Young Hollywood: Popeyes commercial was Aubrey Plaza’s big break


Celebrities are so often given free handouts -- designer clothing, courtside seats to the Lakers -- that it’s hard to imagine a star being excited by the prospect of free butterfly shrimp.

But “Parks and Recreation” regular Aubrey Plaza insists she was overjoyed to be consuming said fried food as the face of Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits, though she wasn’t yet a star.

“I remember a moment where I was eating a bunch of butterfly shrimp and getting paid a lot of money to do that” during a Popeyes commercial, the actress recalled during the Los Angeles Times’ third annual Young Hollywood roundtable on Friday night. “I was living in Queens and I had no money, and I remember thinking, ‘I think I could do this. I’ll just do stuff like this.’ ”


Plaza, 28, joined Mary Elizabeth Winstead, 27, and Bella Heathcote, 24, for a lively discussion during AFI Fest, where the three up-and-comers shared candid tales of how they broke into Hollywood.

Winstead, who stars in this fall’s alcoholism drama “Smashed,” first visited Los Angeles at age 14, when she was thrilled to tour the sets of the television shows “Boy Meets World” and “3rd Rock From the Sun.” But it wasn’t until she worked with Quentin Tarantino on 2007’s “Death Proof” that she felt at home with her career choice.

“When [Tarantino] hired me and he actually sat me down and told me how much he loved me as an actor, I was like ‘Oh, man. Maybe I’m actually OK at this and can actually do something more with it,’ ” Winstead said.

And Heathcote? Her story involved a flirtatious Dustin Hoffman; check out the clip above to hear it. And circle back with Movies Now through the week as we continue to post short videos with additional highlights from the conversation.


Aubrey Plaza: Funny person

Video/Q&A;: ‘Smashed’ star Mary Elizabeth Winstead


‘The Thing’: Mary Elizabeth Winstead on living up to John Carpenter’s legacy

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