“What appealed to me about the character was basically that I got to play two characters,” says Maura Tierney about her role in Showtime’s drama “The Affair.” (Watch our complete interview below.) She plays Helen Solloway, whose husband Noah (Dominic West) begins an extramarital relationship with Alison (Ruth Wilson), a grieving waitress in Montauk. The story alternates between Noah and Alison’s points of view, showing us how differently they see each other, their relationship, and their respective spouses.
“For all we know, none of it happened like that. Everybody’s memory is so subjective,” says Tierney of how difficult it is to suss out the truth of any story. “I know that I’ve been, for example, at an event or at a party with someone, and we are experiencing the exact same event … [but] we both walked away literally with completely different ideas. That’s not even memory. That’s experiencing a moment of two people in the same physical place experiencing it completely differently.”
That subjectivity manifests in ways both large and small in the series. For instance, Alison perceives Helen as “intimidating on every level,” while Noah’s version is “very idealized. She’s sort of perfect … He views her as this very warm, likable person, and that could be his guilty conscience. Maybe she’s not that.”
What we don’t know yet is how Helen sees herself, but “we will see it, actually, next season. We’ll see both Helen and Cole’s perspective,” Tierney reveals. “I actually just got the scripts, so I don’t know what it is yet, but I’ll find out as soon as I hang up with you guys.”
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