Jenny Slate On Tillamook And Marcel The Shell With Shoes On - Exclusive Interview

She's someone who can truly do it all, and her career has only ascended higher as time goes on. That's right: The List had the opportunity to exclusively chat with the one and only Jenny Slate about both her partnership with dairy company Tillamook as well as her upcoming film "Marcel the Shell with Shoes On," out June 24 from A24 (the same firm that produced "Everything Everywhere All at Once," in which Slate also appeared). Slate's prior screen credits include "Obvious Child," "The Secret Life of Pets," and Disney's "Zootopia." Slate also worked on "Big Mouth," Netflix's popular adult animated series. Still, others may know the funny lady for her comedy work. For instance, Slate's debut stand-up comedy special on Netflix, called "Stage Fright," landed on the streaming platform in 2019. Some even know Slate for her haunted house!

Now, the actress has partnered with Tillamook as part of their second annual Partnership for Creamier Ice Cream campaign. At its foundation, Tillamook wants to share products made with love with people that will appreciate, creating a sense of community with products that contain more cream than the industry standard. After all, that's what makes their ice creams richer and creamier than their competition. Slate even starred in a fun, zany commercial to help promote the campaign. And here's some exclusive info: Slate's film and her partnership with Tillamook may have interesting common ground, as she explains in her chat with The List.

Her partnership with Tillamook included a visit to an ice cream scientist

What can you tell us about [your partnership with Tillamook]?

Tillamook asked me to be part of the Partnership for Creamier Ice Cream, which is a really fun thing they're doing where they are hoping that you'll share their [products] with your friends and family and not let [them] eat inferior ice cream. Theirs has more cream in it than is required, I think, by the FDA. And it's such a cute campaign. Also the ice cream is truly delicious. It [was] a pretty fun thing for me to get on board with.

How did the partnership between you form?

They asked me if it was something I was interested in, and I already ate Tillamook ice cream — and not just the ice cream, but the cheese. My little daughter loves her tiny little pieces of cheddar. It was like an immediate yes. Oh, and they said that I would get to go to Oregon, and I got to meet one of their ice cream scientists. So it was a very easy yes.

Oh my God. How was that? How was the behind-the-scenes process?

It was very fun, the ice cream scientist that I met was named Anna. And she was telling me about what they do. I was like, "You're real?" I didn't actually think that there were people that spent their days making sure that ice cream is creamier than it needs to be and tastes perfect, like Tillamook tastes. So, no pun intended, [it was] a very sweet experience, literally sweet and I ate ton of ice cream.

I love that. And also that sounds like a dream job.

Of course it is. For both of us, I'm sure. I can't speak for Anna, but definitely for me. [It] seemed like Anna was really into it though.

Are you naturally a dessert kind of person?

Yeah. I'm kind of an everything person. But I am kind of selective with my treats. It has to be really good. It has to be really worth my time, which is, again, why Tillamook is a great fit for me because it is such creamy ice cream. I can't even pick a [favorite] flavor. ... I've got a four-way tie going on.

Her favorite ice cream flavors

Well, what are those four? Because I was literally about to ask if you have a favorite from this extra creamy lineup! So you kind of segued right into it.

I really love the cookies and cream [flavor]. My whole family was very, very into the mudslide flavor. I love the dark cherry, the strawberry, and I love the ice cream sandwiches.

Ooh, I love an ice cream sandwich.

Really good. Yeah.

Outside of this Tillamook line, do you have a general favorite flavor of ice cream?

Usually I'm kind of a full ice cream sundae type of person. ... I love their old-fashioned vanilla too, because I really like a vanilla ice cream with hot fudge and whipped cream and multiple maraschino cherries. That's what I want, [I'm] not always getting it, but that's what I want.

I love that. With this campaign being about sharing and community, it seems especially important right now. Was that something that also really spoke to you?

Of course. Any chance [I can] do something that is actually imbued with real goodness is really worth my time. I invited all of my friends over and shared a bunch of the flavors with them, and it all went very, very quickly ... the ice cream was gone. But, yeah, at the heart of it, sharing with people is [of] utmost importance, especially at this time. And I really like that Tillamook is farmer-owned and is a B corporation. That is really, really important. And it's really important to support the companies that are doing the right work for our planet and for our communities.

Absolutely. And I'm really curious, what was the general reaction from all of your friends after you invited them over? Did they have favorites?

We had ... two big tubs. One was a really big cookies and cream. Another was a really big Oregon dark cherry. The cookies and cream was obliterated.

The Tillamook commercial took place in her favorite spot, the grocery store

I do love a good cookies and cream. Also, I saw that you were in this really fun commercial to celebrate the campaign. It was a lot of fun to watch and the joy oozed out of it. Did you have a lot of say in the commercial?

I can be very, very picky, which is honestly why I haven't done a lot of brand partnerships because I want to be able to say, "Yes, I really like this." ... I'm a comedian, I want it to be funny. And also I am me, I want it to be nice. I want to be a part of something that is kind, and it was all already there. Everybody was so, so nice to me. And it was really fun to film it. We filmed in the actual supermarket.

That's so fun!

I love the grocery store.

I do too.

During the pandemic ... we would have our groceries delivered or — here in Massachusetts, where I live, you can online fill out your order and then go pick it up — so I never got to go down the aisles. It was so fun filming the commercials, getting to ride around on the shopping carts. Not that I'm doing that in the supermarket all the time. But what a luxury.

Yeah. I mean, you mentioned being more specific with how you choose brand partnerships. Are there maybe other brands that you'd really love to work with someday?

Ooh. What a great question. My God, what an opportunity to call it out, and I'm drawing a blank because I'm too nervous.

That's totally fair.

But I've always wanted to be on a commercial for a hair product.

Ooh yeah.

I feel like it's such a big compliment because it's like saying I have healthy, nice hair.

Let's manifest it.

About me endorsing the brand? Yes, [I'd liked them to be like], "She seems like she has nice hair or nice skin." That seems nice.

Slate's ongoing success with production company A24

We're going to switch gears a little bit to talk about your screen career. Recently, you were in "Everything Everywhere All at Once," which is taking the world by storm, which is amazing. What was your experience like with that film? What's the reception been like for you?

I have a small part in that movie. I knew the Daniels, the directors, for years before. I had done a Gap campaign with them and Paul Dano and they emailed me and were like, "We have this part in our movie that we want you to do." And I was like, "I'll do it." I didn't know anything about it. I had not read the script, nothing. And they are so, so special. They are brilliant. I love their style. I love their energy. They take everything to the maximum and they have such gigantic, creative energies. 

I showed up with the highest expectations and even those were blown out of the water. The onset experience was fun and incredibly supportive. It's a huge honor to get to work with the cast that they have. I was also really lucky to make some really close friends out of it. Stephanie Hsu, who plays Joy, ended up being a really close friend of mine. The pandemic started right when they finished that movie. I was moving to the East Coast, and she ended up living in my house in Los Angeles for like nine months.

What a fun connection.

Yeah, really, really nice. And Daniel Kwan, his wife Kirsten Lepore is our animation director on our "Marcel the Shell" movie. So, we've all known each other for a bit now.

That's amazing. I was just about to segue to "Marcel the Shell" because you've been like on a roll with A24, it seems, which is wonderful. I believe it comes out in June.

Yes, June 24.

What can you tease about it for readers?

If you like the "Marcel" shorts — we created them a decade ago — you'll be really happy to see that he hasn't gotten a Hollywood makeover, he's still himself. You know in "Wayne's World," when they change "Wayne's World" and Wayne and Garth don't know how to do it anymore, because it's too sanitized — Marcel is just as you remember, there's just more of him and more to discover. And it's like seeing an old friend again. But I don't want to tease any of the plot because I want it to be a surprise.

The connection of community in her latest projects

Can you speak to the journey of getting this feature film out over a decade since the short started?

The movie's written and co-written, and completely directed by, Dean Fleischer Camp. We also have a co-writer Nick Paley and our producer Elizabeth Home who produced the movie "Obvious Child" and wrote and produced "Landline" and produced my comedy special "Stage Fright," so I've worked with Liz many times over, and I hope for a lifetime of work with her. We really had a creative vision that we wanted to be able to stick to. And we were lucky to find funding and a creative partnership through Cinereach to make this movie independently and to be able to really make our own creative choices. That's why it is exactly what we wanted it to be. In the end, it is the movie we intended to make and we're incredibly proud of it because it's truthful and it really sticks to our original purpose.

One thing I immediately noticed is that both this film and your Tillamook collaboration are both about community and about bringing people together. In that vein, what might you hope that viewers take from the film?

What I find myself saying when I'm in character as Marcel is that certain things are really worth it. They're worth returning to, they're worth participating in. And focusing on community and what it means to be within one and to serve one, is a process and a set of behaviors that is always going to be worth it. It feels good to understand that worth and that anybody can participate in something that is of sort of high personal value. You become that high value when you add yourself to your community. A really great way to feel your own power is to participate in kindness and care in your community.

Absolutely. And right now, more than ever, it still feels like we need that in abundance.

We always will. We always did and we always will. It's sort of like a spiritual practice. It's a daily thing, or like your own physical health, you just got to keep doing it. It's like breathing. It's like your heartbeat that you don't stop, you just get more and more into it.

What's next for Jenny Slate

I love that philosophy so much. We recently interviewed Thomas Mann for his film "Chariot." Rosa Salazar is also in that film, but then I noticed that both of them are also in "Marcel." So, I wanted to ask, what was it like working with them?

Unfortunately I didn't get to be on set when they were there because my parts had already been recorded. I've met Rosa in person only briefly. Thomas, I have met before. We did a table read for something together. They're both lovely people. We were very, very lucky to get them, especially because anyone outside of me or Dean or Nick or Liz was showing up to set, coming into a years-long, very personal process and asked to jump right in. And they did. Their scene work in the film is really, really good and completely dedicated and is such a pivotal point in the film, and they did an exceptional job.

This is totally unrelated to "Marcel," but I know you were in [the film] "Zootopia," which I love. Are you able to divulge if you're in the upcoming Disney+ "Zootopia" series?

I don't think I am.

Oh, no. I loved that movie and I loved you in it...

You're going to have to ask them.

I'll tweet Disney. [Laughs] What can you tell us about what's next for you?

I'm working on my standup again. I'd really like to make a new special. I am writing a new book, and if you haven't read my book "Little Weirds," you should. Just like "Marcel," I wrote it as something to give to people that they can relax into and hopefully use to help themselves feel good. I know I wrote it so that I could feel better going through my own days and working through my own emotional experiences. ... And the "Marcel" movie comes out on June 24, so that's a big, big thing about to happen in my future.

Ice cream lovers can participate in Tillamook's Partnership for Creamier Ice Cream on Instagram and TikTok. Jenny Slate's new movie, "Marcel the Shell with Shoes On," lands in theaters on June 24.