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Liarmouth: Aubrey Plaza in conversation with John Waters

Updated: May 25, 2023 10:52
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Photo by Cole Burchiel

San Franciscans packed the Sydney Goldstein Theatre last Tuesday May 9, 2023 for a taste of filth. John Waters’s new novel LIARMOUTH…a feel-bad romance was just released on paperback. To celebrate this event, the great people at City Arts & Lecture brought actor Aubrey Plaza for a conversation with the Pope of Filth himself.

John Waters and Aubrey Plaza backstage at the Sydney Goldstein Theatre. Photo by Cole Burchiel

From the moment this event was announced, I thought to myself, if Aubrey Plaza comes out brunette (she went blonde after the release of the second season of White Lotus) she’s probably going to be Marsha Sprinkle on the movie version of Liarmouth. As you can read on a previous interview I did with John a few months ago, his book was optioned for a movie, and on January 1st 2023 he started writing the script. He told me that many actors were already reaching out to him and his team. So, when Aubrey Plaza arrived brunette, I knew it! All my bets are on her playing the protagonist part of the despicable Marsha Sprinkle.

John Waters and Aubrey Plaza. Photo by Cole Burchiel

Here’s the trailer for “Liarmouth” on John’s words: “Marsha Sprinkle: Suitcase thief. Scammer. Master of disguise. Dogs and children hate her. Her own family wants her dead. She’s smart, she’s desperate, she’s disturbed, and she’s on the run with a big chip on her shoulder. They call her Liarmouth – until one insane man makes her tell the truth”. This is going to be a remarkable movie. Get the book, get the audiobook as well! And start picturing Aubrey Plaza as Marsha.

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John Waters and Aubrey Plaza.
Photo: Cole Burchiel

Aubrey started off letting John know that she’s a super fan, Serial Mom changed her life and that she’s nervous, she’s sweating. John says, “My mother used to say women don’t sweat, they glow”. And Aubrey, who looks lovely, is glowing! It feels like she had a loose script and is willing to let the conversation go anywhere John is willing to go, and it will go to filthy places.

Aubrey Plaza being playful, and John Waters. Photo: Cole Burchiel

She’s interested in details about his personal life, she asked about his daily habits. From Monday to Friday, he wakes up at 6 am, always takes a bath, but doesn’t soak for too long. Drinks 4 cups of black tea and 1 cup of coffee, reads 20 newspapers, cuts and tape the interesting things he finds and writes from 8am until lunchtime. Everyone knows to not call or bother him during this time. The afternoon is for selling what he’s writing.

Anyone who makes John Waters laugh like this is great for the part. Photo: Cole Burchiel

Aubrey asked advice for the young writers, filmmakers and artists out there. John said that he was never cancelled cause he always made fun of himself first and never looks down at the subject he’s portraying. He also never called himself an artist, letting other people be the judge of that. The rules are stricter now but you still have to find a way to make fun of the rules without pretentiousness and self-righteousness.

Aubrey Plaza – Photo: Cole Burchiel

The conversation took very interesting turns and got personal on topics such as lying, Eargasms (John never had one but Aubrey is all about them), shrinks, sleeping habits, the talking penis on the book and she asked what would his penis say to him, John said “Things are looking up“! They talked about anallingus and squirting. John asked Aubrey what exactly happens and if she ever squirted before. That caught her so off guard and it was actually cute, she tried to explain it, she looked to the side of the stage like some expert there would tell her. She got out of that by showing how she can pull her tongue outside of her mouth shocking John! And then casually asking him what happens after death.

John Waters
Photo: Cole Burchiel

John couldn’t talk about the movie because of the Hollywood writers Guild of America strike going on. But at one moment, Aubrey mentioned she would die to be on his movie and at the end he said he’d love her to be on it, too!

John and Aubrey
Photo: Cole Burchiel

They talked about drugs, John haven’t done anything since his 70th birthday when he took a strong full dose of acid with his friend Mink Stole in Provincetown and Aubrey “likes things that come from the Earth, like weed and shrooms”, but John said he’d do Poppers with her if she wants, like casually to go shopping or something. They shared their love for Ingmar Bergman and raved about Beau in “Afraid”. Aubrey watched it twice ’cause the first time she was too high. The crowd was living for these moments!

John and Aubrey chatting backstage at the Sydney Goldstein Theatre.
Photo: Aubrey Plaza

Aubrey and John were having a good time and the 1,400 of us in the crowd were lucky to be listening to their honest and laidback conversation. It got crazy in a way that only happens in San Francisco and that’s why John’s book releases are some of my favorite things in the world. They’re cool and intimate! Aubrey was great, she and John have a great energy together which makes me even more excited about what’s coming next!

The full conversation is scheduled to air May 28 on KQED and on the great City Arts & Lectures Podcast, stay tuned!

Check out City Arts & Lectures for other great events

For official merchandise and signed copies, go to Atomic Books

If you’re on Instagram, my humble John Waters fan club page will make sure to keep you updated about all John Waters’s events and news especially in the Bay Area

All photos by Cole Burchiel

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Patricia Colli

Patricia Colli

Patricia Colli is an artist, printmaker and music enthusiast based in San Francisco. Meet me at the mosh pit!