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Shiri Appleby on Playing Adam’s New Love Interest on Girls

Shiri Appleby. Photo: Getty Images

Ever since Hannah dumped Adam, he has spent most of Girls season two in various states of post-breakup mopiness. Last night, he finally got out of his funk and went on a blind date with Natalia, played by Shiri Appleby (Roswell, Life Unexpected). Natalia comes to Adam by way of her mother (Carol Kane), who meets Adam at an AA meeting and sets them up. We don’t know much about his new love interest yet, except that she works as a femme fatale decoy for a private eye and still owns a landline. What we do know is that Adam hasn’t looked this happy since, well, ever. So is this a rebound relationship, or is it the real deal? Will Hannah melt down in multiples of eight when she finally meets Natalia? We spoke to Appleby, who will be sticking around for at least the final two episodes, about Adam Sackler’s datability and Adam Driver’s sweet side. (She and Driver bonded briefly over the fact that they’re both newly engaged. That’s right, fan girls: Driver is off the market.)

I read that you shadowed a director on Girls. Is that what led to your getting the role?
Yeah, I came out to New York to shadow Jesse Peretz, who actually directed [last night’s] episode. And I’m friendly with Jenni Konner — she set it up for me. Then when I was out there shadowing, they asked me if I would do the show.

So you first went in because you were interested in directing?
Yeah. I was wanting to direct, so you have to start shadowing on shows to show the studios and networks — it’s kind of like doing an internship, basically. And I was curious about the difference of how [Girls] — something that’s winning Emmys and Golden Globes — put their show together, versus other things on television.

How did you get the role? Were you just in the right place at the right time?
Yeah, Lena was like, “Oh, do you wanna come in and play someone on the show?” I was like, “Yeah, of course.” What actor wouldn’t wanna be on the show? And then, a few days later, Jenni e-mailed me and asked me, and I did a table read with the entire cast. Afterward, I walked out of the table read and into the bathroom and Lena followed me and said, “All right, let’s do this!”

What was your first impression of Adam?
I met him on set one day when I was shadowing, and I was kind of like a fan going, “Oh my God, there he is!” We didn’t really talk too much. The first time we talked was at the table read, because when you’re shadowing you just wanna be invisible. You’re not really interacting or disrespecting anybody’s process.

Little did you know he would be your future onscreen boyfriend. Is he anything at all like his character? He doesn’t do a ton of press, so I’m curious.
I think he’s just fantastic. We got along really, really well. He’s just a really nice guy. He’s focused on the job and he didn’t seem weird or creepy to me. [Laughs.] He was just a gentleman. Like the first day we were working together, he knocked on my trailer door and he came in and was like, “I hear you’re engaged.” I was like, “Yeah, I am.” He’s like, “So am I.” It was just kind of very easy and he made me feel really safe. I never felt grossed out or anything.

When I heard his character was getting a new girlfriend, I felt a little protective of the girl in advance. But Natalia warms up to him right off the bat. What does she see in him on that first date?
They just kind of connect and they have this ability to be very relaxed with each other. I think when you’re on a date with anyone, especially on a blind date, if you can just get along and have something to talk to the other person about, that’s attractive. So I think just the fact that they enjoy each other’s company when they first meet endears them to each other. And then as it goes on, it changes for different reasons.

Natalia’s mom is loopy. I’m wondering if the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
I mean, there’s not a lot of Carol Kane in my character.

So she’s more grounded than her mother?
Yes, I would think so.

But it’s basically her job to use her looks to deceive men. Is that something we should be concerned about for Adam?
I think she is grounded. She’s definitely a person who says what she feels right away. She lives in the moment. When things don’t feel right, she’s able to speak up.

Hannah is not in a great state in this episode, and it’s triggered by Adam. Is there a meeting coming up between Hannah and Natalia?
[Lena and I] never worked together. We never worked together during the season.

It seems from the preview that you get at least one sex scene, though.
There is some sex.

Is it as awkward as it was between Adam and Hannah? Is Adam similar, or is he a different lover?
I don’t think he’s able to completely be a different person with Natalia. He is who he is. I don’t wanna give anything away, but yeah, it’s not as crazy as some of the things we’ve seen him do before.

Does he meet his match in your character?
Um, I don’t wanna give anything away. I don’t wanna get in trouble! I’d like to come back.

When you watch the show, are you glad to be out of your twenties? [She’s 34.]
I loved my twenties, but like in the episode where she’s with Patrick Wilson for the weekend, you remember guys that you met and hung out with for short periods of time that were like these little movies themselves. It really captured that fleeting relationship where you’d meet a guy on Friday and spend a weekend with him and on Monday morning you’d be like, “Who was that person?” And you’d never see them again. You say things to that person that you’d never say to anyone else. But I’m happy that I’m done with my twenties. It was tiring! It’s kind of nice not to be so worried and confused and out on my own.

I heard you might be writing a book about dating. Is that true?
I have, but I don’t know if anything is gonna come of it. It was a fun experience. It was really about finding my voice as a writer and putting it all down.

Having thought about dating a lot, what would you say about Adam? Is he the kind of guy that girls should give a chance? Or is he a red flag?
He’s in AA and talking about his issues. I mean, you have to give somebody a chance to get to know them and see who they present themselves as. He’s definitely datable. You never know who someone’s gonna become with the right woman in their life.

Shiri Appleby on Playing Adam’s Date on Girls