Parker Posey is no stranger to TV — you recently saw her as Eli Gold's ex-wife on The Good Wife and Leslie Knope's painfully perfect ex-BFF on Parks and Recreation — but she lit up the screen the last two Thursdays as Liz, a neighborhood bookstore employee whose sharp wit and hyper-literate demeanor sparks our hero's interest on FX's Louie. Last night, they hit the town and her wilder side emerged, leading the two into a darker, more twisted version of a One Night in New York romcom. Posey talked to TV Guide Magazine about the genesis of her character, being connected to the city and the state of TV in general.
TV Guide Magazine: How did this role come about?
I was doing a benefit reading of Beyond Therapy that was me, Marissa Tomei, Mario Cantone, Nathan Lane, and Louis C.K. I had seen Louis' show just, like, weeks before. I was really looking forward to meeting him. And after meeting we went out, and he said, "God I have to get you on my show." So a few days later we just hung out and talked, and he was like, "I've always had this idea for this character and I think I'm going to give it to you. This is your role, this is your archetype." And he wrote it really quickly. It's kind of remarkable what he's doing.
TV Guide Magazine: Judging by the pressured speech, flights of thoughts and reckless behavior, it seems like your character's at least teetering on the edge of a manic episode. Is that a fair assessment?
Mmmmmm. I think she's different every time you see her. She's very different in the bookstore, and when she's out on the town. She has a relationship with the city, and her desire to connect with people, she's showing him something that's very important, for her to have a connection like that with someone.
TV Guide Magazine: Did you bring anything personally or was it all in the script?
It was all kind of there. She's there to be compelling and entertaining, and also evoke an edge and worry and concern all at the same time. And she's a nice lady for Louie, that he hasn't seen before: She seems to be one way, and then she's another way, and it's kind of the question of what he's gonna go through as he goes through the season. He's desperate for a connection, and there's this person who's desperate for a connection too, and they kind of fall in love. They kind of ride the wave of the night.
TV Guide Magazine: So do we see Liz again?
I'm not gonna say! I mean, I hope so.
TV Guide Magazine: That was interesting what you were saying about them sort of falling in love.
Well, there's an exchange that takes them both by surprise, but it becomes more meaningful and upsetting than anything he expected. It's different from any other connection to any other women on the show. I was happy to see that, that she was nice. I think that's what's missing so much in TV right now. Everything is about Boys vs. Girls right now. They're talking about their penises and vaginas all the time, it's really inappropriate. What's important to me, and what makes me happy when I go to work is when you can really work with another actor and there's respect and humor and good chemistry and saying something new. It's so rare that you see that on shows right now, because everything is so procedural. Everyone's guilty, everyone's in the witness stand, there are all these high stakes and everything. Whoever is producing television, they've kind of lost the plot, and it's like, hey, let's get some great actors together who really love each other and love working together, and let's let that light up the screen. And that's really missing right now. It kind of freaks me out, because I think it's so simple and I don't come across it that much on television, except for the few shows that I've seen and like, like Girls and Louie.
TV Guide Magazine: Well, I mean, The Good Wife...
No! That's a procedural show!
TV Guide Magazine: But...
It's not voiced from the inside!
TV Guide Magazine: Other than Girls, what do you watch?
I haven't been watching that much. You know, you also like to wonder about people, that's what good TV is for: "Wow, I relate to that person in a funny way" or "They move me." The other thing about my character that I remember is, she's talking about... What are the scenes? There's the street scene and the vintage store scene...
TV Guide Magazine: For me, it's the roof scene that really sticks out. It's almost like you're coming to the realization that yeah, of course you're not going to jump.
Oh, so you actually thought that I could have jumped?
TV Guide Magazine: It seemed like a possibility.
That's so cool! That's so great! Those little settings are so great, it's so great to see that on TV. Have you had nights like that? It's the reason why people feel so connected to this city, they can be taken by someone else's world and be uplifted by it, and be transformed. It's about being open and reaching out, right? She's very open and very ready to reach out and take. And Louie isn't like that at all.
TV Guide Magazine: That was what was so great about that scene where he finally puts on the dress. There's growth there.
That's exactly it.