Maura Tierney Q&A: ‘The Affair’
“The show is interesting to me because it’s always about people’s darker impulses,” says Maura Tierney as we chat via webcam (watch above) about the surprising turn of events on her Showtime drama series “The Affair.” For her performance as Helen Solloway, Tierney won Best TV Supporting Actress at the Golden Globes in January.
It was the show’s only Globe recognition this year despite having won both Best Drama Series and Best TV Drama Actress (Ruth Wilson) in 2014. “I was extremely nervous, and really surprised because it seemed like a super long shot,” admits the actress about her first-ever nomination. “It was really nice because I’ve been working in television for a long time, so it felt like a really nice surprise. I was happy for myself and I was happy that it gave the show some further recognition.”
“The Affair” boasts a distinctive storytelling format, showing events from multiple, often contradicting points of view. In the first season the focus was Helen’s ex-husband Noah (Dominic West) and his new wife Alison (Wilson), but season two expanded the story to include the perspectives of their exes Helen and Cole (Joshua Jackson).
At the end of season two, which aired last fall, we discover that Helen was driving the car that killed Scotty Lockhart (Colin Donnell), resolving a murder mystery that had been brewing since the pilot. But there turned out to be more blame to go around: Noah helped cover up the hit-and-run accident, and Alison was the one who pushed Scotty into harm’s way while fending off his assault.
“Nobody’s in the clear in season three,” Tierney explains. She doesn’t know many details just yet. “Every season it’s about the consequences of the choices made in the previous season, so it’s going to be tricky for everyone in season three.”
For Tierney, one of the big discoveries of Helen’s viewpoint was “she comes to terms with how not perfect she is. In Noah’s point of view she was kind of this perfect martyr, but then you find out she’s a lot more culpable in what made her marriage vulnerable, and watching her learn that was fun to play.”