‘The Affair’ Actress Maura Tierney Talks Golden Globe Nomination And The Upcoming Season Finale [Interview]
Veteran actress Maura Tierney just scored a recent Golden Globe nomination for her portrayal of Helen, a newly single mother of four children, on the Showtime drama The Affair. The unique quality about The Affair is that it’s a show that juggles different perspectives and narratives according to each of its four main characters.
Like in life, many of the events are changed depending on which narrative is played out on the big screen. In some cases, these changes are minute from the blouse a character is wearing, to huge shifts in dialogue and actions. As the title suggests, the show revolves around an affair that takes place in Montauk while writer Noah and his wife Helen are vacationing. Season one focused on Noah’s affair with a local named Alison, and how their respective spouses deal with the imploding affair.
Season 2 explores more of Helen’s journey as a soon-to-be divorced woman, who is trying to emerge from the traumatic situation with a new sense of identity, often barely keeping her head up above the water with the dramatic changes that comes with being a single parent.
Maura Tierney hot off of her Golden Globe nomination sat for an AOL interview to talk about her nomination and the upcoming season finale of The Affair.
What is the appeal of The Affair?
I read the script and thought it was a really interesting approach. It’s a really interesting storytelling device. I haven’t seen it on television before. What I liked was that Helen was a mom, but she was a sexual being as well, and she had a sense of humor. It was a mom that seemed to be a little bit more than a mom.
Their marriage seemed to be a happy marriage, that he was about to embark on an affair. She wasn’t shrew-ish, she wasn’t a drag, she wasn’t a nag — it was none of the stereotypes you see of the wife.
Why do you think the show resonates with everyone?
I think [the show] is very well written and I think it’s well acted. It’s not afraid to look at people’s darker impulses and needs, which is not always something you see on TV. Certainly not the main characters — you don’t see them as flawed humans.
How did you develop the character of Helen?
I’m not taking any credit. The writers wrote a very complex, really interesting woman and allowed her to be out of control. We’d talk about it with the writers but I would say the character was created in the room and then I got to do it.
Will the paternity behind Joanie be answered by the end of this season?
I can’t say anything about it. I’m told not to say anything. It’s going to be very satisfying. If you’re invested in that storylines and those questions you’re not going to feel ripped off with having to wait.
What has been the most challenging aspect with playing Helen?
It’s hard playing the mom of four kids so I don’t really know much about that. My sister has kids, and I can ask her things, but that part, I don’t know anything about, so that’s what I worry is going to feel authentic. It’s daunting an actress playing a mother with four kids.
Is there anything that’s really difficult to film?
It’s really hard to sometimes jump back and forth in time. Sometimes we’ll be filming future present and at another time we’ll be shooting the future, which is where the court rooms scenes are. Then your character will be in Noah’s flashback, or Alison’s flashback, and it’s a little hard to keep track of that, and to know what you’re doing, so that gets tricky.
Do you know what the arc is going to be for next season?
I know what Sarah [Treem] wants to do, but I don’t know if it’s been signed off by the network, but I do know it’s a really, really, good idea. It’s going to be really different. Things are going to change. The concept is really different and interesting, and I think it will be really fun to watch.
How do you choose your roles?
At a certain age people get lazy writing roles for women. Sometimes I just want to say, “Just take one more pass with the script, and you’ll have a really interesting character.” She doesn’t have to just say, “Eat more than toast for breakfast!” And so, there’s a lot of that, which is fine, but if you look for it, you can find parts that aren’t like that. So that’s what I look for now. I look for a writer that’s been a little more thoughtful in developing a character.
How are you going to celebrate your Golden Globe nomination?
I don’t know. I’ve been doing press all day. I started at 9:30 this morning and I won’t finish until 6:30, so I don’t know. It’s been really fun. My friends are calling me, but I haven’t had time to talk to anyone about it.
The finale of The Affair airs on December 20 on Showtime.