Pin It

‘Looking’ star Jonathan Groff on Shooting His New Series: “The word ‘improv’ always makes me feel a little anxious”

jonathan-groff-lookingJonathan Groff is one of those lucky Broadway actors who has moved very fluidly into the TV and film world. From Broadway shows like Spring Awakening to his latest series Looking, the 28-year-old actor spoke to IndieWire about his work on the new HBO show about a group of gay friends living in San Francisco.

Groff talked about the low-key way the series is shot and how it adds a very organic feel to the storyline.

“I’ve never worked this way before. Andrew [Haigh] has a very specific way of creating naturalism on set — he’s not precious about the writing of scenes. If something doesn’t feel right or doesn’t seem like it’s the right line, he’s like ‘Just cut it or change it or whatever,'” said the Broadway actor. “He’s very laid-back, and so when he says ‘we’re gonna do a little improv’… The word ‘improv’ always makes me feel a little anxious, because I always feel like we’ll have to pull props out of a bag and find 800 different ways to talk about a stick, the way you do in theater school. But his version of improv is however you make it feel real to you.”

He continued, “So he would encourage to improv into the scene, maybe a little in the middle and cut that one line that didn’t sound right and improv at the end, and it ends up becoming really in the moment. So the work, you can’t really prepare for, which is really exciting and taught me a lot as an actor, because when you show up on set for Looking in the morning, hopefully you know your lines, but you never really know what’s gonna happen.”

The cast was lucky enough to shoot on-location which helped create a camaraderie amongst the cast with the freedom given to them by Haigh.

“We shot almost everything on location in San Francisco — we just had to roll with it, and that all completely started with Andrew and definitely challenged all of us on the show to push ourselves and trust each other and trust that we could be real and not have to push the acting, just talk to each other. Which can be really scary, because you want to feel like you can prepare and hold onto things. He forced us all to let it go, which was great,” shared Groff.

Looking debuted on Jan. 19 on HBO.

Latest Videos

The Cast of ‘Mad Men’ on the Final Season and More
Though the AMC television series Mad Men might not carry the same cultural weight that it did a few years ago (splitting your final season over two years might do that to you), the second half of the show’s final season is expected to be full of powerful performances from its ensemble cast. With the […]
Watch: Ron Perlman on His Father’s Influence on His Early Career
Ron Perlman is a prolific actor, and he has also lent his distinctive voice to a number of projects in film and television — including the new animated film The Book of Life. One of the reasons that Perlman works so hard is not only because he loves being an actor, but because of what […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/cate-blanchett-asks-graduating-s.jpg
Cate Blanchett Asks Graduating Students a Heavy Question: “What the hell can you do with an arts degree?”
“What the hell can you do with an arts degree?” Many actors ask themselves that when they find themselves struggling to make it in Hollywood while saddled with student loans. It was Cate Blanchett who posed that question recently to graduating students at Macquarie University in Sydney where she received an honorary doctorate degree. The […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/matthew-mcconaughey-rallies-his.jpg
Matthew McConaughey Rallies his Alma Mater Football Team to Victory with the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Chant
Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey delivered a different kind of speech two weeks ago when he spoke with the Texas Longhorns football team after their close 20-17 loss to UCLA. The moment was a bit odd, but hilarious at the same time. Coach Charlie Strong was the one who invited the Dallas Buyers Club star to inspire the […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-anna-gunn-reveals-her-awkw.jpg
Watch: Anna Gunn Reveals Her Awkward ‘Breaking Bad’ Audition Details
Though Breaking Bad was obviously a career highpoint for every actor involved, they all must move on to their next projects (except for the few who are involved in the Breaking Bad spinoff, Better Call Saul). This includes Anna Gunn, who portrayed Walter White’s wife Skyler on the award-winning series series. Gunn’s new series, the […]