Last week, HBO announced that not only had it picked up "Looking" for a second season, but that with it would come the promotion of everyone's favorite recurring character to full-on series regular: Lauren Weedman's Doris. The show's sole female role, sharp-tounged, big-hearted Doris has been a consistent treat throughout the first season of "Looking", and we couldn't be happier to have her coming back with an expanded role next time around.
She spoke us on the phone earlier this week about that very news, what it means for Doris, and what her relationship has been like with the many gay men that she works with on "Looking" (not to mention the ones she spends time with in her own life). And we gotta say, it was as delightful as watching her onscreen counterpart.
So are you and Doris similar people?
She is me, really. After my first divorce [laughs], I lived with my gay best boyfriend from high school in Los Angeles for about a year. And I've always, always been deeply a part of the gay community. From ninth grade on, it's been a major part of my life.
I don't want to oversell myself or anything, but you could sit me next to a gay man on a bus and by the end I would likely be 'call me!'
I can totally imagine that. I'd call you.
I know you would.
Well, Doris is sincerely my favorite "Looking" character.
Oh god, that's not a good sign for you.
I disagree! But let's go back to the beginning... What was the audition process like?
It was pilot season time, so I audition for stuff constantly. Lucky me! And then I had an audition for this show. But it was different from the other pilots, because they were like 'before you come in to audition, here's the script, and watch the movies that these guys made.' I was like 'jesus, it's enough work that I have to drive and put on makeup and everything!' For a second I thought, you know, everyone thinks their project is sooo important. I have all sorts of stupid auditions I have to go on. So I wasn't going to watch the movie [laughs], because I'm such a dedicated actor. But then I mentioned to a very good friend of mine -- who's gay -- that I had to watch the movie and I told him it was 'Weekend.' And he gasped and he clenched his heart and he was like 'oh my god, Lauren... that was the most amazing movie.' So I watched the movie. And I loved it.
It really is an amazing movie.
And another element to the casting that I'd never gone through before was that they wanted to have lunch with me. I started prepping for 'things I'll say at lunch!' Trying to come up with topics. I was having all this anxiety about what seemed like such a Hollywood thing. Wow, they have to have lunch with me now? And my manager goes, 'well, they probably just want to make sure you're not all 'anyway, fags burn in hell!' So I went, and it was just so sweet. Because they're just such sincere, earnest people. It felt like hanging out with people that I knew. They were just so familiar to me. People keep asking me about the show and I wish I could come up with a more creative way to describe how nice they are. All I can say is that I've never met anybody like them in the Hollywood world. They seem so completely not Hollywood. And that also seems like such an overused compliment for somebody who is awesome, you know? But they're just so sincere and sweet and themselves. I don't know, I need to come up with a better anecdote to just sum it up.
What about your fellow cast members?
I've been on shows where I've had to hide how I really feel about people. But I'm just such a fan of everybody on this show. I mean, Jonathan Groff... I think he's hilarious. You just want to hug him and fuck him.
I totally hear you.
At the same time.
Exactly. And then what about Murray Bartlett, who plays on your onscreen BFF and you probably have 95% of your scenes with.
Anytime I've done any TV show ever, there's always one total crackery -- not cracker as in white, cracker as in crazy person -- crackery person who just screws it up for everyone. But there's nobody like that in this cast. Murray is particularly sweet and easy to get along with. He's kind of a nurturing type. Which is funny because I play more of a nurturing type on the show, but off camera it's quite the opposite. Because my marriage was kind of -- not kind of, it was -- falling apart during the shooting of this and Murray was constantly off camera giving me all this advice. But then we go on camera and he's looking like the lost person when it comes to relationships, and I'm the wise one.
How did you guys go about mining your chemistry when things first got started?
We didn't do much work. I think I sent like one e-mail to him and was like 'I'm adopted, that's all you need to know.' And then I saw him at the table read, and we talked afterwards. But that was about it. And then we'd end up hanging so much on set that we got a chance to get to know each other. It was a very causal environment on set so we were very relaxed. That's all it took. We were already pretty crushed out on each other just within five minutes of meeting each other. I mean, he's not a hard person to like... And good god, could he be any fucking cuter? He's ridiculous. And in person, you're just like 'shut the fuck up with that body!'
What was your favorite scene of season one?
There's a few that come to mind. I really like the scene in the pilot. For some reason, I just really like that scene a lot. That, and the one in Dolores Park. Doris Park I call it. But that scene, just the shooting of that... sitting there in Dolores Park with the whole cast, drinking beer for Dom's birthday party. I had this moment of like 'oh my god, I can't take how fun it is to be around these guys.'
And now you'll officially be spending another season with them -- and you'll be a series regular!
When I auditioned they said it was for a series regular. And then my manager called me and was like 'I have good news and bad news.' And I'm like 'why can't there just be good news in this town!' But she said the good news was that I got the part, and the bad news was that it's been demoted to recurring. And I was bummed about that. But she said 'you know what, though, if you go in there and it turns out people really respond to Doris... I think they're just nervous about the female character and how it's going to go over.' She had no doubt that by the end of it Doris will be more entrenched in that world and make herself more apart of it. But I was like 'I can't control that. I'm supposed to be all like 'I'll make myself beloved'? It's so annoying to even think like that.
But it ended up happening anyway!
It's so great that it worked out the way it has. Now they've bumped me to series regular and they're definitely talking about doing more with Doris. I just hope it involves me having tons of sex scenes. Because that's what gay men want to see when they're all gathered around the TV.
Check out the season finale of "Looking" this Sunday on HBO (and here at /bent for a season recap Monday morning).