Aubrey Plaza laughed as she was told her growly, sardonic — yes grumpy! — voice seemed a natural fit to provide the voice for the title character in “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever.” The Lifetime TV film premieres on the cable network at 7 p.m. Saturday.
“I thought it fitting that as we end ‘Parks and Recreation,’ I’m going out with a bang, giving voice to Grumpy Cat,” said the actress, calling from California. “I’ve trained for the past seven years to be grumpy as April on the show. So, you can say I’ve honed all of my skills for that cat! April has morphed into Grumpy.”
Plaza said she also loved how “Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever” is not your typical “Hallmark-like” holiday movie. “So many are sappy and so saccharine,” said the actress. “Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of the traditional films, but lately there are not many new ones I can relate to.
“I think a lot of people will love Grumpy’s edgy humor here. Nice antidote to things that are too sweet. Though, at the end of it all, there’s a nice holiday and Christmastime message here. That said, the whole idea behind this was, if you were trying to think of Grumpy Cat really having a Christmas movie — you’d know she would probably just trash it the whole time!”
Plaza is amazed by how the Internet has turned Grumpy Cat into such a huge brand. “It’s incredible. This movie is a great example of how the entertainment world is changing. The fact that there’s a movie based on an Internet meme is just mind-blowing,” said Plaza.
The actress also said she got to know Grumpy Cat (real name: Tardar Sauce) one day during the shoot. “We got along. I think she was happy with the creative choices I was making,” said Plaza with a laugh.
In real life, the actress said she is an animal person. “Currently I don’t have a cat, but I did grow up with one. I’ve had cats throughout the years, but now I have two dogs.”
The childhood cat, she recalled, actually arrived on Christmas. “I named her Noel, and she was truly a grumpy cat. Always was for her entire life — she was the grumpiest cat of all!”
Plaza doesn’t share the Scrooge-like disdain of her “Parks” character. “I love Christmas. I kind of love all holidays. Halloween is my favorite, but Christmas is right up there too.”
She even has a favorite holiday movie: “Home Alone.” “I love that film,” she said. “It’s one of my favorites. In fact, when I was in Chicago a few weeks ago — for my first time ever — to see the David Bowie show [at the Museum of Contemporary Art], I thought about trying to find the house [in Winnetka] where they made ‘Home Alone.’ ”
Plaza has mixed feelings about taping the final episodes of “Parks and Recreation.”
“It has truly changed my life,” she said. “I moved to Los Angeles to be on this show. Seven years later, I’m still here. The people on the show are my family. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster the last couple of weeks. It’s really a wonderful feeling knowing we’re ending the show on our terms and we’re able to honor the character of the show in the way we want to. That’s a rare thing in Hollywood and on TV, I think.
“I’m just trying to focus on that and not be so sad that this is all coming to an end,” she added.
“The good news is that on our show, our bond [between actors] is so strong that I know these people will be my family forever, regardless of the fact the show is coming to an end. That makes me feel good.”