In season 2 of The White Lotus, Aubrey Plaza plays Harper, the charmingly judgmental resort guest. But if her wine-drunk scheming and mind games in Italy aren’t enough to convince you that we need more content that sends Plaza abroad, I would implore you to read her recent interviews in GQ and the Los Angeles Times, out this week. In both, Plaza recounts working on a script years ago with her friend, The White Lotus creator Mike White, for a movie about the time Plaza stalked her ex-boyfriend, a Swedish foreign exchange student she dated 20 years as a 16-year-old at her Catholic all-girls school in Delaware.
The premise, she told the Times, is “a movie that’s kind of based on an idea that I pitched to Mike years ago about me traveling to Sweden to reconnect with my Swedish exchange student high-school boyfriend, who I hadn’t seen in 10 years,” Plaza said. “Mike loved the idea of that, but then we started traveling in Scandinavia together working on this idea. And then the idea kind of evolved and it became almost kind of a movie about Mike and I traveling in Sweden together.”
On Monday, GQ revealed more details about the semi-written script of this great Scandinavian adventure film that we’ve thus far been so cruelly denied. The story goes something like this: At 16, Plaza “dated an extremely handsome Swedish exchange student,” they “fooled around in cars,” and the young Plaza “was heartbroken when he returned home.” Then, 10 years later, in the midst of a filming hiatus from Parks and Recreation, Plaza struck up the idea to write a script about stalking Mr. Extremely Handsome Swedish Exchange Student, requiring her to actually try and track him down. When he didn’t respond to a Facebook message, she booked a flight to Sweden anyway, and days later, he replied to her message, said they should get dinner, and proceeded to bring his girlfriend along. “It was a total disaster,” Plaza told GQ of the catch-up. “She was very suspicious of me. Lots of stuff happened that night.”
Then, in 2018, Plaza and White resurrected the idea and traveled to Gothenburg, Sweden together “so [White] could stalk Plaza while she stalked her ex.” Neither Plaza nor White, who also spoke to GQ, shared too many details about the trip. But by 2020, White was in pre-production for the movie in Finland—only for the pandemic to nix his plans and spur him to move on to developing The White Lotus. He wrote Plaza’s character deliberately for her in season 2. So it seems like Plaza’s increasingly iconic performance on the Emmy award-winning show is merely a consolation prize in the absence of something even juicier.
I have just so many questions about this movie. Would it be a quirky, offbeat comedy fitted to Plaza’s signature deadpan and well-documented proclivity for pranks and absurdity? Would she play a deeply unhinged, obsessive wannabe like her character in Ingrid Goes West? Would it be a spy movie or crime thriller akin to her recent film Emily the Criminal, about the desperate acts of a student-debt-ravaged young woman? And could her Parks and Rec co-star Adam Scott, please, please, somehow feature in it? Or, perhaps it turns out Plaza’s ex has since become a cannibal-type, portrayed by none other than a blond, blue-eyed Timothée Chalamet??
As a deeply weird woman who has somehow managed to make being a deeply weird woman trendy and hip, Plaza is something of a hero to me. And while Midsommar convinced me years ago to never venture out to Sweden, I would be willing to make the cinematic trek for Plaza.