Aubrey Plaza’s 10 best roles, from The White Lotus to Happiest Season

To celebrate her role in the upcoming Agatha: Coven Of Chaos, it’s time to look back over Aubrey Plaza’s greatest film and TV performances so far. 

Aubrey Plaza might be known for her unique brand of off-kilter humour, but there is an undeniable seriousness to everything she does. Which means that, let’s face it, she basically feels like a real-life Wednesday Addams: darkly excellent, utterly macabre, and perfectly deadpan at all times (plus all kinds of kooky on top).

“It’s always mind-blowing to me that people assume that I am my character. Or that people even care how similar I am in real life,” Plaza tells Project Casting.

A method actor who’s never afraid to take risks, Plaza has brought us a series of unforgettable characters over the years – and the future looks seriously bright, too, as she has a plummy role lined up in Disney’s much-anticipated Agatha: Coven Of Chaos. And a top-billing in Francis Ford Coppola’s Megalapolis. And an important part to play in the upcoming TV adaptation of Olga Dies Dreaming, too.

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Basically, Plaza has kept herself seriously busy, even in the wake of mega-hit The White Lotus – and she insists that she is going to keep working hard until she figures out her ‘Dream Role’.

“If you told me, ‘Aubrey, you can write whatever you want. What’s your dream role?’ I’m just blank. I don’t know. That’s not how I think,” she says. “There’s not one character. Like, ‘I always wanted to be a sexy lawyer who’s secretly an alien.’”

With that in mind, then, let’s take a look back at Aubrey Plaza’s best film and TV performances so far…


Legion tells the story of David Haller (Dan Stevens), son of one of the most formidable mutants on the planet. But, as Lenny ‘Cornflakes’ Busker in Legion, Plaza is easily one of the most complex characters residing at Clockworks Psychiatric Hospital. Seriously. She starts off as David’s best friend, is killed and absorbed by a mutant parasite called The Shadow King, winds up trapped within the astral plane, and finally bargains her way into a new body… at a terrible cost.

Legion is streaming on Disney+.

The White Lotus

The White Lotus series 2: Aubrey Plaza stars as Harper.

Everyone is obsessed – and rightly so – with The White Lotus, but it’s fair to say that Aubrey Plaza stole the show come season two. As Harper, she plays a reserved lawyer on vacation with her newly wealthy husband Ethan (Will Sharpe). On the outside, everything looks perfect: she smiles her way through cocktail parties and gourmet meals. Behind closed doors, though, things are very different, and it’s not long before Harper feels as if she’s trapped in the luxury holiday from hell.

The White Lotus is streaming on NOW.

Emily The Criminal

Saddled with student debt and unable to find work, Plaza’s eponymous Emily becomes involved in a credit card scam, acting as a dummy shopper and buying increasingly risky products with stolen credit cards.

As she finds herself put in increasingly dangerous situations, however, Emily doubles down and wears her desperation on her sleeve, fighting both literally and figuratively to hold on to the money that she’s made.

Emily The Criminal is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.

Happiest Season

The first major LGBTQ+ Christmas romcom, Happiest Season sees Abby (Kristen Stewart) plan to propose to her girlfriend Harper (Mackenzie Davis) while attending a big holiday party at the home of Harper’s family. Her plans are derailed, though, when she learns that her girlfriend hasn’t actually come out to her ultra-conservative parents yet. Eep.

Plaza co-stars as Riley, Harper’s ex-girlfriend who grows close to Abby in her moment of need. And let’s just say that fans of the film had a very different ending in mind for the scene-stealing character…

Happiest Season is available to rent on Apple TV+.

Parks And Recreation

One of the best comedies of all-time, Parks And Recreation is all about a group of government workers in Pawnee, Indiana – who, in dealing with endless red tape and irate locals, forge some serious ride-or-die friendships.

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Plaza stars as April Ludgate, the department’s deeply apathetic intern that keeps everyone suitably unnerved with her fondness for intense roleplay (hey there, Janet Snakehole), fake blood, German Death Reggae, and giving hickeys to Chris Pratt’s Andy Dwyer. And, yeah, you better believe that this is the role that launched her star to stratospheric heights, too.

Parks And Recreation is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Ingrid Goes West

In this savage dark comedy, Plaza plays Ingrid, a lonely 20-something who becomes obsessed with Elizabeth Olsen’s Instagram star, Taylor.

Cue her packing up everything she owns, moving to Los Angeles, updating her own social media bio (with a few key phrases pilfered from her favourite influencer) and doing everything she can to forge a friendship with the blissfully unaware Taylor.

Is a #blessed life all it’s cracked up to be, though? Time to find out…

Ingrid Goes West is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.

The Little Hours

Set in the Middle Ages, The Little Hours follows a young servant fleeing from his master as he takes refuge at a convent – albeit a convent full of emotionally unstable nuns.

Despite her wimple and outwardly serene demeanor, Plaza’s Fernanda is a violent sadist who mingles with witches and dabbles in fertility rituals. Obviously.

The Little Hours is available to rent on Amazon Prime Video.

Child’s Play

Every horror fan worth their (ring of) salt knows the story of Chucky, but this writer is particularly fond of the Mark Hamill and Plaza-starring remake.

As Karen, Plaza’s character isn’t like a regular mom; she’s a cool mom. But, still, she unknowingly gifts her son a doll with murderous tendencies.

Unlike the 80s original, Buddy is a high tech toy – which means he can hack into surveillance cameras, speak to you through the TV, control thermostats, and even take over self-driving cars. Making this a thoroughly modern horror for the digital age. Zoinks.

Child’s Play is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Black Bear

One of Plaza’s best roles to date, Black Bear follows a filmmaker suffering from a lack of inspiration. In a bid to get her groove back, she retreats to an isolated lake house, where she manipulates and controls her hosts in an attempt to create a work of art.

We don’t want to give too much away, but this film is seriously meta – and well worth your time. Trust us.

Black Bear is streaming on Amazon Prime Video.

Little Demon

Fair warning: this animated series is absolutely for adults only. Set some 13 years after Laura (Plaza) was impregnated by Satan, Little Demon follows the reluctant mother and her Antichrist daughter as they attempt to live an ordinary life in Delaware.

Too bad Satan is constantly causing havoc in his bid to gain custody over his daughter’s soul, eh?

Little Demon is streaming on Disney+.

Images: Getty/HBO

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