She’s arguably renowned for her role in chick flicks (Suddenly 30, The Descendants) and Hollywood blockbusters (Ant-Man, Jurassic World) but in her new TV show, Judy Greer shows a different side to her acting prowess.
After losing their son in a horrific accident, Jill bares the brunt of the pain while Jeff tries to mask his grief to extremely bizarre results, leading to the end of their marriage.
Here, Pedestrian.TV chats to the esteemed actress about what drew her to the series and what it’s like starring alongside the veteran, albeit wacky, comic.
Congrats on the positive reviews! Did you sense from the beginning that the show would be a success?
You just never know. I can’t say because I’ve been doing this for a while now and I’ve gotten my hopes up in the past and you just never really know what to expect. I knew that I was happy with all the scripts coming in and I was so happy with the work that we were all doing that I got to a point where I didn’t even care. I mean, I cared for all of us but I was just so happy to be going to this job everyday with these people that I was just like ‘you know what, whatever. If the audience doesn’t get it then that’s on them because we’re making a kick ass show’.
What was it about the show that made you want to be involved?
Before I read the script I knew that it was Michel Gondry and Jim Carrey so I just wanted to do it [laughs]. I was also a huge fan of Dave Holstein‘s writing plus the other two people, I was like ‘are you joking!?’ I basically didn’t even have to read the script and I would’ve done it forever.
So I got a copy of the pilot script and I auditioned for the role and I thought I messed up and I thought I didn’t get it ‘coz I didn’t feel like it went really well, and then I found out that I did and I couldn’t believe it, I was so happy.
I didn’t meet Jim until we started work but I met Michel and Dave at my audition and they were both so amazing and it kind of made me nervous ‘coz I thought those two were so smart. I was just so impressed by them.
Tell me about your character, Jill…
She is very layered. She’s a strong woman but she’s really fighting right now to keep her head above water after the death of her son and the ending of her marriage, we’re watching it dissolve, and trying to figure out who she is without Jeff Pickles next to her. I mean, she’s always been Mrs. Pickles so to really start to figure out who Jill Piccirillo is, I think is a big challenge for her and she’s not really sorted it out yet. And then imagine on top of it all the crushing guilt and heartbreak of losing a child. She’s so complicated and her life and what she’s going through right now is so complicated.
Do you find aspects of Jill that you relate to?
That’s a good question. I do but we find Jeff and Jill about eight months to a year after the death of their child and they’re breaking up and I do understand why she wants to be alone and I do understand why she doesn’t feel like she can be with him anymore.
I find that it breaks my heart a little bit so it’s hard for me to totally relate or agree with her decision to leave her husband but I understand it. I don’t know if it’s the decision I would’ve made but who ever really knows what you would do in a situation until you’re in it, you know?
What an amazing ensemble cast, how did you react when you found out who you’d be working with?
I was blown away, I couldn’t believe it. Catherine Keener and Frank Langella and when they got Justin Kirk on board, I mean, just every single person I felt was adding more and more sprinkles to our cupcake. Working with Frank Langella and Catherine Keener was such a treat.
He is just such a presence, every time he opens his mouth, gold comes out. I didn’t have a ton of scenes in this first season with Frank but I did feel like when I was acting with him it was hard to stay in character because I was watching his performance and it was so damn good and the sound of his voice is just delicious.
I’m loving the adjectives you’re using, they’re amazing.
So what was it like having Jim Carrey as a co-worker. Or should I say co-star?
No I say co-worker, yeah. In the beginning I was very nervous everyday, I wanted to be really perfect for him and I wanted to impress him and make sure that I was giving him back what he needed in the scene. So it was a little hard for me to relax and enjoy what I was doing for the first couple of days because I wanted so badly to impress him and he didn’t request or require any of that, that’s just me putting it all on myself.
But he’s so kind and professional and when you’re acting with him he’s completely vulnerable and it just felt like a really safe environment to work in and he loves acting and creating this world and this person so it was just really inspiring to be a part of it with him.
He’s very smart, he’s very professional and he’s outspoken and when he doesn’t agree with something he talks about it and we try to work through it. And he’s really respectful of me and my acting and my process, it was just a really incredible experience. I never wanted it to end, I wish we could’ve shot 50 episodes in a row. I don’t think everyone feels that way because it was a long process and we were pretty tired by the end of it but it was an incredible experience and I would’ve signed on to do 50 in a row, for sure.
Did you find that it was an emotionally draining series to work on because of all the harrowing scenes?
I don’t want to say that it was therapy for me but by the end of a work day I felt emotionally exhausted in a way ‘coz I was getting out all these feelings and I had this kind of cathartic experience everyday and while it was somewhat draining and exhausting, it also made room for new feelings and new emotions because I wasn’t pushing things away even though I think Jill does that to an extent, I didn’t have to and it was really, really nice.
What would you say is the message behind the series?
After shooting 10 episodes of the show, it reminds me how we’re all kind of alike and how we all have something in common and that the world’s in the midst of all this pain and sorrow and it’s still very beautiful.
Kidding is now streaming on Stan with Episode 3 dropping this Sunday Sept 23 and new episodes weekly, same day as the U.S.