Andrew Rannells’ Elijah Is on a Journey of His Own
The Broadway star shares what helped Elijah "get his s**t together" and the real-life theater "nightmare" that inspired his hilarious audition.
How would you describe where Elijah is at emotionally at the start of Season 6?
We saw him at the end of Season 5, heartbroken from Dill and very disillusioned. It takes him a second to rally. But by the middle of Season 6, Elijah gets a clue as to how he’s going to reimagine himself. We left him in such a dark place at the end of Season 5, it was nice to be able to give Elijah a little more positive momentum.
After initially responding negatively, does Elijah take Hannah’s pregnancy as motivation to jump start his life in Episode 7, “The Bounce”?
Elijah sees the pregnancy as the start of Hannah pulling away. I certainly have had friendships, whether it’s a boyfriend or a friend, where someone all of a sudden get a little further ahead. It’s not so much that you’re angry at them or you don’t want that for them. It just shows up how little you have going on. But I think that’s a catalyst for him to get his s**t together and figure out “What do I want?” He’s a little nervous to admit it, but he wants to be an actor.
What was it like to have your musical theater and television worlds collide this season?
It was great to bring that whole different side of my professional life to Girls. I told Jenni and Lena that I did a musical before I did Book of Mormon, and it was a basketball musical. I’m terrible at basketball. It was a disaster. So they reused that story and made me relive one of my worst nightmares, which was musical theater basketball.
Dill Harcourt returned in “The Bounce.” How have the tables turned in Elijah and Dill’s relationship?
Whereas before, Elijah was wrecked. This time around, I feel like Elijah has a little more control. He’s not as invested. He’s not going to be fooled this time around, which is why I think they can hook up and have it not be devastating to him.
What do you see as special about the Hannah-Elijah friendship dynamic?
As a gay man, I really like that we got to show that very specific gay man-straight woman relationship. It’s not the Will & Grace version. It’s the real version. There’s a very specific dynamic that gay men and straight women have with each other that I’m not sure exactly how to articulate, but there’s a closeness that’s different from any other relationship. Sometimes that leads to brutal honesty, and I liked getting to show that part of it. I’m so pleased that they kept asking me to come back, and we kept exploring that dynamic between Hannah and Elijah. Most of my material with Hannah really rings true for me in a lot of my friendships.