Season 2 of HBO’s hit comedy Girls is already off to a great start. Although we at TVFishBowl love our girls, what about the GUYS of Girls?
Alex Karpovsky has had a busy couple of years. Not only does he have a supporting role on Girls as Ray Ploshansky, the anti-emoji texter, slim leg loving, and de-flowerer of our dear Shoshanna, but he also has a role in the upcoming Coen brothers’ film “Inside Llewyn Davis”, a role in the movie “Supporting Characters”, a starring role in the movie “Almost in Love” and two other movies, “Red Flag” and “Rubberneck” that he wrote, directed, and starred in that are coming out next month too.
On Tuesday, TVFishBowl’s resident girl had a chat with the talented actor/writer/director. Here’s what he had to say:
My twitter followers want to know, how do you feel about Ray and Shoshanna being dubbed “RayShonna”?
I’ve never heard of “Rayshonna” before. I guess that sounds better than “Roshashonna” (wait… is that a Jew joke?). I like it. I like that people care enough about the relationship. It’s funny.
I guess you’ve made it as a couple when you get named.
[laughs] Yeah. Exactly.
In “Tiny Furniture” (written and directed by Lena Dunham) you kind of play a jerk and at the beginning of Girls, your character is a bit dick-ish but he becomes likable. Do you find it easy to play that role? Or do you think maybe Lena thinks that you’re a jerk so she’ll write characters for you that way?
I wish to think that Lena doesn’t think that I’m a jerk. I wish to think that she thinks I can play a jerk somewhat convincingly and that’s why she’s asked me to do it more than once. You know, one thing that I like about the show… generally speaking what I like about the show, its characters, its relationships, and its storylines though it’s a comedy they’re pretty firmly grabbing off authenticity and realism… the characters are multifaceted. Going back to your question about Ray, I think initially he does seem to be sort of a jerk, an agitator, a cynic, a skeptic… but as we get to know him, as we get to know anybody, we see it’s a little bit more complicated than that. There’s more depth and dimension to these characters. I think in terms of the show people are starting to get a little bit of that added dimension. In episode 7 of season 1 (“Welcome to Bushwick a.k.a. the Crackcident“) he chases Shoshanna when she’s having her crack episode. I think we see a sympathetic, concerned, caring part of Ray that we haven’t seen before and suddenly he’s not just a one dimensional character… or jerk. I think one thing that’s interesting too is if Charlie (Christopher Abbott) did that or if a character who people think is much nicer would do that, there would never be a moment. It would never be an interesting part of the story but because there’s a sort of context of this guy being so selfish and inconsiderate, it’s relative and people are so surprised by it that it became sort of nice and unexpected and surprisingly moving.
Speaking of the “Crackcident” how fun was it to run down the streets of New York yelling “I’m your crack spirit guide?”
[laughs] It was really fun for the first two or three takes then it got um… less fun. You know, because we shoot these things at like 3 or 4 in the morning. At my age you get a little tired at 3 or 4 in the morning and you kind of try to take naps between takes. It’s fun the first few times but then it gets old pretty quickly.
How much input do you give for your character, being a writer yourself do you get to write some of the lines for Ray or give much input for him?
Well, I don’t find myself really providing things on the character per se– like his back story or his motivations or where I see him going. I never really have those conversations with Lena or anyone else. Sometimes I’ll suggest an alternative line or an alternative word here or there just to see if it might be better fit for what we’re trying to accomplish in the confines of the scene… but even when I do that I usually kind of do it as scripted initially and then if we have extra time or if we’re doing a lot of coverage maybe I’ll suggest they could maybe try it this way… So to answer your question it’s very local and micro.
So any chance the bit in episode 9 (“Leave Me Alone”) where Hannah shows up to the coffee-house in the white dress and you tell her to go put on a slim leg… was it your genius because that scene literally made me cry.
I can’t take credit for it. I don’t remember if that was something written or if it was Lena or the director of that episode, Richard Shepard… I can’t remember which one, one of those two came up with the slim leg gesture… And they also did a lot in edit. I think when I go down the stairs, I think in the edited version I say it about two or three times but in reality I only said it once. They kind of added a lot to it. But no, that’s not my creation. I can’t take credit for it.
Since you’re a director as well, do you have any plans to direct an episode of Girls? Is that something you’d be interested in doing?
I have a tremendous amount of faith in Lena and her sensibility and her decisions. It’s gotten us this far and it’s definitely working. If Lena thinks it’s a good fit, I’d do it… She knows what I can or can’t do as a director and she knows what she wants in a scene of an episode… We’ve only had a handful of directors directing the shows. Lena directed about half of the episodes and then there are two other guys– Jesse Peretz (“Our Idiot Brother”) and Richard Shepard (“The Matador”) who directed episode 9 that we were talking about… If it’s not broken, I don’t think we should try to fix it. I think we have a small handful of directors who really understand the show. Jesse and Richard have each directed 4 or 5 episodes, I think, by now… So we’re kind of getting comfortable and familiar with each other and I’m not sure if it’s the wisest thing to adjust to a new component when things are kind of working for the moment
Moving away from Girls, can you talk about your role in the upcoming Coen brothers’ movie?
Sure. The movie is called “Inside Llewyn Davis” and the film in a nutshell revolves around… Well there are two worlds that it explores. It’s set in 1961 New York and it hones in on the Folk music community. The main part of the movie centers on a downtown circle of artists but there’s sort of another planet that satellites, orbits around this downtown universe and it’s sort of this uptown community of academics and thinkers and they’re very curious about the groovy happenings downtown but they kind of like to get their information second hand… they like to glean it from people who visit and then report back. I play one of those people. I play an uptown academic from Columbia University… I try to live my life trying to understand what this new music sensation is all about. So that’s the movie. I don’t know when it comes out (Feb. 8, 2013 according to IMDB) but I also know that Adam Driver who plays Adam on Girls is also in the movie as well. He’s part of the downtown scene.
Did you guys have any scenes together?
No, no scenes. In fact I didn’t even know he was in the movie until I was in the makeup truck and there was a Polaroid of him on the mirror and I said “That’s not Adam Driver, is it?” and they were like “Yeah, do you know him?” This was before Girls aired so no one knew that we knew each other.
What’s next for you? What are you working on right now?
Well I finished two films last year. Two films that I wrote, directed, and starred in and they’re both coming out next month, February 22… they’re playing theatrically here in New York. So it’s been a lot of work to get both of those movies ready, especially from a marketing and publicity point of view. I acted in a few other movies that are coming out. I acted in a movie called “Supporting Characters” that’s coming out Jan. 25th, which is very soon, here in New York. Another movie called “Almost in Love” which I also played the lead in which opens in New York on Feb. 15th… So a few movies that I acted in last year are coming out in the next month or two. And I’m also writing a script and I just shot something in Mexico which we’re starting to edit and hopefully Girls comes back for another season and we’ll start that up soon as well.
So back to Girls… In the first episode of season 2 we see Ray and Shoshanna at the party and they sort of have a moment. Is there anything that you can tell me that can expand on what exactly is going to happen or just a little tease of what will happen between the two of them?
Well the moment elongates and they end up spending a lot of time together in the wake of that moment. These are two people who are drawn to each other for very strange and different reasons. And when they do sort of start falling for each other they stumble their way into this very tender and unfamiliar place for both of them. I think for Ray, its unfamiliar and vulnerable because of his own personal constellation of anxieties and for Shoshanna it’s because of her age and lack of experience… So both of them are going through this very scary place which is so full of possibility and opportunity and fear… and seeing them hold each other’s hands as they enter this place together, to me, is full of comedy and pain and tenderness. So I think people will dig it.
Is there anything you can tell me about Ray or the show that other writers and bloggers don’t know.
You want exclusive scoop?
Yep, I want some exclusive scoop. What can you give me?
I have to think, I feel like I’ve covered so much with people over the last week… Well I guess… I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before… There’s a specific character in the show that Ray has never cross paths with and he’s always been very curious and scared of this person but also mesmerized by this person… and deeper into the season, Ray goes on this adventure with that character and for Ray it’s a very eye-opening, illuminating, and paradigm-shifting experience and that’s something that happens about halfway through the season which I think will be interesting.
Is that other person Adam?
[teases] Wait and see…
You know there are some previews that show Ray and Adam on some sort of ferry or boat, right?
Well, I’ve never said this to another interviewer before so it qualifies as scoop.
Thank you very much for my exclusive scoop
Yeah, sorry that it wasn’t very exclusive
“Exclusive” or not, it was a pleasure talking with Alex. I wonder what his reaction would be had I texted a panda next to a gun, next to a wrapped gift instead of a phone call for an interview or it could have gotten super awkward sending a pic of me in jeans with a slim leg. Too late now… Oh the regrets!
Anyway, it looks like you “RayShonna” fans have much to look forward to this season. I can’t wait to see what happens.
You can watch the trailer for each of the movies mentioned by clicking the title below:
(As of this time there isn’t a trailer for “Inside Llewyn Davis”)
You can follow Lindsey on twitter and tweet all the emojis you want, @LinzLooWho
Follow @tvfishbowl for your Television, Movie, Celebrity, Pop Culture, and Gossip scoop— TVFishBowl (@TVFishBowl) April 9, 2013