The Deuce Cast on Their Favorite HBO Women

By Olivia Armstrong and Ashley Morton


Inspired by the many incredible women featured in and working on The Deuce, we asked the cast to name their favorite female HBO characters — classic or current. The result was a mix of funny ladies and drama queens.

Jamie Neumann (Ashley): I gotta go Issa for Insecure. I’m loving that show so hard, she makes me laugh so much.

Gary Carr (C.C.): I really love Snoop [played by Felicia Pearson] in The Wire. I was just blown away. What she did, the presentation of her character, I don’t think it was necessarily her, but she did a great job. I felt like when I was watching her, I was watching a documentary.

Margarita Levieva (Abby): It’s so hard to choose just one. Lisa Kudrow as in The Comeback definitely jumps out in my mind. She’s pretty spectacular. Carmela [Edie Falco] is pretty fantastic in The Sopranos as well.

Natalie Paul (Sandra Washington): It’s a toss-up between Samantha Jones [Sex and the City], Khaleesi [Game of Thrones] and Issa Dee [Insecure]. Samantha Jones was so liberating as a character — she said and did things people don’t say or do. I’d say she was the OG liberator.

Dominique Fishback (Darlene): I love the women of Show Me a Hero because the characters were based off of real people. It’s human people who overcame situations. Is it bad to say that Billie is my favorite character, because I play her? I know women who were like Billie. I wanted to make sure that it wasn’t like a stereotypical thing where someone sees her and thinks, “Oh, she’s just a projects girl.”

Pernell Walker (Ruby aka “Thunderthighs”): It’s an amalgam of all the awesome HBO biographies that feature women and the strength in their stories. Angelina Jolie in Gia, Queen Latifah in Bessie — it’s so hard to choose. I also loved Nicole Kidman in Big Little Lies.

Uta Briesewitz (Director of Season 1, Episode 5): Jane Adams playing Tanya on Hung, which I was the cinematographer on. When you see in person how somebody brings a character alive, it gives you so much more insight to really adore the character or see different colors of them. Tanya is a unique character and Jane Adams did a brilliant job, so I’m also very fond of that character.

Chris Coy (Paul): That’s so easy for me. Even if I wasn’t on [The Deuce], it’s Candy all day. I could watch Maggie Gyllenhaal burn up the screen in anything, but there’s something about Candy and Eileen. It might be my favorite performance ever, not just HBO, not just television, just ever. She breaks me and inspires me. Edie Falco as Carmela is a close second.

James Franco (Vincent and Frankie): Maggie Gyllenhaal as Candy is so great. She’s just one of my favorite people to work with, both as a director and an actor. I think she’s just killing it. She’s bringing so much dimension to that character, but more than that, she is really the standard bearer on the show: her courage and unflinching commitment to the character sets the tone for everybody. As a director, producer and actor, I’m just glad she’s a part of it to really lead us into potentially scary subject matter.