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The Parks and Recreation actress' new movie, Celeste and Jesse Forever, was partly inspired by her favorite film, James L. Brooks' 1987 classic in which Holly Hunter plays Jane, a TV journalist torn between pretty-boy anchor Tom (William Hurt) and dogged reporter Aaron (Albert Brooks). ''My character is a photocopy of Hunter's character,'' says Jones, who co-wrote the script. ''I'm a thief.'' Here's how else the film has influenced her.

By Melissa Maerz
Updated August 03, 2012 at 04:00 AM EDT
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On Hunter’s groundbreaking performance: ”When I was 9, Holly Hunter had a huge impact on my brain. I’d never seen a woman give a performance like that. She’s the traditional male character. She’s tenacious and opinionated, [always] knowing she’s right. And she doesn’t change. That’s unique for a romantic comedy. She knows she’ll be like that for the rest of her life.”

When Jame dumps Tom at the airport, right before their beach vacation, because he pretended to cry during an emotional segment: ”I remember thinking, ‘Get on the plane! Put on a bathing suit!’ Which is such a female thing! We’re always like, ‘He’s so cute! He wants to be smarter! We’ll figure it out!’ ”

When they have a moment at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner: ”[Whenever] I’ve been to the Correspondents’ Dinner, I’ve tried to re-create that moment when Tom sees Jane at the top of the stairs. There are moments of romance in the movie, but they don’t pan out. That’s how life is. And that’s sad — and real.”

When Tom feels up Jane outside the Correspondents’ Dinner: ”It was superhot. And I think she thought it was superhot. When she asks him [to at least kiss her while doing so], it’s not because she thought [the groping] is weird. It’s because she wants more.”

On Jane ending up single, but with a great job: ”It’s sad. It was an early indicator of this modern woman’s dilemma: She chooses her job over her heart. That’s something we all struggle with.”

On Jane and Tom’s power dynamic: ”If you do put your career first, it changes the types of guys you pick. I know it sounds sexist, but I think there’s something fundamentally biological about the way women want to be treated, and bossing a guy around isn’t what they want. Jane likes Tom because he’s a man and he doesn’t take her s—.”

On Jane and Aaron’s tricky friendship: ”Being friends with guys is complicated. She’s not in love with him, but it doesn’t matter how delicately she handles it. He’s going to punish her [for not choosing him].”

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