Molly Shannon on The Other Two and Why She Left SNL - VRGyani News and Media


Friday, August 27, 2021

Molly Shannon on The Other Two and Why She Left SNL

In the world of The Other Two, fame is attainable — but not a cure for all your problems. And that's doubly true if like aspiring actor Cary (Drew Tarver) and one-time dancer Brooke (Heléne Yorke), the one who gets famous is your kid brother, with your nice Midwestern mother Pat (Molly Shannon) sucked along into the chaos of stardom: The second season of the HBO Max comedy, created by Chris Kelly and Sarah Schreiner, features Pat discovering a whole new vocation as a talk show host, a job she may actually end up being pretty good at.

The Other Two reunites Shannon with Kelly, who directed Shannon in his 2016 film Other People — none of which is a coincidence, as Shannon's career of late features plenty of roles that have been written with her in mind. (This includes the HBO summer favorite The White Lotus, created by Mike White.) In this one-on-one interview with Collider, she explains what it's like to have a role written just for you, how she approaches playing The Other Two's good-hearted Pat, and why she left Saturday Night Live in 2001.

Collider: To start off, in your words what was your path like to ending up on this show?

SHANNON: Well, I was on the set of Divorce with Sarah Jessica Parker, which we were shooting in New York City, and I live in California. And Chris Kelly, my friend who I did Other People with, was like, "Look, I know you're shooting Divorce right now in New York, and you probably don't want to do another show in New York, but could you play the mom on The Other Two?" And I was like, "Yes." I could never pass it up.

And so he created that show with his partner, Sarah Schneider, who's so talented. They were both head writers on SNL. And there was just no way I could pass it up. I was so excited. It's a gift to get to work with somebody as talented as Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider, so there was no way I could pass it up. I think the first season, I couldn't do the full amount of episodes because I was shooting so much at the time, but, yeah, we figured all that out. And then when I was available more, I did more episodes. Kind of like that.

Of course. Is this something where, because you were going to be available more for Season 2, they expanded the Pat storyline?

SHANNON: Exactly, exactly. Yes, that's correct. Yeah.

Cool. So in Season 2, things are in some ways thematically the same, but Pat, of course, has taken on this new role. What was were the conversations like around her becoming a talk show host and having this new position?

SHANNON: In all honesty, I didn't really talk about that. Chris and Sarah just do that, and they work so hard on those scripts, and then I have such full trust in them that they just hand it to me and I'm like, "Great." I'm happy with whatever, and I have full, full trust in them, you know? So it's great. So they just hand me the scripts, and I perform them, and that's all. It's not like they're really discussing it with me. Yeah, maybe they just said "Your character is going to get her own talk show," but that's probably as much as I knew.

Sure. And one of the things I really like about it is the fact that Pat's actually pretty good at it. It's not like a parody of bad talk show hosts.

SHANNON: Exactly. She is so good at it. And I have a lot of appreciation for what she does and for what you do. Today, after these interviews, I'm going to be interviewing my friend, Kate Beckinsale. We did Serendipity together, so I'm interviewing her for Rollercoaster Magazine. And I was preparing for my interview, and I was like, this is hard. You really have to do your research and asking questions or letting an answer lead you organically to another. I have a lot of respect for what you do because it's not easy, and I think people who are good at it make it look easy, but it's hard.

And for print interviews, I can blather for a couple of minutes with you and then trim it down to the actual question. But when you're doing the actual talk show thing, you have to be word perfect from the beginning.

SHANNON: Yeah. That's hard. I think about that, because Jimmy Fallon, all these people I know who I worked with have their own shows now. Seth Myers, Drew Barrymore. And I'm like, God, that's hard. And the pace is hard. It's one thing to do one day, but what you guys have to, doing it every day, and it's not easy.

But Pat, my character, has a very good attitude, and she's just having fun, and it's almost like because she's green and doesn't know that much is what makes her kind of open, I think, you know? That's how I try to play it. "This is fun. Ooh, this is exciting." She's so new with it that she's like a new person in show business, so it's all exciting to her, you know?

Yeah. I think what I find really interesting about the show is it's such an interesting point of view on show business, and the way people get jaded to stuff so quickly.

SHANNON: Yeah, exactly.

So it seems like a big factor with Pat is just making sure she keeps that newness to her.

SHANNON: Yeah, exactly. I think it's pretty easy for her because she is very positive, and she's a happy mother, and she likes her work. So she does seem to really be just thoroughly enjoying it. She has to work on taking care of herself, too, and the pace is breakneck, but she will hopefully figure that out. You know?

How involved is the process of setting up her hair and her wardrobe and her and her jewelry even? Just because I feel like all those details are very, very authentically Midwestern mom to some degree.

SHANNON: Well, we have an amazing hair designer, Jodi Mancuso, and then Jill Bream, our costume designer, and they really do such a good job, and they know the types of clothes, and Jodi cut the hair so she's kind of like Ohio moves to New York City. And she colors it in a certain way that's still Midwestern, even though she's cool and in New York City and has her own talk show. She's still a Midwestern lady. And, yeah, so they wanted it kind of Kate Gosselin, I think. Early Kate Gosselin, before she was on television for many years and got cooler. It was like when she first emerged on television, that type of look.

RELATED: Exclusive 'The Other Two' Clip: Chase Attends a School Dance for PR, but It's Complicated

That's the one thing about pop culture today is that there are a thousand different prototypes for what you could go for.

SHANNON: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. Sometimes if I see a type of hair cut that I like, I'll take a picture. If it's somebody at a supermarket, I'll take a little picture, because sometimes I'll go, "Yeah, that'd be fun for a character, that type of look or hair." So I do do that. I try to keep a little file for ideas.

So you seem to have, especially recently, built up great relationships with really interesting writers. When you're looking at scripts, what are you looking for in terms of "This is something that feels like it's right for me?"

SHANNON: That's so interesting. Well, yes, Chris Kelly and Sarah Schneider are so good, and they're just so talented. And so I met Chris when he offered me to play the mom in Other People, and I think because I come from Saturday Night Live and a writing background where we had to also write and create our own characters, I think I do have a good eye for excellent, superb comedy writing.

And if something doesn't feel right, I'm like, "Uh ..." I can usually tell reading it. Because sometimes I'll get offered stuff where I'm like "Somebody would be better for this. I don't think this is the best for me," so I can usually tell reading it. And if I'm kind of like, "Hmm," and it doesn't feel that fun, I just don't do it. It's mostly, does this feel fun or not? It's kind of as simple as that.

So if a woman was a super victim, I might be, "Uh ..." I think I respond to a certain type of thing, too, you know? Sometimes the type of strengths, I think. I think I respond to that or sometimes I'm in the mood to play a certain type of thing and not play something else, you know? Or I might read something and just think, "Oh, I, somebody else should get this, not me." I could cast somebody else over myself. So I do that a lot. Isn't that funny? I wouldn't want to take something if I didn't feel right for it.

It's a very generous attitude.

SHANNON: Yeah. Yeah, I'm not always that way, but sometimes I'll feel like, "I don't know if I would do such a good job at this." Like, "Thank you for offering it to me, but I don't really know if this is for me," you know? Yeah. I think I'm good at knowing what's right for me.

What's interesting about it, too, is, comparing Chris and Sarah's approach to comedy to say, Mike White's. They're both very much working under the genre of comedy, but it's such different voices. For you, what's the difference between working on something like The Other Two versus The White Lotus?

SHANNON: Let's see. I actually treat them both the same. I always, no matter what, if it's comedy, really try to play the emotional truth, think about what the character really needs and wants, what she's going there to do. And it's the same type of acting. I treat it the same exact way. Yeah.

Interesting. And that makes a lot of sense, too, because they're very different voices, but they also are very emotional and very dramatically driven.

SHANNON: Yeah. Exactly. Emotional, funny, but dramatically driven. And I never want to make fun of the character. I always try to understand what they're talking about and understand their point of view. And I don't like if people distance themselves too much from the character. I always want to try to put emotional truth into what they're saying, even if I wouldn't agree with that character or what they're doing. I really try to find why they believe that way and what are their values and play the real truth, and then the comedy can play on top of that. But you really have to make it feel true for that character. Does that make sense? Yeah.

It sounds like you've gotten into a position where people are writing stuff for you — what is that experience like, looking at a role on the page and knowing that this writer had you in mind?

SHANNON: It's the greatest ever. I feel like I've worked so hard for that and I really appreciate it and I celebrate it. I think it's so important to not take stuff for granted and to celebrate the victories when you have a part that you feel you're great for. I get like, "Yes!" I definitely appreciate it and I'm grateful, because I feel like what's the point if you don't have those moments of just celebrating victories like that in a hard business like show business? What's the point? So I feel I do have a positive attitude.

Of course.

SHANNON: Like Pat.

By the way, it's so funny to hear her say "It's Pat." Even if it's a different actor and everything, it still gets lodged in the brain.

SHANNON: That's so funny. Exactly. Yeah. "It's Pat!" Oh my God. It's so fun. It's great.

Speaking of SNL, I have a question for you, which is what advice would you give to people who are considering leaving the show?

SHANNON: Oh, leaving the show? Well, for me, I always felt like I didn't have big aspirations beyond that show. I would always feel like when people were like, "Oh, it's such a great stepping stone, SNL," I was like, what? I was just like, what are they talking about? This is my be all and end all island. The fact that I got this far could be enough for me forever for my whole life. It exceeded all my expectations. So I never thought of the job that way. I was like this is a fantastic job in television. This is just the coolest. It's live television, variety. Lorne Michaels is a legend. There's nothing like it. I'm working with this great group of people. There was nowhere I wanted to go.

So when I left, I wasn't leaving to go do something else. I was just leaving because I wanted to spend more time with my dad, and I wanted to have kids, and date more. And I just wanted to have personal time. So I wasn't leaving to have some plan to go somewhere. I just wasn't at all. I felt really great, that I had a good run. And if anything, I left to have more of a personal life.

Isn't that funny? I think some people feel like they can only leave with some big plan. I was not like that at all. I more wanted to relax, and have time to have coffee with friends. And I felt like I was working so hard all the time I was there, that I wanted a little break.

New episodes of The Other Two Season 2 premiere Thursdays on HBO Max.

KEEP READING: 'The Other Two' Season 2 Confirms Release Date on HBO Max

from Collider - Feed

No comments:

Post a Comment

Get Started With Contributing to Us!

Try out our Free Business Listing, Article Submission Service Now. You can become a contributor by sending a request mail at [email protected] [attach some sample content links written by you in mail]