Role-playing IN THE GENES
IT’S in-your-face, brutally honest and contains some of the most awkward sex scenes you’ll see, but one thing HBO hit drama Girls is not – on set or off – is bitchy, says Zosia Mamet.
Mamet, who plays 22-year-old virgin Shoshanna Shapiro on the show, says rumours that there’s not a lot of love between her and co-stars Jemima Kirke, Allison Williams and creator Lena Dunham are just talk.
“We definitely make each other laugh a lot,’’ Mamet reveals. “I think people like a good story and they like drama and if they want to believe that we all hate each other then they can go right ahead.”
In fact, not only do the girls like each other, but Mamet says they even hang out outside of work.
“We’re all pretty low-key, pretty dorky humans, and we all go to bed rather early so it’s a lot of tea time that happens – like tea time in each other’s living rooms,” she says.
The sophisticated “real life’’ socialising is a far cry from some of the wild antics on Girls, which follows the four females in their early 20s as they experience the various humiliations, realities and rare triumphs involved in life and love.
Described as a Sex and the City for a younger generation, the show is also based in New York City and features the same types of graphic sex scenes and sexually-charged banter of its former HBO counterpart. But it’s younger, more raw, and celebrates its awkwardness.
For Mamet, playing the role of the naive, quirky Shapiro has been a true joy, especially coming off the back of her gig as the serious and sophisticated Joyce Ramsay in hit TV series Mad Men.
“It’s something we all want as an actor, I guess, to be challenged in that way and to get to play people that are so different,’’ she says. “Shoshanna has a lot of wacky quirks, but I try not to play her too out of the box.’’
Quirks Australian audiences have seen since the show debuted here include Shoshanna bringing cupcakes to her cousin’s abortion.
They also mean she gets her share of inappropriate but hysterical lines on the show. While some or Shosanna’s off-beat observations are a result of some clever scriptwriting from Dunham, others are ad-libs from Mamet herself.
“It’s an incredible mixture of ( Dunham) having such a precise vision of what she wants, but at the same time being so open and so humble to the idea that if we have a different way she’ll let you play that out and see if it’s more interesting,’’ Mamet says.
Dunham has praised Mamet for her “wit and ability to improvise’’ and credited her for producing better lines for her character than she ever could.
It’s not surprising, given Mamet’s impressive pedigree. The 24-year-old star is the daughter of Academy Awardnominated actress Lindsay Crouse and playwright, screenwriter and director David Mamet, famous for Wag the Dog and Glengarry Glen Ross.
“My mother was pregnant with me on stage so I think I sort of wanted to do this since birth,’’ Mamet says.
Her passion for acting, however, currently sees her art imitating real life.
Like her character, she says dating is just not her thing and even admits preferring to read a book than go out.