"Love how unapologetically sure Diana is of her intelligence," Younger's Miriam Shor on season 5 and #MeToo movement
'Younger' is back on TV Land and so is the eccentric and engaging cast of the workplace comedy, which is taking a rather serious turn this time around.
The show, currently in its fifth season, began by addressing a timely and very relevant issue - the wave of anti-sexual harassment movement or better known as #MeToo that has taken over Hollywood.
Even as early as the premiere episode, spotlight was on the inappropriate behavior of Edward L.L. Moore, the star author of Empirical Publishing House, sending a subtle message of no toleration against sexual offenders of the reel and real life alike.
And all this while, as the conversation steered towards more pressing affairs, the brilliantly-crafted comic elements in the series continued to deliver a chuckle or two to the viewers. Especially Miriam Shor-played Diana Trout, an uptight-yet-compassionate boss, who just knows when the lines between professional and personal can be compromised.
This is especially true in the light of her changing relationship with Sutton Foster's Liza - over time their character have not only shown moments of genuine solicitude but also proven there are multiple layers to a female friendship.
But 'Younger' is not the only show where Shor's acting flair has garnered attention. The actress, despite a short stint, made heads turn as Erica Haskard on FX's cold war drama 'The Americans', starring alongside Keri Russell's Elizabeth Jennings. With one series wrapped up and another renewed, it's safe to say Shor has a packed season to look forward to.
In a chat with Meaww, the actress recently dished some candid details, from her directorial debut on 'Younger' to a blast from the past for her charismatic publishing executive, Diana.
Since the very beginning of this season, Younger has taken a turn towards a #MeToo driven plot, especially with harassment at the workplace. Was this a conscious decision?
Miriam Shor: Yeah, absolutely. Given the difference between the world between season 4 and season 5, we all started looking at that character, particularly of Edward L.L. Moore in a different way. Of course, we were talking about [the anti-sexual harassment movement] in the writer's room and they just couldn't see how you could write a show that was about workplace, a workplace comedy, without dealing with the Me Too issue and it was very organic in the way they did. I was very proud of it.
If you have a workplace where women work, there is no way you can't have that conversation. I was really happy that the writers addressed it.
As an actor, what is your take on season 5? Is it going to delve deeper into issues of sexual harassment and abuse or just skirt by it while continuing with the main narrative?
MS: What they did with the first episode in season 5 kind of throw a grenade into the middle of everything... between making Edward L.L. Moore, who accused Liza, and making him the reason that they are this publishing house, which is successful because of his books. Anything that puts him in jeopardy, and their relationship in jeopardy, puts the whole company in jeopardy, which ultimately puts Liza in jeopardy and all our jobs in jeopardy. It really did kind of blow us apart in a great way.
Now you are thinking, Charles knows about Liza and all of our jobs are in trouble - something that is going to have reverberations throughout the whole season.
What is Diana up to this season? Will there be a new love interest after she dumped Richard last season?
MS: There will be a new romantic interest this season, a blast from the past comes back. I love the vulnerability Diana finds herself in, in her personal life. It was a very empowering scene to play (last season when Diana ends it with Richard). I was really glad about that storyline, I felt personally involved in making sure that we tell a story of a woman of a certain age. But she doesn't need to be with someone just to be with someone. It's about empowerment and what's right for your life.
On the professional front, Diana has emerged as this supportive boss, breaking all stereotypes. Will we see the nuances of this relationship?
MS: I think you will. I love those moments when Liza and Diana get to really connect with each other, and there is a connection between them. One of the reasons for Diana's behavior, has to do with her narcissism and the fact that she is so focused on herself... but she does have a soft spot for Liza and you will see that come through in season 5.
Your character exhibits fine shades of feminism mixed with comedy, did you realize it would become such a hit with the viewers?
MS: Well, I certainly responded to her and I really had fun getting to play her. And I fight for [Diana] her... with certain storylines. It matters to me how she reacts to things because I think people relate to her. And I want to say certain things about women in the workplace, especially women who feel like their age is detrimental to their ability to stay in a job, which is absolutely true in the world, certainly in Hollywood.
I love how powerful Diana is and how unapologetically sure she is of her own intelligence.
You are also taking on additional responsibilities on 'Younger' as a director, how was the experience?
MS: It was episode 5, so it's coming up. It was an absolute joy, it was one of the best creative experiences of my life. I can't believe how lucky I was, to get to direct with this crew, and this cast, the writers, and the producers... it feels like a gift.
Every day that I was directing, it could be four in the morning, I could be exhausted, but I had to get this shot and I thought that I get to do this again.
On one hand, there's 'Younger', a fun comedy, and on the other hand, you took on the role of Erica on 'The Americans'? Was it difficult switching between the two shows?
MS: There was something so wonderful about getting to switch back and forth because all of the things that you love about one character can overwhelm you. You get to move on to another character and part of what I love about acting is getting to visit different roles.
The writing on both of these shows was fantastic. To get to play that character on 'The Americans' was so immensely incredible. To work with Keri [Russell], to explore those difficult scenes was really a fantastic opportunity and I am so glad that I got to do it.
And then to go from that to Diana [on Younger] was a joy... because I am alive again.
Was it emotional bidding farewell to Erica Haskard with the cold war drama recently wrapping up the show after 6 seasons?
MS: It was very emotional. You could tell how much these people on the set loved each other. It was their life for six seasons and I felt privileged to be a little part of that. Keri Russell is one of the most joyful people I have ever been around, she is hysterically funny and you could just tell that this was going to be a bit tough for them to let go.
I just felt so lucky to have been around for one of the seasons.
What's next on Miriam Shor's list?
MS: I just finished filming and I have two little girls who are just about to finish their school year. So for me, I am looking forward to spending time with my family, and hanging out, and having that everyday summer life. I love traveling around, and being with my girls... my husband and we all go and experience new things.
And we have been picked up for the sixth season for Younger!