UnREAL’s Constance Zimmer on Quinn’s New Romance and Filming Sex Scenes

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On tonight’s UnREAL, Quinn and John Booth kissed for the first time. The setting may have been a little unusual — the cemetery where Quinn’s father had just been buried — but the credit (or blame) goes to star Shiri Appleby, who directed the episode and came up with the idea for the spontaneous, romantic moment.

Filmed at Fraser Cemetery on the outskirts of Vancouver, the scene called for Quinn (Constance Zimmer) and tech billionaire John Booth (Ioan Gruffudd of Fantastic Four) to walk and talk hand-in-hand through the cemetery until they reached a beautiful, large tree. There, as directed by Appleby, they shared their first kiss.

But Appleby wasn’t happy with a simple, sweet smooch. “She’s like, Can you just attack him?” Zimmer explains later in her trailer. “Then she’s like, I think you should just grab him! And I was like, really? It was such a weird juxtaposition because last season all of Quinn’s sex scenes were painful.  They’re all horrible situations. They were dirty and especially when she didn’t like Chet anymore and was just using him. So, okay, I guess I earned today."

What she earned was about two hours of walking and smooching with Gruffudd, thanks to passing trains that interfered with the audio. Zimmer spoke to Vulture about Quinn’s new love interest and the awkwardness of filming sex scenes.

So, was he a good kisser?
Oh, yeah.
He's so dreamy. Honestly, you have to stop yourself from being like, "You're really cute. Sorry." This is my character Quinn. I can't believe this is our job. This is such a silly thing.

It sounds tough — stand by a beautiful tree and kiss a gorgeous man.
Get to this tree and then admit something and then get kissed. You're like, Oh, okay. All right. Okay. Fantastic.

And you got to practice a lot.
Yeah, it was like the train got in the way of hearing the kiss. Maybe we should do that again. [Laughs.]

Had you met Ioan before this show?
I know him socially. We have a few mutual friends. So I had actually met him twice through two different mutual friends, which is great. Because I think that creates almost like a chemistry that is super-hard to just develop so fast. Which is, again, something that was an added bonus with [Craig Bierko], because I had worked with Craig on Boston Legal. And so we knew each other coming in and we had spent a lot of time together. Those are the things you dream about because those are just added emotions and layers that you couldn't have.

During one of the breaks, you told him that you felt strange being this different Quinn. How so?
I know how to do Quinn as the evil person. I mean, she's not evil. But as the unfiltered person that she is. This is a new thing that she gets to do. For it to be believable, he’s got to be the kind of man that would sweep her off her feet, right? She doesn’t have time for anything else. Their relationship has to build very fast. Adults don't mess around. It's because, let's be honest, the career parts of their lives are in order. The relationship parts of their lives are not. So if you find someone and you're like, this is amazing, you're not going to beat around the bush. You're going to throw someone up against a tree.

Why didn’t you?
Shiri was like, I want you to somehow end up with your back against this tree. I was like, Okay. There was one take where he was coming in for the kill and I was like, Oh, God, what do I do with this?

Is it embarrassing?
No. Something else just takes over. You can't be aware of it 'cause if you're aware of it, it turns into something else. In these situations you're in it as the characters. You have to be. It's so bizarre what we do. Please. The kissing scenes, though, are so much easier than the sex ones. For me, it’s more like, just try and get it in the first take so that you don't have to do it again and again and again. Another bonus of being on Lifetime is we don't have to go to those places where HBO or Showtime goes. That would take this show into a place that I don't really know we need to go. It's not about that.

But Quinn’s sex scenes have been pretty wild.
In that first season, yes. Luckily, so far, I haven't had to do that again. We leave that now to Rachel. She's younger and hotter and she looks much better with her clothes off. I don't need to do that. I feel like Quinn's gotta have some limitations.

This interview has been edited and condensed.