Unlike the dysfunctional 20-somethings that we’ve grown to love on the HBO hit, Shiri Appleby’s character, Natalia, really seems to have her life together, making her the sanest girl on “Girls.”
We got the opportunity to talk to Shiri, who gave us some surprising answers about what Adam Driver is like in real life, her move towards directing, and how far she’s come since her twenties.
Well, I'm friendly with Jenni Konner--executive producer on the show, and I've been wanting to get into directing.
So I had been talking to her about coming to New York to shadow one of their directors, which is basically like an internship where you follow a director around during prep and production to learn about directing television and how they direct specifically on that show. So when I was out there shadowing Jesse Peretz on episode eight actually, Lena asked me if I would want to come do the show, and I was thrilled. So that's how I got the part.
It was definitely like a best case scenario.
Lena Dunham is famous for blurring the line between reality and fiction. Did being on set feel like another episode of Girls, or are the actors more distinct from their characters than we imagine?
You know, I really only worked with Adam, and he's definitely different from the character he plays on the show. He's like a really grounded guy. He's very thoughtful and very open with me. We got along really, really well.
I think the character on the show is obviously a lot more troubled and has a lot of demons. And if Adam Driver has those demons, I haven't met them!
I think that his character is something that he's definitely created between him and Lena. I haven't worked enough with the other actors to really have a fair comment on them.
Natalia meets Adam after her mum sets her up on a blind date. Has your real mum ever interfered in your love life?
Oh yes. Definitely. She's never set me up on a blind date, but she was definitely a participant on my dating journey.
I was--I am a huge fan of the show, which is why I wanted to shadow on it. I was just really curious how they were making their television vs. all of the other television that I'd been a part of.
Oh, that's so interesting... I have no idea--I haven't really thought about it. In my twenties, I was definitely searching--I was definitely on a search, and I was really impatient about when I would find my match.
Congratulations on being pregnant! It seems like you've come a long way since being 22. Do you think you've changed a lot since then, or do you think you've always been on the right track?
No, I've definitely made so many mistakes--that's what your twenties are for. And I think once you find the person that you're starting your life with, and you actually start your life, it gives you a lot more confidence to be the person you are, so you're not spending so much time questioning every choice you're making.
Your character Natalia seems like the sanest girl on Girls this season, and she claims to hate dating. Do you relate to that?
I mean, dating is definitely awful but it is also pretty amazing. You're going on a journey and finding yourself really--you know, finding the person that makes you feel most like yourself. When it's not working and you're going from one horrible date to the next, or not getting any dates, and it feels like it's never going to end, it's excruciating.
Well, I've been acting since I was a kid--I've grown up on sets. The director is the one who makes a lot of the decisions, creatively puts the piece together. And so I just feel like after so many years of playing one part of the process, I really wanted to have an opportunity to get involved in all of the different aspects of putting something together.
I started directing on the Internet and shadowing on other television shows to learn about it more. It just makes me feel like it is using all of me--all of my creativity and all of my experience. The few times I've done it, it's been the most fun I've ever had.
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