During the early days of quarantine in March, which now feels like a century ago, Brie Larson invited me onto her Animal Crossing: New Horizons island, Dessert, as one of Nintendo’s ambassadors for the game. Fast forward roughly seven months, and I got to chat with Larson about her Animal Crossing progress (she has one pretty constant favorite neighbor) and her other favorite games, including Fortnite. (Yes, the woman behind Captain Marvel had a pretty incredible reaction to Stark Industries first being added to the map in Fortnite’s latest season.)
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Larson is a passionate, longtime Nintendo fan—and one who has leveled up her partnership with the gaming company. The Oscar-winning actress is now the star of one of the brand’s newest ads, which showcases how Larson fits gaming into her life. (Awkwafina also stars in her own Nintendo ad, giving Nintendo an all-star talent roster this holiday season.)
Gaming is a regular part of Larson’s life in quarantine, with it sometimes being a part of her daily routine. “It’s usually how I wake up in the morning. I’ll wake up and, you know, waking up, caffeinated, I’ll play. I’ll play Fortnite or I’ll play Animal Crossing. It’s just a way of getting my brain going,” she tells me.
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It’s also one way she stays connected with her family and friends, especially since it’s harder to be physically together due to COVID-19. “It’s been quite a large focal point of my connectivity with my friends and family, and I’m so grateful for that,” Larson says. “Some friends have actually gotten into Animal Crossing because of me, and so it’s a way of virtually shopping or doing activities together.”
”Then I’ve also now got Fortnite into the fold and so then for my more competitive friends and family members, that’s become a huge source of connectivity and entertainment. I’ve been quite addicted to that game as well now,” she adds.
Here, Larson talks a bit about her favorite games, along with her hopes for Princess Peach or Princess Zelda leading a game in the future. (She may not have to wait too long if theories about an upcoming Zelda game are true.)
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”I guess I have a lot of insecurity with my island,” Larson admits when I ask if she has any showstopper landmarks on Dessert. “So many people have amazing ones, and actually my close friend wasn’t even into Nintendo Switch before hearing me talk about it so passionately she bought one… She’s created a full spa. So I’ve been spending a lot of time at her island, you know, having a spa day, a virtual spa day over there.”
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Larson is more into gardening and the seasonal elements of the game. “I’m really passionate about the nature, the crops, growing different flowers, pumpkins, you know, are going on right now,” she adds.
Larson does have a favorite Animal Crossing holiday so far though: “Easter was super fun,” she says. Zipper the Easter bunny, by the way, did not creep her out like it did some other people, including Chrissy Teigen. “I liked Zipper,” Larson says. “I like the idea that, you know, we’re on this island and you have to think, what kind of person wants to move to this deserted island that we’re sort of building and creating together? I think it takes a certain type of rebel and outsider to be interested in that. So that’s how I view all of the various neighbors, people that come through, is they’re all kind of like this interesting cast of characters. I like getting to know them. And I like when something weird like Zipper shows up, if you have them for a short period of time.”
But her favorite neighbor is hamster Soleil. “Soleil’s been my favorite for a while now,” she says. “I just love the vibe. I love a glamorous look on a deserted island. You know, I just think to walk around carrying a beautiful purse, I just think that’s just such a nice move.”
”My 12-year-old neighbor got me into it, which I don’t know, maybe that’s every adult’s origin story in Fortnite,” she says of the battle royale game, which is free to download. “She got me into it, and my boyfriend and I then started playing. I was kind of addicted, and I think part of why I liked it so much is because they’re shorter rounds. So it’s easier to fit in in the day. And it’s teamwork. I mean, you can do a solo round of course, but I liked the fact that it made us have deep conversations about, you know, when is the proper time to revive someone? Is it OK to drink heals before you revive someone? And you talk about what I think are deeper moral questions about love and respect and teamwork. And so I’m learning a lot in this virtual world that I’m taking forward into my life when it comes to how I can be more respectful and caring of other teammates.”
Does Larson want to see Captain Marvel in the game as a playable character? “Oh yes. I really like the Marvel collab,” she says. “I think adding the superpower element has been amazing. The game is constantly changing. They’re constantly updating the map as a new thing, and I love being able to go to Tony Stark’s compound. I mean, I can go on and on. I just remember when the map first changed, and we landed in a little dark area at the cabin. I was tripping out; I was saying to my team, I was like, ‘I’ve been here before. I don’t know why, but this isn’t in the game, I’ve been here before.’ And then I realized that it was a recreation of the cabin that I shot at, where the end of Endgame [was]. I was like, ‘Oh right. I have been here. Cool, it’s in the game.’ So I think Marvel and Fortnite, they just did such great storytelling. And I love that. I love that it’s not just a simple battle royale game, that there’s ongoing narrative happening with it.”
Larson’s favorite drop spots on the map change regularly. “I kind of rotate. I don’t know if this is controversial to say or not, but I’m a big fan of the challenges. That’s a lot of what I’ll do in the morning by myself, is just complete challenges. I’ve been going to Weeping Woods a lot recently because of Wolverine being there, but that’s been my mood. But like I said, it shifts—I went through a phase where I always wanted to go to the Quinjets first. Also, because the map is constantly changing, it depends on which vibe you want. There are places you go to for a very chill to start; others are just insane. It just kind of depends on what mood you’re in.”
Learn More and Download Fortnite for Nintendo Switch Here
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”It’s this really cool interactive [game],” Larson says of one of her picks for the system, particularly for those quarantining during COVID. “You’re actually running and moving in order to control your character. And so I’ve had a really great time with it. Also, I think the story element is awesome, and it’s really fun. And it gets your heart rate up a little bit.”
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”I will always have a deep place in my heart for Luigi’s Mansion, because Luigi is my character,” Larson says. “I love Luigi and I always wanted him to have his time to shine, he needed his own solo game. And now I’m just excited about the idea of pushing for a Princess Peach solo game. I think it’s just been too long. Let’s put Peach up there, let’s give her her time to shine.”
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”I love all the Super Marios. Smash Brothers is super fun,” Larson says.
”[I’ll play as Luigi] in Mario Kart, Mario Party, yeah. I’ll be Luigi in Super Smash Brothers [and] Samus obviously,” Larson says, adding she plays Zero Suit Samus more regularly on the latest Smash because she’s “the best.”
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”Breath of the Wild is great. And I think it’s great to do because the new one is coming out soon,” Larson says, referencing the sequel to the game that’s been announced, along with Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, a prequel to the game. “So get on it and enjoy the game.”
I asked Larson if she’s hopeful that Zelda will be the main character in the sequel.
”That would be really cool. I would love that,” she says. “It’s always been my dream to get a really high-end Zelda cosplay costume.”
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Alyssa Bailey is the news and strategy editor at ELLE.com, where she oversees coverage of celebrities and royals (particularly Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton).
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