Nucky's been smitten with Billie since the start of the season. What's behind their attraction for each other?
It's interesting that even though Nucky is used to taking care of people, he chooses a girl who is quite independent on the outside. In a way, they're both playing a role. They have this contract: Don't ask, don't tell; but there's an understanding that there's still vulnerability underneath all those trappings. The attraction I think is they both have a common fear -- finding love but remaining independent.
Were you given any backstory about how Billie and Nucky met? Or did you work with any theories of your own?
When I talked to the writers, they just said, "Feel free to go with whatever you think." They said what was most important was the relationship, why they're drawn to each other. Nucky has a great fatherly aspect that Billie can read. Nucky's fun and she sees a vulnerability that not a lot of people see. He wants to know everything that's going on with her life. But Billie's still hesitant to get too close. As we find out in this episode, she has a father that didn't accept her, that does not believe in her. I think there's a real fear that if she gets too close to Nucky, there will be some sort of rejection as well.
In Sunday's episode, Billie films a screen test and talks about "forgetting who you are." Is that something specific to Billie? Or actors in general?
You could argue that is why a lot of people are drawn to this industry. I think for her, she never wants to stay the same person, or in the same place, for too long.
Does this screen test relate to any of your own audition experiences?
Of course! You always try to look in control even when you're actually not! They're trying to make a puppet out of her when Billie's told she's going to kiss this guy. I like that scene because she gets to be feisty.