Archival dress by Donna Karan.

Alison Brie on “Apples Never Fall” and Working With Annette Bening

In the new limited series from Peacock, Alison Brie deviates from the Type A characters she’s known for in a looser role alongside one of  her all-time idols.

Ilana Kaplan Arts & Entertainment, Fashion & Style

Archival dress by Donna Karan.

Archival dress by Donna Karan.


Photography by Dennis Leupold
Styling by Erin Walsh
Hair by Ted Gibson
Makeup by Rob Rumsey

Video by Chad Van Horn Styling assistant Carlyn Rosario
Digitech Kevin Leupold
Photo assistants Sho Stewart, Thomas Blanco
Video by Chad Van Horn
Location via Natural Retreats

Alison Brie may have manifested the opportunity to work with Annette Bening. As Brie recalls it, she was in the midst of doing press for the 2023 rom-com Somebody I Used to Know — a collaboration with her actor-filmmaker husband, Dave Franco. Interviewers asked constantly about her favorite rom-com, and she always gave the same answer: “The American President starring Annette Bening,” she proudly declares over the phone while cruising Interstate 10 from the desert back home to Los Feliz. “It’s my all-time favorite movie.”

Seemingly every day for those two weeks, she uttered Bening’s name into the universe. Then midway through her press tour, she received an offer: the opportunity to star alongside Bening in what is now Brie’s latest project, the Peacock limited series Apples Never Fall, which premieres March 14. “If Annette Bening has signed off on something,” she says, “I know it’s going to be good.”

It was “kismet.”




Apples Never Fall, the third television adaptation from Big Little Lies and Nine Perfect Strangers author Liane Moriarty, dives into the cracks beneath the shiny veneer of the Delaneys, an ostensibly picture-perfect family of tennis obsessives. What unfurls is a family saga flanked by a complex marriage dynamic between two former-tennis-coach parents, secrets kept by their four adult children, a suspected murder, and a troublesome stranger.

For Brie, it wasn’t solely Bening that attracted her to the mystery miniseries — it was the prospect of portraying the antithesis of her many Type A alter-egos.

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Lucid Viva semi-sheer mesh and chainmail dress by Christopher Esber. Sterling silver Wave ring by Mejuri.

She is, after all, keenly aware that her resume teems with characters clamoring for any semblance of control: the determined housewife Trudy Campbell in Mad Men, the overly ambitious Annie Edison in the sitcom Community, the pretentious, down-on-her-luck actress turned wrestler Ruth in the Netflix dramedy GLOW, Harper’s intense older sister Sloane in the queer holiday rom-com Happiest Season, and Cassie’s prissy former college friend Madison in the revenge thriller Promising Young Woman. Brie has become a bona fide character actor who manages to steal scenes, no matter their brevity.

In Apples Never Fall, she portrays the oldest Delaney sibling, Amy, a bumbling, yoga-loving, pot-smoking life coach and natural “catastrophizer” who believes problems can be solved with prayer circles. In the book, Brie notes, the character is described “as being a mess.” It’s a far cry from the many uptight perfectionists she’s embodied, but Brie’s own personality falls somewhere in between. “I’m not quite as freewheeling as Amy, but we both share a love of cannabis and yoga,” she says.

Although there’s an inherently creative and spiritual side to Brie, she harnesses a certain practicality that Amy doesn’t. “Unlike Amy, I knew what I wanted to do and was passionate about something at an early age,” she reasons. “Because Amy, like all the Delaneys, was forced to be passionate about tennis, she never could figure out what she really wanted to do.” Throughout the series, as the siblings frantically search for their missing mother (Bening), Brie reveals that Amy eventually leaves some semblance of her catastrophizing nature behind as she leans into being  “calm and responsible.”

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Beaded dress by Balenciaga. Embellished snake ring by DSquared2. “Peace Landscape” painting by Ramón Reyes.

While Amy doesn’t play much tennis on the show (and Brie doesn’t herself), the actress applied the physicality required for GLOW to Apples Never Fall by taking tennis lessons. She “rejected” the sport as a kid, but she’s “more athletic” now, due in part to her time on the wrestling series. “Ever since GLOW, I get so excited to learn a new thing for a job,” Brie enthuses, “especially if  it’s physical.”

That overall commitment to the craft wasn’t lost on Apples writer-showrunner Melanie Marnich, who says Brie really “slipped into the role of big sister” as Amy. “When you’re casting, you’re looking for people who can really deliver in many areas tonally and deliver those gear shifts from something very dramatic to something witty, warm, or outright funny in the most natural and authentic way,” she says. “Enter Alison Brie.”

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Slinky jersey sarong maxi dress by Helsa. Camelia crystal-embellished slingback pumps in pink satin by Amina Muaddi. Stylist’s own ring.

Brie asserted her “big sister” side as the cast got to know each other. Before the series began filming, two group chats formed — one for the Delaney siblings, including cast members Jake Lacy, Essie Randles, and Conor Merrigan Turner — and one that also included the Delaney parents, Bening and Sam O’Neill. Chris Sweeney, one of the show’s directors, suggested the idea, encouraging everyone to get acquainted, Brie recalls. Considering a handful of the cast members were based in Australia, where the show was filmed, it helped.

Salacia Wire Sunray dress with rib-knit skirt by Christopher Esber, available at Saks Fifth Avenue. Stylist’s own bangle.

Salacia Wire Sunray dress with rib-knit skirt by Christopher Esber, available at Saks Fifth Avenue. Stylist’s own bangle.

Since “everybody was dragging their feet” in the beginning, Brie’s Type A traits took charge to launch the conversation. “I started the group chat exclusively to make fun of Chris Sweeney for suggesting we do a group chat,” she says, laughing. “And wouldn’t you know it? It bonded us all immediately.” The “Delaney sibs” chain was quickly getting “real fast and loose,” which Brie thought might not be entirely appropriate for the parents. So a second chain spun off with Bening and O’Neill. “Like in all families, there’s some things that siblings just need to talk about amongst ourselves,” the actress quips.

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Oversized leather blazer by Magda Butrym. Classic high-rise bikini by Commando. Embellished suede thigh-high boots by Oscar de la Renta. Pamela sunglasses by Illesteva. Dee Signet 14-karat gold-dipped brass ring by Jenny Bird.

Brie’s relentless optimism is palpable whenever she discusses a project, which is perhaps why she’s become such a reliable character actor over the years. Joel McHale, Brie’s friend and Community co-star, has always admired how “effortless” her character work appears. “She  is very good at deciphering a script and then finding the clues of the script and bringing them to life,” he says, drawing a comparison to Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp, “these stunning looking men who are some of  the best character actors.”

Soon, Brie will join McHale on-screen once again for Community: The Movie — a gift to the cast and fans of a series that was deemed canceled too soon. Brie claims she’s still in the dark about what’s happening with the project, aside from the headlines she sees about plans to shoot this summer. “We’re all excited to do it. Everybody wants to do it,” she says. “It’s just, even when we were shooting the show, [actress] Gillian [Jacobs] used to say that getting all the cast together was like herding cats, and I feel like that’s what it’s going to be like [making the movie].” She hopes her character, Annie, still has a crush on Jeff, played by McHale. “Some of my favorite parts of the show were shooting scenes with Jeff and Annie and the romantic push and pull there, so I hope there would be some of that in the movie,” she says. “But you never know.”

Beaded dress by Balenciaga. Embellished snake ring by DSquared2. “Peace Landscape” painting by Ramón Reyes.

Beaded dress by Balenciaga. Embellished snake ring by DSquared2. “Peace Landscape” painting by Ramón Reyes.

Meringue dress in silk satin plissé by Harithand.

Meringue dress in silk satin plissé by Harithand.

More imminently, Brie is teaming up with her husband for another horror movie. (She and Franco collaborated on The Rental in 2020.) This time, they’re headed to Australia, and they’ll both be producing and starring in the film together. But really, she’s in search of boundary-pushing projects. She waxes poetic over filmmakers like Rose Glass, who directed 2019’s Saint Maud and the forthcoming film Love Lies Bleeding, as well as Halina Reijn, who spearheaded 2022’s Bodies Bodies Bodies. Secretly, Brie has been plotting ways to work with Bodies Bodies Bodies star and Bottoms co-writer Rachel Sennott. “I need to write the project where I’m like her older sister, her cousin, her cool aunt,” she laughs.

Right now, all Brie wants to do is take risks. “That’s the thing that excites me the most.”




The Location

Tucked away in the quiet south end of the Indian Canyons neighborhood of Palm Springs, this 1977 home, known as Casa Colibri, sprawls across multiple levels indoors and out. Book a stay here through Natural Retreats