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Rashida Jones gets personal with ‘On the Rocks’

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones in Sofia Coppola's "On the Rocks."
(A24 / Apple+)

Hello! I’m Mark Olsen and welcome to another edition of the newsletter companion to the recently launched “The Envelope: The Podcast,” where my cohost Yvonne Villarreal and I will bring you highlights from each week’s episode.

The Sundance Film Festival released the 2021 program last week. Considering how many films from their 2020 slate — including “Minari,” “Time,” “The Forty-Year-Old Version,” “Dick Johnson Is Dead,” “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” and many more — are now firmly a part of the ongoing awards conversation, it is worth taking special note of the festival’s upcoming titles.

The festival will be transitioning to a mostly online format, with drive-in screenings in Los Angeles and events at satellite venues around the country.

Director of programming Kim Yutani said of keeping a familiar feel during an out-of-the-ordinary moment, “Realizing that we’re going to have to change this year’s festival — to remodel in certain ways — keeping the general shape of the festival is really important to us. … While this year is completely different, it has been designed in a way to really create a platform for our filmmakers ... and to ensure that each film that we show really has its moment to shine.”

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For this week’s podcast I sat down with Rashida Jones to talk about her role in Sofia Coppola’s latest film, “On the Rocks.”

In the film Jones plays Laura, an author, wife and mother of two young daughters in New York City who feels herself stuck in a rut as she approaches 40. As she becomes suspicious that her husband Dean (Marlon Wayans) is having an affair with a glamorous young co-worker, her bon vivant father Felix (Bill Murray) blows through town and pulls her into a madcap scheme to uncover the truth.

Considering the movie comes from a collaboration between the daughter of Quincy Jones and the daughter of Francis Ford Coppola, the examination of growing out of the shadow of a larger-than-life father is deeply personal.

Marlon Wayans, left, Rashida Jones, Liyanna Muscat and Alexandra Reimer in the movie "On the Rocks."
Marlon Wayans, left, Rashida Jones, Liyanna Muscat and Alexandra Reimer in the movie “On the Rocks.”
(Apple TV+ / A24)

Along with “On the Rocks,” this year Jones also starred in the Netflix comedy series “#blackAF,” playing the wife of writer-producer Kenya Barris. While Jones had been leaning more toward writing and producing herself, these acting offers were just too good to pass up.

“With acting, you have so little control over the jobs that you’re offered, whereas with writing and producing, you can create things from the ground up. So I just happened to be lucky enough this year to be contacted by two people who I’d had a previous relationship with, Kenya Barris and Sofia Coppola, saying, ‘Hey, do you want to do this thing?’ Which after 20-plus years of being an actress, I very rarely had those moments where like people that I look up to and respect come to me and asked me to do stuff. So yes, I moved back towards acting, but I think it was like just the weird, sheer dumb luck of me being somewhat in the peripheral vision of two talented people.”

Released by A24 and Apple TV+, “On the Rocks” had a limited theatrical release and is now streaming on Apple TV+.

Thanks for reading/listening/subscribing. We have lots more to come. Upcoming guests include Shira Haas for “Unorthodox,” Kemp Powers for “One Night In Miami” and “Soul,” and Radha Blank for “The Forty-Year-Old Version.”

Listen to the podcast here. and subscribe to “The Envelope: The Podcast” on Apple Podcasts or your podcast app of choice.

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Feedback? We’d love to hear from you. Email us at awards@latimes.com.


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