– I have some questions for you.
– Okay, better, otherwise, it would be an eye-catching competition to see who can make the most [laughs].
“Ah, then you would win.” I am terrible.
If talking to Naomi Watts for a few minutes in a London hotel room consisted of not talking, just holding on to that turquoise look that captured half the world with her films, it would be hard to beat her.
That look is just one of the weapons his character Jean Holloway uses in the Gypsy ( Netflix ) series to seduce the ex-girlfriend of one of his patients.
Watts plays a therapist who avoids the rules and infiltrates the lives of clients’ friends and family too, among other things, live a different life herself than she lives with her husband and daughter in a boring county outside New York.
Question: Your character interferes too much into patients’ lives until they cross forbidden lines. Have you ever sunk into a role too much?
Answer. Well, that’s my job: dig and dig, surface the most authentic version of this character. My preparation time can be one of the best parts of what I do.
Put it all together and create someone. But I’m good too, leaving it all behind when I’m done. I need to do this now that I am a mother and have more important needs.
The instant I walk home after a day of work, I close the door and land in my world.
Q. In recent years, the series has been filled with deep and complex male leads. Is your character like that too?
A. Hope so. I feel that stories about women are missing on television and in the movies. But there is a specific opening.
We are witnessing a change, indeed on TV. What attracted me to this character is the fact that she bridges two worlds. It’s not just that perfect mother and wife – that’s how we often see women portrayed in a lovely, feminine way.
Nor is it just crazy and nasty, which is how women are often portrayed too. I like the idea that she inhabits both worlds. There are people out there who are both good and bad. There is a gray zone.
Q. It seems that Hollywood is beginning to understand its sexism and work on it.
A. Yes, which is encouraging. There are good reasons for telling women’s stories.
We are 50% of the population. But this is a good time. There is a change in the market, not only in our industry but also in others.
Q. An example is Lisa Rubin, screenwriter, and producer of the series. And it’s her first job in Hollywood…
A. Lisa is fantastic. The first time I saw her, I was surprised to see how young she is. I walked into the restaurant looking for her, not knowing how she looked like, and it seemed to me that she was five or ten years younger than she is.
She has amazing confidence. And I was so sure about where I wanted to go, and who this woman was, that I was completely attracted, even without having read every episode.
The first one had what I needed to understand everything.
Q. And Sam Taylor-Johnson [Director of Fifty Shades of Gray ] produces the entire series and directs the first chapters.
A. He is one of the reasons why I am here now. He already knew her, not well, but socially. He told me he had it and would like me to read it.
I wasn’t actively looking for a job in a series, but I was curious because I noticed the significant changes taking place in the television world.
The fact that Sam was tied to the project and passed me directly made me get closer to the show than if it was done through my agent.
A. Sleepwalker was a different experience. In Gypsy, I’m practically in every scene. That was the great and sudden shock in my system: the constant work over five months, with at least 14 hours a day and endless lines of dialogue.
It was very intense. Twin Peaks was something completely different. It can’t compare to anything, whether on TV or in the movies. It is a fantastic experience like no other.
Q. Which allowed him to return to work with David Lynch 16 years after Dream City. How was the reunion?
A. As fantastic as you can imagine. There is no one like him. You surrender to it. I had pages with my character to record, but we don’t know what happened before or what happens after.
We do not know the order of things. You can tell by the page number, but you don’t know anything else.
I couldn’t see anything yet because I’ve been traveling. I want to know when you’re focused.
Which episode are you in? It’s 18, no? Do you say you’re in eighth?
Q. And this chapter 8 is so weird…
A. Everything is strange!
Q. It seems that television is now the right place for stories about women told by women…
A. Yes. The movie industry is not going through its best moment, because almost nothing is done but event movies or superheroes, big comedies, that sort of thing.
No one spends money on it. So if the writers are out of work, they will switch to television. And we go where the texts are. The TV allows us to interpret these complex and very human women, developing the story over time. It is an excellent opportunity for us.
Q. And in Gypsy, what did you want to tell?
A. It is like an uplifting tale. What my character does is push the boundaries, which puts her in all sorts of trouble.
We all live with dark thoughts and fantasies, but do we act on it? If you do, you will be in trouble, like Jean.
But if you keep track of how she makes this trip sitting comfortably on the couch in your house, you won’t have to. I do for you …