April 18th, 2011 by thetvchick
As some shows are starting to wrap up their seasons, Nurse Jackie is just getting started. The All Saints Crew returned at the end of March and the third season is shaping up to be absolutely fantastic. And believe me when I say, things are just going to get more crazy, more hilarious and more dark as the season goes on. I recently had the chance to catch up with Merritt Wever (who plays the hilarious Zoey) and Stephen Wallem (who plays the wonderful Thor) at a press luncheon. They talked about what we can expect this season, love interests, and much more. Stephen even shared how it feels to see his personal struggle with diabetes documented on screen.
What can you tell us about the third season?
Merritt Wever: Everything gets more complicated. The stakes have gotten higher for Jackie, especially considering where she left off at the end of last season. So, everything’s more complicated.
Where are Zoey and Lenny going?
Stephen Wallem: Oh, it’s so sweet. I love watching where Zoey and Lenny are going.
MW: Zoey and Lenny are boyfriend and girlfriend. So you get to see what her amorous self is with a fellow.
Is it any different?
MW: Than her normal self? Probably not enough. I think she’s a demanding partner. I think she’s probably with Lenny, because he puts up with a lot, and he likes it. I guess maybe it’s not that different, but I still think it’s interesting to see her in that kind of role and relationship.
She’s going to go to O’Hara and Jackie for advice. How does that turn out?
MW: Jackie’s not interested. Jackie’s Jackie, and I think O’Hara — there’s a little amusement that she gets out of it. But that’s a little more of a condescending word than I mean. I think she likes the idea of guiding this pink weird bird through [this].
Are we going to see Thor get a love interest this season?
SW: You know, there might be a hint of it a little later on. I, of course, would welcome the writers to include more of that. But yeah, there’s a little hint thrown in towards the end of the season.
Are we going to find out more about Zoey’s family?
MW: Maybe not enough to satisfy your curiosity. I think that the writers are smart in doling out little tidbits. So layer by layer. But they are taking their time, which I appreciate. It gives them and us somewhere to go.
What do you find is the most challenging aspect of working on the show?
SW: I have the least amount of on screen experience, just in my career as a stage actor for over twenty years before Jackie even came up. I’m still catching up to this format. Everything is shot out of order, and we’re shooting two episodes at once. One day we could be shooting scenes from one episode and then immediately [after], scenes from a previous episode. And keeping that in your head of where your character was right before and what’s going to happen with each scene, that’s tough to do. It’s a challenge, but I absolutely welcome it. [And] when you know you can go down to set and work with people who are genuinely your friends, who you can trust, everything that I just mentioned becomes less anxiety-ridden, because you know that “I am going to have my friend, who’s going to be here to play ball with me.” And you don’t even have to question it.
MW: It is a safe environment, which I think is necessary for getting the best work out of people. Because if you’re really scared that someone’s going to tell you that you are wrong or bad, you’re not going to try anything new, and if you don’t try anything new, you just keep yourself inhibited, especially with comedy. Speaking for myself, I try a lot of weird things when we’re blocking out a scene, and they encourage it.
And what’s the most challenging for you?
MW: The first season was the hours — working, trying to act and stay emotionally or mentally alive and on your feet when you were dead tired.
And we see Thor and Jackie dance in the third season. How was it shooting that scene? And will we see you sing at all?
SW: I can’t really say, but I will say that there is, again, towards the end of the season, there is another talent of Thor’s that is revealed. And that’s all I will say. It’s kind of inspired how the writers’ came up with a reason to let me do this. And that’s a big surprise in the finale — the circumstances behind it. How can I complain? Again, there’s these little gifts, these surprises, that show up in the scripts. It’s just a blast.
Will there be any further exploration of Thor’s diabetes?
SW: There are a few references. Anytime there’s a food reference, they never stop from giving Thor a reason to either obsess [over] a cupcake or a cookie. Even if it’s just glancing. Even though it’s not necessarily obvious, you can tell with Thor, that every time there’s food in the mix, you can just sense that he’s struggling one way or another, not always in the best way. When they approached me and said “How do you feel about incorporating your own struggle with diabetes into the storyline?” It had never dawned one me, and initially I was terrified. And then thought, I will do it because we rarely see authentic diabetic characters on TV or film, and if we do, there’s such a slight reference. Then when I started getting messages on Facebook, or e-mails or letters from other diabetics, [saying] “Thank you for representing and exposing something that I am going through myself,” [it] was completely worth it. It gave me the fearlessness to keep going with that, if they choose to do anything more with that, because I think that’s why we connect to certain characters. If we can see something identifiable in a character that maybe we’ve never seen before, that’s a huge revelation. That’s why we’re drawn to TV and films.
Nurse Jackie is a comedy that takes place in a healthcare world. Do you feel an obligation to the healthcare professionals?
SW: Our medical advisor on the show is a nurse at Bellevue, who is as much a part of the family as any of the actors and the rest of the crew. She is sort of our go-to when it comes to authenticity. There is a lot of humor and a lot of play that has to happen in their field, to even get them through the day. That’s why I love the fact that we’re not really a comedy, we’re not really a drama. I wish there was a third category, because people don’t quite know where to put us. But I kind of love that. And yeah, I hear from nurses who absolutely love the show.
Do you have a favorite one-liner that your characters have said?
MW: I don’t think I can pick!
SW: I think one of my favorites is when Dr. Cooper is explaining that we have a professional football player as one of our patients and I say “Yeah I know, I’m gay. I’m not a girl.” It’s kind of a surprise that Thor’s this football fanatic. I love that because any time something can break a stereotype, I love that.
Be sure to tune in for an all new episode of Nurse Jackie tonight at 10 pm on Showtime.Tweet