have no idea if they can really go nuts with them, or if they still have to keep them within the rules and regulations of TV.
Were you as surprised bythe move as many us were? It sounded like a last-minute deal.
They don’t really ever tell us anything, so I read about it on Twitter. It was the final day of our contracts. I had heard some rumbling that it might happen but nothing really definite, so I read it like you did. I read it probably on Deadline Hollywood.
I don’t know if you’ve seen Gone Girl, but with the success of Gillian Flynn and her book, and with all the cool projects you have coming up, is this the Year of the Gillians?
Wait, but I have a question, is she Gillian [with a hard G] or Gillian [with a soft G]? Because That’s the great American debate.
She’s [hard G] Gillian like you.
Oh my God, I’m so excited to know shes a hard G-Gillian. There aren’t very many of us.
- Taylor Swift Is TIME's 2023 Person of the Year
- Meet the Nation Builders
- Why Cell Phone Reception Is Getting Worse
- Column: It's Time to Scrap the Abraham Accords
- Israeli Family Celebrates Release of Hostage Grandmother
- In a New Movie, Beyoncé Finds Freedom
- The Top 100 Photos of 2023
- Want Weekly Recs on What to Watch, Read, and More? Sign Up for Worth Your Time