Rashida Jones was already annoyingly cool to begin with. The daughter of Peggy Lipton and Quincy Jones? Awesome. Gorgeous? Definitely. Tremendously funny on shows like “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation”? Yep. So now she’s also written a movie that turns out to be smart and funny and wise about relationships? Good lord, Rashida, is there anything you can’t do?
When we sat down during a recent press day for “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” we covered a fair amount of ground in just a few minutes. We talked about the very real widow that seems to be represented in the way her film, co-written with Will McCormack and directed by Lee Toland Krieger, looks at the difficulties that come from trying to stay friends with someone after you’ve failed at romantic intimacy, but which also looks at just how hard it is to maintain any friendship after a certain age or even make new friends.
She’s also very aware of the way people react to her past work. I talked to her about my wife’s ongoing reaction to her role on “The Office” several seasons ago, and she seems like she’s heard that reaction before.
More than anything, i was struck by how clearly she sees what she wants from this industry, and how she’s taken control of that by doing this. She’s also the writer of a comic book that she’s working to turn into a film as a producer, and that is key to survival in today’s media landscape. You have to be creating your own content, and that ownership gives you financial leverage as well as creative control, a combination that means you don’t have to rely on being hired for jobs you might not even want. It’s tough for actors, especially if they aren’t on that very short A-list of bankable stars, and I admire and respect anyone who seizes control of their own destiny. Rashida Jones has a bright future ahead if this film is any indication of what she can do when she’s the one in charge.
“Celeste and Jesse Forever” opens August 3 in limited release.