NEW YORK, April 15 (UPI) — Nurse Jackie and The Walking Dead alum Merritt Wever says there’s a lot of truth to how modern relationships can evolve in his episode of the Apple TV+ anthology series, Roar, even if its premise of a lonely medical student falling in love with a duck might seem absurd.
The actress admitted it was initially difficult to understand the project from GLOW writer-producers Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch.
“I had no idea what the experience of filming would be like,” Wever told UPI in a recent Zoom interview.
“When I got the script, I got a note that said it was about a woman who is in an abusive relationship with a duck. So before I even opened a page, I knew that I was invited to play in a certain sandbox.”
The mini-movie, “The Woman Who Was Fed by a Duck,” required Wever to share his scenes with a live bird, voiced off-screen by Weeds’ Justin Kirk and Perry Mason.
Although Larry the Duck is the perfect partner at first – making Wever Elisa’s character laugh and supporting her dreams – he becomes messy, brooding and judgmental once he moves into her apartment.
“I really don’t think this was an episode that Liz and Carly wanted to do because it was bonkers,” Wever said.
“I think there’s a point. I think it’s maybe a little more amorphous than some of the other episodes, so I decided to accept the invitation and wade into this country and hopefully that it will prove to be an interesting way to tell the story.”
Wever told a press conference with the cast that she was happy this was her first job after a nearly two-year hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I often felt a bit like Gumby when I played, ‘It’s my job. How do you do it?’ It was also very beautiful sometimes to be side by side with someone in the trenches with a common goal again. It was very meaningful.”
The adaptation of Roar – PS I love you and Samantha Who? Creator Cecelia Ahern’s short story book debuted on the streaming service on Friday.
Each episode features a female protagonist in a self-contained story that mixes different genres, such as comedy, drama, horror, sci-fi, western, and romance. The cast includes Fivel Stewart, Nicole Kidman, Cynthia Erivo, Issa Rae, Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin, Meera Syal and Kara Hayward.
“There’s a kind of journey and discovery and a version of growth for better or for worse,” Flahive told UPI in another Zoom chat about what connects each vignette.
“I love how different they are in that the kind of dissonance of the episode is also part of the story. The way these things collide is also fun.”
Flahive noted that she and Mensch were new to magical realism, horror, and anthology series when they took on the project, but she said many wonderful collaborators helped them make Roar the show. original, complex and relatable as they knew it could be.
“Everyone was so ready to take those big hits,” Flahive recalled.
“We wanted to do something new and after GLOWmany people were approaching us to do another GLOW or something GLOW adjacent. This shares DNA with GLOW tonally. Carly and I will always tell dramatic stories with a comedic voice and focus on female-led shows.”
Atypical and Ouma actress Stewart gets a Roar episode that is part of western comedy and comedy on the road. It follows Jane, a teenage girl from the 19th century Wild West, who sets off on horseback with her clumsy neighbor Millie (Hayward) to avenge the shooting death of Jane’s father.
“There’s so much going on in such a short time,” Stewart told UPI. “When I was reading the script, I thought it was going to go one way, and then the trip happens, and it completely takes a turn, which kept me on my toes.”
Although the episode is only 30 minutes long, it essentially shows Jane going from a child who loves to draw horses to a grieving young woman seeking justice for a deceased relative. Acting allows Stewart to express sadness, regret, anger and independence.
“She has this idea of what revenge looks like, and then when this girl comes along that she never really liked in the first place — because the differences, right? — they end up become best friends, and then revenge [they take] actually turns out to be something quite different. It was a heavy load, for sure,” Stewart said.
The stakes are high and the gravity of the situation evident in the episode, but laughs abound as the women bond while plotting how to take down a villain with the least amount of risk to themselves.
“Jane is stoic and serious,” Stewart said. “Millie is just a light of humor, wit and life. Kara Hayward did an amazing job bringing the comedic timing to the episode.”
The story also subverts the trope that women act recklessly and emotionally in the wake of conflict or tragedy, relinquishing control to men, Stewart noted.
“‘The Girl Who Loves Horses’ really changes that or maybe even combines it to where Jane is mad and she’s angry, but she’s going to internalize it and let life happen – and then she’s going to dutifully watch and see how she feels,” the actress said.