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‘UnREAL’ stars Shiri Appleby & Constance Zimmer on success & Hollywood

Larry King NowAug 08 '16

Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer, stars of Lifetime’s hit TV drama ‘UnREAL,’ dish on finding success in Hollywood. Both industry stalwarts, the two sound off on the show’s critical acclaim, tackling hot-button issues, and transcending gender norms in entertainment.


Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer, stars of Lifetime’s hit TV drama ‘UnREAL,’ dish on finding success in Hollywood. Both industry stalwarts, the two sound off on the show’s critical acclaim, tackling hot-button issues, and transcending gender norms in entertainment.

Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer discuss their trajectory towards success, Shiri as a child actor and Constance’s long career of playing ambitious, uncensored women, finally earning her an Emmy nomination this year. They each reveal how the ended up in their roles on ‘UnREAL,’ and discuss how there is nothing else like it on TV today.

Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer talk about how ‘UnREAL’ manages to cover issues that have real world relevance. They also discuss how their characters are pushing the envelope on how female roles are written, Zimmer calling them, “flawed and dangerous, but yet they're so full of heart.”

Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer also talk about gender bias outside of characters and explain their personal experiences within the entertainment industry. Appleby reveals her struggle to find companies who will trust her to direct, even as a TV veteran, and Zimmer explains that she’s confident that women are now realizing that they need to support each other in such an unforgiving and competitive industry.


*Posted Online on Ora.TV on Aug 8th 2016:

"The center of the story is this character, Rachel Goldberg, who's very conflicted. She fancies herself a feminist and yet her job is to destroy women. So she's constantly in conflict with herself." — Shiri Appleby on her ‘UnReal’ character Rachel Goldberg.

"Anti-Heroines. Women who are doing things that are not as we expect women to be behaving and I think that's what people have really been responding to." — Shiri Appleby on the women on ‘UnReal.’

"I love directing. I grew up being a child actor and the person on set that I always admired and looked up to was the director. So finally, to be in that position of saying this is how I read the script, this is how I imagine it, and being able to bring that vision to life is incredibly empowering and very creatively fulfilling." — Shiri Appleby on her experience directing ‘UnReal.’

"I mean, I didn't even realize that we could win a Peabody, quite honestly, all of this has been a surprise. I think going in, making a television show, you just hope to get picked up, and so the fact that anybody is responding to it and that there's any sort of acclaim for it." — Shiri Appleby on winning a Peabody and the critical acclaim of ‘UnReal.’

"My mother is an Israeli woman, she's fiercely... she's an incredible mother. And you know, she'd take me to the auditions and come to set, but like once I got to set she really sort of sat back, but she definitely taught me how to act. She would sit outside with me, run the lines with me, she took me to acting classes, but you know, a lot of times it's a very hard business, as you know, and so there are many years when you're not working and she'd always say you know if you don't like it, give it up."— Shiri Appleby on her mother and being a child actor.

"I grew up doing it. I didn't know anything else, like I've never known a life where I'm not auditioning and not being on set. So to give this up, it's sort of like, then what would I do with my life? This is who I am." — Shiri Appleby on why she still acts.

"I was there shadowing as a director, starting to get my directing career going, and Lena Dunham kindly asked me, like day two, if I wanted to be on the show and that scene was presented to me and I'd never done nudity before and you know, I spent a lot of time thinking about it, but I felt like if there was ever a show to do it on, with a group of people to be creative like that, Lena and her show were the people I wanted to do it with." — Shiri Appleby on her controversial scene in ‘Girls.’

"I felt like I was finally being seen as more than a child actor and it was incredible writing, fantastic direction, and it was a real opportunity to show that I have more than what people thought." — Shiri Appleby on her role on ‘Girls.’

"I feel like I've always had to work incredibly hard to get anything in this business. So I don't know if that is gender or not, or if that is just the way of succeeding in Hollywood, but it feels like it takes me a tremendous amount of effort to push this boulder up the hill." — Shiri Appleby on gender bias in Hollywood.

"I've already directed an episode of television, I've starred in close to 200 episodes of TV, and I'm now going to other studios asking for directing jobs and I'm told that I still need to shadow. Something I've already done a handful of times. I don't know if that's being a woman, or if that's just how challenging this business is." — Shiri Appleby on her struggle to become a director.

"It was for Lifetime, who, also at the time I did kind of what everybody else does and I judged it by what it had already shown on its network, and it wasn't really where I thought I fit in. I thought I was a little bit edgier and dirtier than what they normally do... I didn't even read the script." — Constance Zimmer on why she originally turned down her role on ‘UnReal.’

"She is complicated, and ethically questionable... I do like her, I have to like her, because otherwise she would be very one note and I think what's been the most fun about portraying her is that she's like six dimensional. And I've never been given that opportunity before, I've never seen kind of, the women on our show, I've never seen women written this way. They are flawed and dangerous, but yet they're so full of heart. And it's been so fun to be able to get to show all of that."— Constance Zimmer on her character Quinn King on ‘UnReal.’

"I've been playing Quinn-type roles my entire career. It was like the second I was Dana Gordon on 'Entourage,' I kind of have always been these very strong, unfiltered women who get away with doing things that men are traditionally known for."— Constance Zimmer on getting type cast.

"She does, except she hasn't seen very much, because all the parts I play are very very naughty. You know, I curse a lot and there's sex scenes and stuff like that." — Constance Zimmer on what her daughter gets to see her in.

"I don't think they do, but I think that they're changing to. Because I don't think that women are made aware of how harmful they can be if they're not supporting each other, and that is what I think people have seen in our show, very much so, that it's these two very very strong women, who are incredibly good at their job and when they are at odds, their whole world is at odds." — Constance Zimmer on if women in Hollywood support each other.

"It is changing, and I think you can tell already in television alone, just the amount of roles that are available for women. You know, on our show in particular, it's not women always talking about men, how they affect their lives. It's women having completely separate lives outside of just men and women. It's women and women discussing careers and power struggles and all that stuff." — Constance Zimmer on gender bias in Hollywood.