We all remember her as the feisty Dana Gordon in Entourage. She also played old-school journalist Janine Skorsky in House of Cards. Now, actress Constance Zimmer is back on our television as the will-go-to-any-length-for-TRPs reality show producer, Quinn King, in Unreal that airs on Star World. Here, she talks to us about the reality of Hollywood.
Edited excerpts from the interview:
Why do you think people relate to a show like Unreal?
Unreal is based in reality. It's very hard to imagine that's what is going on behind the scene. We have got so much feedback from people working in reality TV that we are actually closer to the truth than we ever imagined. I think that's what fascinates us and the viewers. I still can't imagine this is the truth either, but apparently it is.
What is your honest, unedited opinion on reality television?
Honestly, I don't watch reality television. I am far more fascinated by actors, storytelling and good writing. But I get why reality TV worked. It's an escape for people. It's like watching a train wreck. I don't mean to be demeaning, but people like watching others fail. They also like seeing the underdog win. It offers you that whole spectrum.
On the show, you are always pushing boundaries to get things done, to go after the most outrageous thing. Do you think Hollywood is really like that? Be a shark or get eaten?
Yes and no. I believe that you have to stand by what you believe and that opinion may be hard to get across at times. On the show, the way we handle people and situations is completely wrong. But that's what is fun about it, because it's an exaggerated version. On television, when you get to play characters like this, you can push it to the extreme.
Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer in the still from Unreal
What would you say is the key to being successful in the entertainment industry?
Everyone has their own path and road. But be true to who you are, don't be something you are not.
The strength lies in believing in yourself; any doubt will cause you to fail.
Indian audiences remember you as the feisty Dana Gorden in Entourage. What was the most fun part of the show?
That was a character where I had no clue what was going to happen with her. I played an assistant at a film studio, and then I become the head of a studio. It was so much fun to be on that ride, not knowing what would happen. The makers pushed through such an incredible female character on a show that was male-dominated. It was one of the firsts. It was fun playing with the boys and we all grew up together. I also loved working with Jeremy Piven; I will always cherish that.
You play a gritty journalist in House of Cards, which seems to be mirroring American politics right now. How did you prep for that role?
Prepping for that part was easy. I speak with journalists every day, I read newspapers and magazines. I still want real press.
I was fighting for what I believe in. I don't want newspapers to disappear, I don't want to go to the digital world. I want real journalism where people don't jump to conclusions, and do proper research. When we started, I didn't even understand Twitter. So I was fighting for people who weren't up to the technology. I loved being able to represent an old school journalist. Also, the writing on that show is beyond incredible. You just had to show up.
You have directed an episode on Unreal Season 3. How was the experience?
The support given was phenomenal. I know the characters and sets, so it was easy to do this. What's fun is that it's the same concept, a person trying to find the love of their life on a show, but now it's from the perspective of a woman. There are three strong women on this show and it talks about what happens when women support or don't support each other. The fun part is that they objectify men a lot this season as well.
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