‘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

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/bill-hader.jpg
Bill Hader: “I kind of fell into acting” (video)
Bill Hader, starring in the soon to be released The Skeleton Twins, talks about the film and how he fell into acting and then got “crazy lucky” in this quick video from USA Today. Share on Tumblr
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/director-john-carney-narrates-a.jpg
Director John Carney Narrates a Scene from ‘Begin Again’ Starring Kiera Knightley and Mark Ruffalo
Director John Carney (Once) narrates a scene from his new film, Begin Again. Starring Keira Knightley and Mark Ruffalo, the scene shows the first time the two characters meet. I haven’t seen it yet but I’ve heard it’s great.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/holler-if-you-hear-me-gma.jpg
Watch the Cast of Broadway’s ‘Holler If You Hear Me’ Perform ‘California Love’ on GMA
The cast of Broadway’s newest musical, Holler If You Hear Me with music from Tupac Shakur, performed on Good Morning America this morning. Singing ‘California Love’, the cast (including the teriffic Christopher Jackson – read our interview here), show why they’re the most energetic and inspiring group of actors on Broadway. Holler If Ya Hear [...]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/behind-the-scenes-of-dawn-of-the.jpg
Behind the Scenes of ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ with Performance Capture Actor Terry Notary
Actor Terry Notary is 1 of 5 actors playing the apes in the new Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. “When you see armies of apes,” he says, that’s “five of us.” Check out the video where you can watch his performance capture work.
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/melissa-mccarthy-daily-show.jpg
Melissa McCarthy and John Stewart Talk About Terrible Commercial Auditions on ‘The Daily Show’
Melissa McCarthy stopped by The Daily Show last week to plug about her new movie, Tammy. She talked about how she loved working with her husband, Ben Falcone (director of Tammy) and then segued into talking about some horrible working situations. The always hilarious McCarthy then started to tell host John Stewart about a particular [...]