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Interview With Allison Williams

Marnie

HBO

Marnie ultimately accepts the assistant position with Soo Jin at her new gallery. Where was Marnie's head during that?

Allison Williams

Soo Jin was someone that Marnie thought was just part of the whole Booth chapter of her life, and when she bumped into her again, she's just this living reminder of everything Marnie resents but wishes deep down she had. But Marnie's tough. When she hears that Soo Jin is opening this gallery, it takes a lot for her to swallow her pride and ask to come work there. Of course she didn't know she'd be working for Soo Jin, but she takes the job on the assumption that she'll rise quickly through the ranks and soon be running the gallery, that everyone will know she's the real brains of the outfit. Then, right as the wind is starting to inflate her sails, Jessa swoops in and steals this job with Beedie that Marnie didn't even know was available. It's a very bittersweet moment.

All of that is tempered by the fact that Marnie has this new source of excitement in Desi, whom she's fallen completely, and recklessly, in love with, despite his being unavailable. Even though she knows about Clementine, she just can't help herself. Of course that's a two way street. He looks at her while singing something like, "I want you in my bed now," and Marnie's just feels that if he wasn't into her, it would be a crazy thing to say to her in that moment. The whole season for me has been a joy to work on, but episode 311 -- I'm really, really proud of. It builds off of the new momentum that Marnie has. From scraping rock bottom to coming back up for air.

HBO

It's nice to see her coming into her own again -- in some way. It's been a little hard to watch her flail.

Allison Williams

I know. But some people apparently find her flailing very satisfying!

HBO

I think a lot of people have a soft spot for Marnie, like they see a little of her in themselves -- for better or for worse.

Allison Williams

I really feel for her. I pull for her. The longer I play her the more I understand her. Marnie is the type of character romantic comedies are written around -- she's that kind of girl that cares about her looks and has the job and the boyfriend and the apartment. What could go wrong? And generally, there's a big misunderstanding at the beginning of the third act, but by the end of the movie it's all fine. Marnie's a study in what would really happen to that girl despite her trying so hard to give herself that happy ending. Sometimes you just have let go and let the world, if it thinks you deserve it, give you that happy ending instead.

HBO

Desi seems like he's not a hundred percent honest about his intentions with Marnie.

Allison Williams

Oh, he is trouble! You know it from the minute you meet him. I guess it's a maturity thing to look out for someone with his kind of demeanor because it's very appealing and very charming. It's something she's never experienced in her life, so maybe she doesn't know to avoid him. Desi, as opposed to Booth Jonathan, is very complimentary of Marnie. He tells her he thinks she's talented, a good singer. So for her, in this very low point in her life -- after Ray's just listed all the things that are wrong with her -- that's the most appealing thing in the world to hear. Desi should definitely be sending up red flags. Or maybe Marnie sees them but doesn't care.

HBO

Is there a reason Marnie keeps going for men that "belong" to someone else?

Allison Williams

Marnie is a very real character; she makes the same mistakes more than once. We think that people learn from their mistakes, but so often you get to the same moment and make the same bad decision. It takes a little bit longer to learn. Marnie's a person who believes that she should be able to do anything, so she's able to turn off the "he belongs to someone else" thing and figure out a way to justify it.

HBO

Why does Marnie go back to Ray despite the fact that he dumped her?

Allison Williams

Well, she just spent a couple hours flirting with Desi and that was just tortuous foreplay. Her ego couldn't handle the idea that Desi would like his girlfriend more than her. Going back to Ray is like slipping into a really comfortable pair of sweatpants. Even though he dumped her, she's one hundred percent confident that she'll be able to have sex with him -- it's very hard to deny a naked person in your apartment. She's so desperate to feel someone's love, so if it can't be Desi, she's going to go get it somewhere else, even if while she's having sex with Ray she's pretending it's Desi.

For Marnie, Ray's so mean to everyone about everything that he's probably the number one person that Marnie would want approval from. She's like "I gotta make sure this guy likes me because if he likes me, then everyone must like me."

HBO

What was it like to film the open mic scene?

Allison Williams

It was so fun! We recorded that song on a weekend with [Lena Dunham's boyfriend and Fun. singer] Jack Antonoff, who wrote it, and we recorded it in Lena's apartment in Brooklyn. I love that song; it's been stuck in my head since we filmed it. I was really focused on the dynamic between Marnie and Desi. I haven't been able to act out full-on lust and love and desperation with Marnie, so it felt good to just let go, to have her completely melt at his feet and want him to be hers so badly.

HBO

Shoshanna seems convinced that Marnie is destined to be a pop star.  Do you think that could happen?

Allison Williams

Oh my God. I don't know. I hear whispers from Lena and [executive producers] Jenni [Konner] and Judd [Apatow], but of course I can't talk about them. But at the end of the second season, she tells Charlie that she plans to give the whole singing thing a go. She goes back and forth between feeling good about it when her self-esteem is in a healthy place and completely defeated when it's not.

31: I Saw You

Season 3