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Aubrey Plaza and ‘Emily the Criminal’ Cast and Crew on Why Crime Pays with Viewers

In an interview with IndieWire's Sundance Studio, presented by Adobe, the star shares some thoughts on why we just can't look away from stories about criminals.

It just wouldn’t be Sundance without a buzzy Aubrey Plaza movie. The beloved indie film star plays the title character in “Emily the Criminal,” which she also produced. The film finds her playing a debt-ridden Californian who gets more than she bargained for when she decides to involve herself in a credit card scam. As part of the IndieWire Studio, presented by Adobe, Plaza sat down with director John Patton Ford, costars Theo Rossi and Megalyn Echikunwoke, and producer Tyler Davidson for a wide-ranging interview with IndieWire’s own Executive Editor, Film Kate Erbland.

In many ways, the film could not have had better timing. From true crime podcasts to murderers popping up on seemingly every prestige TV show, entertainment lovers have never been more obsessed with crime. Asked why crime is so popular right now, Plaza had a simple answer.

“I think people are interested in it because it’s fun to break rules,” she said with a laugh. “And it’s fun to watch someone break rules. It’s dangerous.”

She went on to speak about the way economic unrest in America might be fueling crime fantasies. “There’s an underlying theme in this film about making your own rules,” Plaza said. “The system, the economy, the man, whatever you want to call it, is the villain of this film. You have someone who was punished by the system, and she has to make rules.”

John Patton Ford, who wrote the script and made his directorial debut on the film, echoed that sentiment.

“I can tell you that when I was writing the script, I was at a point in my life where I felt like I had done everything ‘right,’ technically. I had always been a good student, never got in trouble, went to school, graduated. And I felt like I had been misled,” the director told IndieWire. “I felt like I had followed the rules. And then you reach a point where you realize ‘oh, the rules were written by someone who just wants to profit from me. They weren’t written for me.'”

Watch the full interview with Plaza, Ford, Rossi, Echikunwoke, and Davidson in the video above.

Presenting sponsor Adobe — with a mission to enable creativity for all — is committed to supporting, elevating and amplifying underrepresented creators, so the world can see, learn and benefit from diverse perspectives. Learn more at Adobe.com Diverse Voices. The upcoming 2022 festival marks the fifth consecutive year IndieWire and Adobe have joined forces for the IndieWire Studio at Sundance.

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