Zosia Mamet: Playing innocent on HBO’s ‘Girls’
24-year-old Zosia Mamet has played multiple recurring characters on TV in recent years, including on “United States of Tara,” “Parenthood,” and “Mad Men,” but HBO’s “Girls” marks her first regular series role. She plays Shoshanna Shapiro, a tragically unhip young woman with a circle of bohemian Brooklyn friends.
The series is the brainchild of Lena Dunham, who writes, directs, and produces the show in addition to starring as aspiring writer Hannah. Of working with Dunham, Mamet says, “She plays all of her different parts in such an exceptional way, especially when she’s directing an episode it’s just sort of flawless the transition she makes when you’re acting in a scene with her and you know that she’s written it, and she has her producer brain on, and she’s directing at the same time, but it never really feels like you’re dealing with a different human.”
“Girls” is at least superficially similar to “Sex and the City” in that both are HBO comedies about the lives of New York women, but Mamet sees them as markedly different. “[The ‘Sex and the City’ women] were very different innately. It’s hard to say because we met them at such a different part of their lives, and we’re meeting these people in such an influential part of their lives,” she explains of the differences between the two shows. “I think [the ‘Girls’ characters] will become kind of different people. I think it’s just a different beast.”
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The young actress is no stranger to the entertainment business. She is the daughter of playwright David Mamet and actress Lindsay Crouse and says that she has always been interested in following them into show business: “I grew up around it always, and it was always the most magical thing in the world to me.” She also expresses a desire to follow in her father’s footsteps as a writer. “I don’t think I would ever be able to direct, but writing is definitely something I would love to do someday … definitely not screenwriting, but play-writing.”
David Mamet is famous for his expletive-strewn dialogue. Considering whether her own scripts will follow the same tack, she says, “I’m pretty foul-mouthed myself, so there’s that. It’s nice being on a cable show because I don’t have to hold that back.”