“The biggest surprise was that suddenly, when we were shooting in New York, photographers would be there,” Allison Williams, who plays Marnie, said. “When we shot outside for Season 1, the paparazzi would walk by and say, ‘Is anyone famous in this show?’ and I’d be like, ‘No. No one famous is in this show. You can keep walking. I think they’re shooting Smash around the corner.’ And this season they take pictures of us.”
Williams shouldn’t be surprised by the paparazzi since the series has been getting raved about by critics and dedicated fans alike. Part of the love comes from the show’s often brutal honesty, including the sometimes raw sex scenes.
“It makes me feel like I’m part of a show that’s aiming to portray a very real reckoning of what’s going on,” Williams told The Huffington Post. “It wouldn’t be the full picture if viewers weren’t seeing the characters in these private moments, and that’s something we all signed up for at the beginning. And sometimes it means shooting a pretty challenging scene, but it’s all for the good of the show. I trust Lena [Dunham, the show’s creator, writer, and star]. We look at what she does and just follow.”
Williams’ character, Marnie, is another realistic aspect of the show—she’s a struggling girl in her 20s, trying to figure out relationships and friendships without any of the usual sitcom sugarcoating. The role isn’t too far off from Williams’ own personality.
“When I play her, the only adjustment I have to make—in contrast to Daniel Day-Lewis, who spent months assuming his physicality and voice for Lincoln—is to take a deep breath and not let it out until I go home,” the actress said. “Even when Marnie’s trying to look relaxed, something inside her is still tense. I don’t know if she’s ever relaxed all the muscles in her face in her life. I don’t know that she’s ever really let loose or had no thoughts in her head. I’ve definitely been there, but have gotten a lot better over the years. And it was simply by acknowledging how I’m wired that I was able to get better at relaxing and easing into everything. Marnie’s still very stubbornly in pursuit of perfection.”
Although Williams has now become a household face with her spot on Girls, she admits that her personal life is still very much the same as it was before her breakout. “In very specific ways my life has changed, but my daily routine is almost identical to how it was before the show happened. Really other than doing work things like getting to talk about the show and promote it, everything’s the same. I go to the same exercise classes. I still take the subway. I eat at the same places. I like to wake up as late as I always liked to wake up.
“It’s all the same and I’m still trying to be in more stuff. I’m still hearing, ‘No.’ No matter what stage of career you reach, you’re still going to be denied roles and that’s a very important thing to realize. Everything is business as usual except this one, tiny caveat: I’m on this awesome show that changes small things in a big way.”
Girls airs new episodes Sunday, January 13 at 9 p.m. on HBO.