Molly Shannon on Diane’s Marriage and Female Friendships
By Marissa Blanchard
Molly Shannon discusses the growth of her character in Season 2 and how Diane is a “late bloomer.”
HBO: Do you think Diane has changed from Season 1 to Season 2?
Molly Shannon: It’s hard to be objective about it, but yes she is different. I love the first season and Diane’s story; the first season is dark and funny, but they did lighten it up. I see her as a kind of a late bloomer in that she’s feeling overlooked by her best friend, Frances, and her husband. It’s not really feeling like she’s enough, like, “What am I supposed to be doing?”. Some people figure that out in their late 20s, and Diane’s kind of trying to figure that out in her 50s.
HBO: How does Diane feel about Frances seeing her as an investor rather than a partner in the gallery?
Molly Shannon: Diane’s good at that stuff; she’s in a very ritzy world of art collection and she does know things that Frances might not. And she’s feeling overlooked in her marriage, so when her best friend is not really using Diane for what she believes is her full potential, it’s very, deeply hurtful — almost more hurtful than her husband overlooking her.
That’s what I love about this female friendship — sometimes those are the bigger, emotional relationships. Diane’s struggling in her marriage, but she’s probably more emotionally dependent on Frances.
HBO: What does Nick’s retirement mean for Nick and Diane’s marriage?
Molly Shannon: That was so funny because she’s feels like he’s home so much. I think it worked better the other way when he wasn’t home as much because now they are going to drive each other crazy. They both have some intimacy issues and it’s a push, pull relationship. I think that’s challenging for her to have him home all the time. Everything you thought you wanted you are suddenly horrified by.
HBO: Diane surprises Frances with a set up. Does Frances need a push from Diane when it comes to dating?
Molly Shannon: Sometimes people need the push to get back into dating; sometimes friends have to give that push. It also makes it less formal, like, “You two might just hit it off” — it’s such a Diane thing to do. Diane thinks Andrew’s cute and smart and that Frances needs to get over thinking about her ex: Just have fun and be open.
HBO: Frances asks Diane to keep an eye on Tom while she’s in Ohio with Robert. What was it like filming those scenes?
Molly Shannon: That episode is written by Adam Resnick, and he’s just the best; that’s one of my favorite episodes. I loved filming all the scenes with Charlie [Kilgore, who plays Tom] in the car driving around for the day. She sings in the car and they shop together and have fun, it’s an unlikely connection and pairing of friendship. I like comedy mixed with drama — that’s my favorite type of comedy. I liked how she gets kind of sad at the end of the day when she has to drop him off and doesn’t want him to leave.
HBO: How was it filming the scene where Diane spies on Jackie for Frances?
Molly Shannon: Sarah Jessica and I did give some notes on this scene because we thought, if this was us in real life I would give specific details — “What is she like, is she funny, does she seem smart?” We did add some things and talked to the writers about how we would actually say it. You wouldn’t just say what she’s wearing; women break it down hard core in detail, it’s not just about what she looks like. We really wanted to add to that scene and make it a little deeper.
Read more about the complexities of Frances and Robert’s relationship post-divorce in this interview with Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church.