Tell us a little bit about the new show you star in.
Gypsy follows a New York therapist, played by Naomi Watts. It explores the boundaries between patient and doctor— she kind of starts to play puppeteer with her clients.
Thinking about the darker themes in the show, how did you relate to those or get into character?
I play Alison, and when we first meet her she’s on amphetamines. By the time we meet her, she’s been addicted for a year so she’s learned how to contain it kind of, and lie very effectively about it. It was kind of trying to find a balance between feeling that frenzy and that need, but also keeping it contained.
It sounds very psychological. Have you ever done a project like that?
I don’t think I’ve done anything quite like Gypsy before. Especially the honest way that it is written. Each character would be easy to put in a “box”, make them the stereotype version we’ve seen—drug addicted teenager—but the way the writer has done show is very human and real.
There has been lot of controversy about the portrayal mental illness in media. Especially with some recent shows, also on Netflix. Do you feel like this is doing something alternative to that?
Absolutely. It was refreshing to see someone struggling with that drug instead of glamorizing it. It’s not only about the floundering feeling of what Alison is going through with drugs, but also being a young woman of her age being fed “if you follow this steps, you'll get to a certain place,” and learning that that’s not the way it goes. You see the darker characters in film where their struggle is so dark and glamorous. It’s like, “I know what I'm being fed is terrible, but why do I wanna be Winona Ryder, in Girl, Interruped?” In [Gypsy] it’s the ugliest side of everyone. Even with Naomi’s character. I love to see someone who seems so sane, have a dirty side.
How did you prepare for getting into character?
It’s the hardest thing. I didn't want to do what we’ve seen— a shaky leg, and such. I was trying to feel that frenzy while containing and working out with the director with how much to give away to the audience.
Why is the show called Gypsy?
The writer named it after the Fleetwood Mac song, because it’s also about finding your identity, and the show is mostly about redefining yourself as well.
Are you blonde in the show? I don’t know what color it’s gonna turn out! I wanted to be like mousy brown, but it accidentally went pretty bright red. I don’t really own my own look, I kind of do what they tell me to. I was having a bit of a crisis about that, so that is why I wanted to go back to natural for the show.
What is the main thing that you want people to take from Gypsy?
I feel like it sounds cliche, but I think the show shows that you no matter what stage you are at, you can take a step back, reassess, and do something different. You don't have to stay where you are today.
I have to ask— did you have to do meth to get fully into character?
Ha, people usually ask that a lot less bluntly. But no.