Aubrey Plaza Says Lack of Guns Made Emily the Criminal a Better Film

Aubrey Plaza is proud that her titular character in Emily the Criminal doesn’t need guns to get the job done.

The movie Emily the Criminal managed to be a compelling thriller without the lead character using firearms to blast her way through the story. In the film, released last year by director John Patton Ford, Aubrey Plaza stars as a young woman who launches a new career in crime when she finds herself deeply in debt with student loans. While many others in her position would be packing heat due to the dangers of the job, Plaza’s Emily goes in without guns, making for some rather tense scenes.

Speaking about the film in a new interview for The Tonight Show (via IndieWire), Plaza touched on Emily’s gun-less approach to her crimes in Emily the Criminal. The actress says she’s “proud” to play this character who is able to get by without them, and better yet, Plaza also feels that keeping the guns out of Emily’s hands also made for a much better story. As Plaza told Jimmy Fallon:


“I was kind of proud of that, because I don’t think you need guns. Most thrillers introduce guns, like, immediately…We don’t need guns in every movie. I don’t think it’s like – it’s an unconscious thing, I think, for the audience to watch that movie and not even realize, like, ‘Oh, there’s no guns.’ But I think it actually makes it more, kind of, anxiety-inducing, because you’re like, ‘How is she going to take these guys down without a weapon like that?’”

Related: Edgar Wright Congratulated Aubrey Plaza on Tomb Raider Role She Didn’t Actually Get

Emily the Criminal Taught Aubrey Plaza a Thing or Two About Crime

Aubrey Plaza in Emily the Criminal
Vertical Entertainment

Along with co-star Theo Rossi, Plaza previously addressed the film in an exclusive interview with MovieWeb. She explained how, in preparation for her rule, she had to learn exactly how to pull off the scams that her character does. She noted how learning that process alone “felt very kind of criminal,” and jokes how that knowledge will stay with her forever, perhaps one day coming in handy.

“We had rehearsed a lot with the bossing ambassador machine. We had to learn the rules of how the scam worked. That was actually fun because it felt very kind of criminal, and it felt kind of fun to forge fake credit cards, and I feel like that’s a skill I will take with me through my life.”

This isn’t to say we’ll never see Plaza brandishing a firearm on the big screen one day. She previously shared the story of when director Edgar Wright congratulated her on landing the role of Lara Croft in a Tomb Raider movie after mistaking her to be that character from an Emily the Criminal photo. Plaza told Newsweek last year that while Emily and Lara are very different characters, she’d be just as keen to play the latter as well. From that interview:

“It was so funny when [Wright] texted me that because I didn’t realize how strikingly similar those photos are. Emily is carrying a purse strap and Lara Croft has a gun holster, those are very different. But it’s very weird and totally accidental, but I’ll take it. I love action movies, and I don’t discriminate against big movies or small movies. I love all kinds of movies. I would love it if somehow that turned into a real thing, but who knows, I have no idea. That’s an iconic character. She’s the original badass.”

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