It would appear that Aubrey Plaza is playing a lesbian on FX’s upcoming Marvel series, “Legion,” but really, she’s playing a straight male.
“When I initially read the script, I wasn’t reading it to play Lenny,” Plaza, who starred as April on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” for seven seasons, recently told Business Insider of “Legion.” “In the pilot, Lenny is described as a 50-year-old male who’s a recovering drug addict at a mental institution. So I wasn’t thinking, ‘Oh, that’s gonna be me.'”
In fact, Plaza said she didn’t know which role she’d play in the Marvel series based on the obscure character of Legion aka David Haller.
Played by Dan Stevens, Legion is a mutant with incredible mental powers who was diagnosed with schizophrenia at an early age. Plaza plays his closest friend and fellow mental hospital patient. Things change, though, after a mysterious new female patient, Syd (Rachel Keller), arrives to the hospital and captures David’s attention. Together, they will try to solve the mystery of his great powers.
After reading the script, Plaza met over coffee with “Legion” showrunner and director Noah Hawley (“Fargo”). That’s when he approached her about playing the role of Lenny, which became a pretty exciting idea for Plaza.
“It was really kind of interesting that he would switch the gender of the role and allow me to take it on and work together to see where that journey would end up,” she said. “Anyone that’s open to something like that is definitely someone I want to work with.”
Plaza was willing to take on the role, but she had a request of Hawley. She didn’t want him to change the role just because a woman was playing it.
“I agreed to do it, but I said if we’re gonna do this I don’t want you to change the dialogue to make her more of a female — to make her sound like a female,” the 32-year-old told us. “I just want it it be the same thing that you wrote. I was interested in taking that on and playing a character that wasn’t about gender so much. When you watch the show and see the journey that Lenny goes on, it will start to become more clear to you why that is important.”
Lenny “Cornflakes” Busker, Plaza’s gender-bending role, is really just one of numerous tricks Hawley employs on the series, which doesn’t follow traditional comic-book show (or movie) styles.
“Do whatever you gotta do to expand your mind, bro,” Plaza advised “Legion” viewers. “Sit back and enjoy the ride. It’s really, really interesting non-linear narrative structure. It’s a telling of a comic-book origin story like I’ve never seen before and I think that visually it’s just so overwhelming and it’s a wild ride.”
Watch a trailer for “Legion” below:
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