'I'm a loner': Gillian Jacobs on the snarky art of playing misfits

In Community, Girls and Love the actor has been a activist, an artist and an addict. As her new film, I Used to Go Here, opens, she talks about why she likes messy, complex characters

Gillian Jacobs can’t remember the last time she went on holiday. She keeps being told that she needs to take some time off, but she’s far too busy to press pause. Not even lockdown could slow her down. “A lot of people have said I need to get more hobbies,” she laughs infectiously. “That’s something I struggle with: what do I do outside work? I try to find more work for myself, that’s what I usually do.” She erupts in another fit of giggles.

The 37-year-old actor’s work ethic has paid off handsomely. She seems to have carved out her own niche playing complicated, messy women, who are usually struggling to get their lives together. There was self-righteous activist Britta Perry in the experimental TV comedy Community, the pretentious artist Mimi-Rose Howard in HBO’s Girls, and the self-destructive addict Mickey Dobbs in Netflix’s Love. Jacobs isn’t afraid to play people who are hard to like and yet always manages to root out something sympathetic among the hard knots of her characters.

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