“Parks and Recreation” Star Rashida Jones on Nepotism and “Monogamy”

This is not news to fans of the TV series "Parks and Recreation," but Rashida Jones is pretty amazing. Equal parts beauty, brains, talent and dazzling personality, what's perhaps most surprising was the warmth exuded by Jones when Popcorn Biz sat down to discuss her new film, "Monogamy."

Shot in eighteen days by director Dana Adam Shapiro, best known for the Oscar-nominated documentary, "Murderball," the film - which is about an engaged hipster couple in Brooklyn whose relationship is slowly disintegrating - debuted at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival, winning the prize for Best New York Narrative and securing distribution by Oscilloscope Laboratories, a film company founded by Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys (who also released "Exit Through the Gift Shop" and "Howl).

"Yauch!" Jones crows. "Not only was it cool that the movie got bought but that a Beastie Boy bought it! That's really cool. They just have really good taste."

Jones calls her experience on "Mongamy," which co-stars Chris Messina ("Devil"), "lucky. Even though it was fast, we were given time. The script was really spare so we'd do, like, twenty minute takes. It's pretty raw but it's cool. In a way, it was perfect because there was none of that production bulls--t. We had all the time to play and the director said, 'In the editing room, I'll figure it out.'"
Jones says the biggest challenge she faced during production was performing several songs that feature her strumming guitar and singing without sheen or show.

"There's definitely a reason I haven't pursued music," she laughs. "I've sung backup for people and I'll sing on a soundtrack for fun, but it's really really uncomfortable to do but something I've always loved."

Considering her father is music impresario Quincy Jones, it has to be assumed that, regardless of talent r ability, if she chose to pursue a music career, she'd be met with immediate backlash.

"Of course," Jones shrugs. "That kind of happened with acting. Because my parents are in entertainment, people were like, 'Well, obviously, people are just giving her jobs. She's using her connections.' It's followed me since the beginning." She makes it jokingly clear that as much as she would have appreciated nepotism, that isn't how she got her foot in the door. "I totally would have taken handouts. I didn't get any. I wish! No I'm just kidding. Listen, I went to college, I had a great upbringing, I'm privileged, I wanted for nothing my entire life, but I definitely did not get career handouts. It took fifteen years to build a career which is what it should take."

With her ability to switch from thoughtful dramas like "Monogamy" or "The Social Network" to comedies including her upcoming appearances alongside Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake in "Friends with Benefits" and in Jason Segel's reboot of "The Muppets," Jones admits she loves cutting a wide berth with her career.

"I can't say what it is that I want to do [next]," she smiles. "It's like that great Supreme Court ruling on pornography where they said, 'I'll know it when I see it.' If I read a script and think it's really smart, if I feel challenged, like this movie, if I look at it and think, 'I'm terrified,' then I should totally do it!"

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