Femme on Fire: Eliza Coupe

By Michael J. Lockhart Photography by Getty Images

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With the fall television season in full swing, it’s only natural that we here at Playboy.com would be on the hunt for the sexiest, funniest and most talented new women to watch who are gracing our television screens each night. This week’s addition is absolutely no exception to the rule, as audiences of Funny or Die or Scrubs have known for many a year.

Currently starring as the gorgeous but uptight Jane on ABC’s hit dysfunctional comedy Happy Endings, our latest Femme on Fire Eliza Coupe has won over audiences with her hilarious antics and quirky sense of humor. She sat down with us to chat about her hot show, how she sold her mother’s diary as a kid and how to bottom out a vintage BMW.

Playboy.com: Happy Endings premiered this week. What can we look forward to this season?

Coupe: So many weird costumes—craziness ensues on all fronts. Brad and Jane are very sexual and they’re a crazy couple, and we really highlighted that this year. There are jokes at the table read that never make it through to the episode because they’re the most filthy things. Damon and I both make it a very R-rated show when we shoot our scenes, then they whittle it down for ABC. It’s going to be a great season.

Playboy.com: What would the show be like if it was on, say, HBO?

Coupe: I think it would be comedic soft porn. Throw in a full frontal and some actual intercourse. We would have more freedom with the words as well.

Playboy.com: Tell us about your character, Jane.

Coupe: My aunts and my mother and grandmother are very Waspy New England; everything perfect on the outside, crumbling on the inside. [laughs] Jane is very much like that; she wants everything to look perfect, but she’s a total nutbag; not just crumbling, but crumbling into thousands of pieces. She loves her husband, but we’ve been alluding that she’s just the most sexual human being on the planet. We’re shooting a scene where we meet Jane’s ex, named Ryan—but she’s a girl. Jane was a lesbian! She did that college thing. I went to art school—you have to put it on your application: “Will you be experimenting? Yes.”

Playboy.com: How similar are you to her?

Coupe: I think I’m quite similar, but it didn’t start out that way. What’s great about this show is that each one of us was able to mold our characters to fit us, but also to be unique characters, not those stock ones you usually see on sitcoms. I’m going to play the uptight, Waspy wife? Okay, that’s weird. I went into the audition in cutoff jeans, studded boots, my tattoos, dark eyeliner, and was like, you want me? Have you seen what I look like? Jane is like a witch; she’s got special witch powers. People have told me I’m witchy; I guess I’ll take that as a compliment?

Playboy.com: Your family sounds like tattoos wouldn’t go over well…

Coupe: My family doesn’t make sense. They’re totally New England Waspy, but then they want to be hippy-dippy, then they’re conflicted…it’s such a mix of things. When I got my first tattoo, which is a horrible tramp stamp on my lower back—god, it’s awful. It’s a star, and when I drew it, going back to the witch thing, my friends were like “You got a wiccan star on your back?” I was like, “I didn’t mean to draw it like that, I just drew a star with little things in it.” But when I got it my mother was like, “It’s nice!” but through the smile of “I can’t believe my daughter did that.” But now she’s different and wants to get a tattoo…[she’s like] “Let’s design tattoos.” “No, you’re in your 60s, you should have done that already.”

Playboy.com: You’re playing a car salesperson this season; what’s your experience with autos?

Coupe: [Laughs] Well, growing up in New Hampshire, my dad always had BMWs. He had this cool BMW which was an ’82 or ’83 and it was red and cute. He kinda gave it to me but didn’t give it to me, and my friends were going off-roading—why not take the vintage BMW? I totally bottomed out the BMW in the woods of New Hampshire and had to drive it through town with the entire bottom falling out. From that day on I said I would get my own BMW one day and treat it right, so that’s what I drive now. But Jane is a fucking wizard at auto negotiating.

Playboy.com: Your character once donated an egg so she could party in Cabo; what’s the worst thing you’ve traded off?

Coupe: The worst thing was when I was little I wanted something so I had a yard sale and lugged everything out of the house that was not for sale. I sold my mother’s diary—it was her entire history of being with my dad, and they’ve been together since they were 15. I still feel so bad about it.

Playboy.com: I hear you’re a fan of Fifty Shades of Grey. Why do you think people are still so shocked by the series? Or obsessed?

Coupe: I took a real tumble with that one. My mother was reading Fifty Shades of Grey and was obsessed with them, talking about them. Then I started reading them and was like, “Fuck, my mother is reading this? This is gross.” She’s telling me, “This has really spiced up your father and I’s sex life.” We’re a very close family—uh, not like that! I’m from New Hampshire; we’re not incestuous. I just don’t want to go home and see leather shit—whips. I was reading the second book on a plane to China and looking around; “Are there any takers? This is too hot and steamy…” I had to put it down four times.

Playboy.com: Would you consider auditioning for the role?

Coupe: I think I’m too old, but I think it would be great to do that role. But I’m not the type. [laughs]

Playboy.com: You recently starred in an independent comedy called Shanghai Calling. What was the hardest thing to get used to in China?

Coupe: The food destroyed my stomach; the only safe thing I could eat was white rice and carrots. That was pretty much all I ate when I was over there. I also had to learn the language for the part, I had to do a full scene in Chinese. It was so incredibly challenging.

Playboy.com: Lightning Round.

Favorite City: New York.

Drink: Kombucha—it’s so gross that it’s good.

Food: Fettuccini Alfredo.

Guilty Pleasure: …Fifty Shades of Grey.

Dream Ride: I want a Porsche Cayenne.

Frenemies 2 with Eliza Coupe

Cringe-worthy pickup line: In college, I had a huge gap between my teeth—like Lauren Hutton-style—but it was not as attractive at the time. This guy in college was drunk and leaned over to me and was like, “Hey, I like your smile; you’ve got a real cock-sucking mouth.” I was like, “So this is how you try to get me to do that to you? Not going to happen.”

Embarrassing Moment: I did my show at UCB in New York and I had no underwear on and my fly was undone. Yep, just full on.

Playboy.com: Did the audience clue you in?

Coupe: Well at the time, I wasn’t up with the trends of a real trim situation down there so I think the pants blended in with what was going on—dark jeans—I don’t think anyone really saw. [laughs]

Playboy.com: What projects do you have coming up?

Coupe: I have a film script I’m working on and some stuff in the design world.

Happy Endings airs on ABC Tuesday at 9/8c. Follow Eliza on Twitter @Eliza_Coupe


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