Allison Williams talks Tom Hanks, typecasting and life after Girls.
A lot of people confuse you with your Girls character, Marnie. Now the series is over, are you keen to distance yourself from her? I used to be worried about being typecast, but one of the beautiful things about being on Girls is that it gave me the ability to wait for the right thing to come along, and I didn’t do a film just to do a film. I’ve proven that waiting doesn’t bother me, so if I don’t see the right thing, I’ll just hang tight until something comes along that is really compelling. Adam Driver’s [ Star Wars: The Force Awakens] career has really taken off since Girls, while the show’s female stars have struggled to find other roles. What does that say? One thing that we started to notice was that journalists would ask us what was different about our characters, and would ask Adam more actor-focused questions. It was so interesting to think, “OK, why does no one ask us about our job as actors?” We have the same job, yet he gets asked questions about his craft and we didn’t. I think that’s one way of illustrating the difference in the way we are looked at. In both Girls and your new movie Get Out, you play the role of the pretty, naïve, white girl. How do you feel about representing that stereotype? They are both, on the surface, very similar, but also not totally sympathetic. Marnie is the most unpopular character on Girls and Rose [in Get Out] has a lot going on that isn’t immediately apparent. I think I’d be bored if they were just “pretty white girls”. What’s appealing to me is taking the trope of “pretty white girl” and showing how messed up it can be. Get Out makes some strong statements about race. Is there anything to be learnt from that offscreen? One of the biggest things about Get Out is that it’s best viewed in a theatre; in a room full of people you don’t know, who come from different backgrounds. You can learn a lot from the things you all react to or don’t react to. For example, if someone next to you is laughing at a joke that you don’t get, ask yourself, “What didn’t I understand?” The movie aims to facilitate conversation about a topic that, at times, is hard to talk about because you worry you’re going to say the wrong thing. It gives people a way to talk about race that hasn’t been an option in a long time, if ever. Tom Hanks officiated your wedding to entrepreneur Ricky Van Veen in 2015. What was the funniest thing he did that day? “Funny” is a weird adjective, because it’s a marriage and we took it seriously. There were lighter moments, but he took his job seriously. Your father, Brian Williams, is a high-profile newsreader in the US. What’s it been like to step out of his shadow? People used to say I was Brian Williams’s daughter rather than Allison Williams. That’s disappeared over the years and [now] people are sometimes surprised we’re related. It feels nice now that I don’t have to say, “I’m also an actress and I don’t just want to talk about my dad.”
``Marnie is the most unpopular character on Girls ´´
Get Out is in cinemas nationwide on May 4.