Monday, July 23, 2012

Aubrey Plaza Returns to Wilmington to Premiere Her Latest Film

Aubrey Plaza on the red carpet. Photo: Holly Quinn
Wilmington is not exactly movie premiere central. Jeremy O'Keefe's wrestling premiered in Wilmington in 2008, and Luke Matheny's 2011 Oscar-winning short film "God of Love" was celebrated with a special local screening, but such big-screen events are few and far between. So, when Wilmington's own Aubrey Plaza (star of NBC's "Parks and Recreation") decided to bring her first leading role in a feature film to Delaware for a red carpet premiere, it was a pretty big deal.

Delaware almost didn't get the film, Safety Not Guaranteed, on the big screen. After a successful debut at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, it was slated to open in select theaters across the country this summer. Unfortunately, none of those theaters were in Plaza's home state. "That was not OK," she said from the stage of the Grand Opera House before the screening, looking stunning in a little black dress. So, with the help of what seems like half of Wilmington (including but not limited to The Wilmington Drama League, The Grand, Theatre N, Ursuline Academy, AIDS Delaware, Delaware Community Foundation, McConnell Johnson, and PSCI), the Delaware premiere of Safety Not Guaranteed became a reality. The event was to be more than a screening: All of the proceeds from the tickets, which ranged from $20 for the movie and Q&A to $125 for a VIP experience including a meet-and-greet reception and afterparty, would go to The Wilmington Drama League.

The choice of beneficiary, said Plaza, was easy. The WDL was her "home away from home" growing up, where she performed with the Chrysalis Players and honed the skills that would eventually shape her career as a professional actress. She reminisced about Delaware with humor and charm, as she was joined onstage by WDL fixture Kathy Buterbaugh. Governor Markell presented her with "naming rights" to any unnamed space in Delaware (he would have simply named a plaza after her, but, he explained, it's not that easy -- "You've all seen 'Parks and Recreation,'" he quipped.) "They'll regret this," Plaza said of her newfound power with a smile.

As for the movie itself, it's funny, moving and unpredictable, with the kind of plot that reminds you that, with an endless parade of remakes, sequels and reboots on the screen this summer, there are still original ideas out there. If you missed the screening, keep an eye out for its home video release. It will be worth the wait.

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