Mircea Monroe on Showtime’s ‘Episodes’
I got a phone interview with Mircea Monroe to talk about the DVD release of “Episodes” season one, which is now available. She was impressed that I knew all her work, not only from episodic appearances on shows like “Scrubs” and “Franklin and Bash,” but her indie movies like American Animal and the straight to video The 41-Year-Old Virgin Who Knocked Up Sarah Marshall and Felt Superbad About It.
We covered the sexy comedy of “Episodes” season one and previewed the new second season which started earlier this summer on Showtime.
CraveOnline: You’ve specialized in a bunch of characters who, like Morning, very specifically have to be hot. How did you find that niche?
Mircea Monroe: [Laughs] It’s tough. It takes a lot of work and study. That’s actually a hilarious question. The last few characters have been looks based but not all of them have been, thank goodness.
CraveOnline: It must be a high class problem to be asked to fill that role.
Mircea Monroe: I’m a little worried about aging, but it just is nice to be wanted in any capacity.
CraveOnline: Some of them very specifically have to be busty too, like Morning and “Franklin and Bash.”
Mircea Monroe: Yes, I actually started a Twitter for my boobs since they seem to be the ones getting the work.
CraveOnline: Was that funny that cleavage was actually a plot point?
Mircea Monroe: I figure as long as it’s funny, in both things I thought it was really funny, so I’m happy to oblige as long as I genuinely find it funny, but it’s a bit bizarre.
CraveOnline: Did you guys do a table read of the table read episode?
Mircea Monroe: We did. It’s crazy because it’s also with the BBC and the way that they work is they, like a film, they do their table reads every single episode in a day. So it’s like a seven hour table read from beginning to end with little five minute breaks. Yes, we did do a table read of the table read which was amazing that it was still funny even doing it that way. That’s how strong it was.
CraveOnline: How weird was it to do a table read of a scene where they’re doing a table read?
Mircea Monroe: Because the show is about the business, it’s no longer weird. It just feels like it’s almost like a documentary. You kind of just feel like you’re replicating your life anyway, so that one there is this kind of bond but initially there was more of it I think last year. Now it’s just like oh, well, yeah, this is about the business.
CraveOnline: What was it like shooting a show within a show?
Mircea Monroe: I loved it because it was fun to be able to tell the truth about what it’s been like instead of a lot of things are usually candy coated or you want to be diplomatic or careful with what you say. But the stories that we had on set were just amazing. We’re actually allowed to tell the truth.
CraveOnline: How accurate is “Episodes” to the TV business?
Mircea Monroe: I would say exceptionally accurate in a lot of ways. Of course things are heightened and all that kind of stuff but a lot of their stories are based on true stories. So it’s pretty accurate. It’s just funnier than real life.
CraveOnline: Who was Morning on the page and what did you bring to her?
Mircea Monroe: On the page, she’s so well written by David [Crane] and Jeffrey [Klarik.] She’s this actress who’s been around for a long time. She’s confident. It’s interesting because she’s confident and sort of comes across as sort of herself but obviously yet not because she has to maintain her looks. I think a lot of that comes from insecurity.
What I brought to it, at least when I initially got the job, I took it in a very, not different, but just my own direction. What was great about David and Jeffrey is we found her together in a way if that makes sense. So that was really cool. I really struggled initially with finding the right balance and through their guidance we found it with her. So it was cool and now by season two I feel like I’m really in her skin.
CraveOnline: They made her age ambiguous. How old do you think she is?
Mircea Monroe: She’s in her late ‘40s. Maybe she had a birthday just last year, we don’t know.
CraveOnline: That’s amazing fiction because no plastic surgery, not even on “nip/tuck” were they that good.
Mircea Monroe: That’s what’s so funny is since doing the show I’ve had all these bizarre experiences of people either thinking I am a lot older than I am, even for other jobs, which was been interesting. And also so many people asking me for beauty advice.
It’s so strange. It’s a show but I get asked all the time about product, more so than the usual as far as acting, because even though people know that it’s a TV show, they still sort of believe aspects of it. So I’m happy to help. It’s interesting when I use it, I’m like, “I can’t really tell you what to use. There’s no fountain of youth, dude.”
CraveOnline: What is coming up in season two?
Mircea Monroe: Season two has a bunch of more surprises. It’s hilarious. It has so much heart. You get to know the characters more and you fall I think even more deeply in love with them. I personally got to do a lot more, explore so much more with Morning so I can’t wait. It came out in Europe. I just can’t wait for Americans to see it.
CraveOnline: Should Sean sleep with Morning to get back at Beverly?
Mircea Monroe: That is a possibility. Ooh, do you see how aloof I am for that?
CraveOnline: Does Morning have any hot new librarian outfits?
Mircea Monroe: They’re kind of same same, just tight and library-esque, which I actually kept. It’s so weird. I kept so many of the character’s clothes this year, and the other day realized I was wearing down to the shoes the character outfit. I was like maybe I’m not as different as I think. Maybe this isn’t so much a character.
CraveOnline: Does season two take “Pucks” to the up fronts?
Mircea Monroe: Oh, that’s such a fun idea. No, it doesn’t. That’s hilarious.
CraveOnline: How far does season two go?
Mircea Monroe: It starts just a few months after, I think four months after the first season has ended. So it’s pretty much right away.
CraveOnline: Are you shooting more episodes of “Pucks” within “Episodes?”
Mircea Monroe: Yeah, they’ve added a different cast. The boys are different and they shot a few of the scenes from it and that kind of stuff, but it’s similar to the first where you see it but it’s not about “Pucks” as much as it is everything else going on.
CraveOnline: How is Morning’s career going at that point?
Mircea Monroe: Well, you would think well, but then stuff comes up and she again feels like she has to keep up. I’m so bad at this stuff without just blatantly telling you the biggest character thing for me, but she definitely comes up against some challenges in regards to the show and her popularity on it.
CraveOnline: How into the Hollywood scene are you in real life?
Mircea Monroe: Zero. I live in New York actually. Well, I moved to New York after 10 years in L.A. I have obviously wonderful friends in the business and a great life, but as far as the Hollywood aspect of it, not at all.
CraveOnline: Do you get invited to lots of parties that people want you to show up and be seen at?
Mircea Monroe: Yeah, I feel like that’s just a part of it. I moved to LA when I was 18 so I had a long while of experiencing that kind of stuff. The people are fantastic but I would rather enjoy my friends in a calmer, not wearing makeup environment.
CraveOnline: Are people finally pronouncing your name right?
Mircea Monroe: No. [Laughs] I get a lot of, “Hey girl.”
CraveOnline: So they don’t even try to say Mircea?
Mircea Monroe: Yeah, I’m resigned to the fact that it’s never going to happen. I’m totally okay with that. I’ve had old roommates and stuff that never got it right after years. I would say half my friends don’t even say it right so I can’t expect [others to.] It’s fine. It’s more funny than anything else.
CraveOnline: I’ll tell my readers. Is it a hard C or soft C?
Mircea Monroe: It’s MER-SAY-UH. So phonetically it’s like S-A-Y, but it’s a Romanian name so it’s supposed to be pronounced MIR-CHA so the whole thing is just confusing and ass backwards. I changed the pronunciation so I can’t really expect anybody else to go along with my made up pronunciation of a name that’s supposed to be for a boy.
CraveOnline: I feel like I see you in a lot of things and you work a lot. Are you busting your ass out there?
Mircea Monroe: I’m tired. [Laughs] Yeah, it’s been great. I feel really lucky. It’s been so interesting because “Episodes” is a shorter season so it allows me a lot of time to do movies and other shows for the last couple years.
Other than that, I truly deeply love working in any capacity. So I crave it, I need it, I want it. It makes me really happy so I tend to not take a lot of breaks, but working is a break if that makes sense. That is my vacation. It makes me feel so happy that I feel like I don’t really need to [rest.] I just love it, but yeah, I definitely work a lot.
CraveOnline: It totally makes sense to me. I have three more interviews today.
Mircea Monroe: Yeah, so you know. How do you know about “Franklin and Bash?” Do you just stay updated on everything?
CraveOnline: Well, when they sent out the screeners of the pilot I recognized you from the TV show “Drive” and an episode of “Scrubs.”
Mircea Monroe: You’re the one that I need to call when I have meetings and stuff. You’ll be able to break it down and let me know everything I need to know. It’s so impressive.
CraveOnline: You started in about 2005, so where were you before then?
Mircea Monroe: I’ve been in L.A. but I wasn’t acting. I didn’t know that I wanted to act so I was in L.A. but working at a restaurant seven days a week and trying to figure out what I wanted to do and all that kind of stuff. Then before that I was going to school in Virginia. When I first got here, once I decided and was trying to do it, it probably took at least a year to get any kind of work. That’s why I’m so grateful for it when it comes.
CraveOnline: When did you know you were funny?
Mircea Monroe: Oh, that’s such a sweet question. Actually, my very first job was something called “Nobody’s Watching,” that Bill Lawrence who created “Scrubs,” it was his pilot. It was my very first TV job and it was a sitcom. Ever since that experience, I’ve been so itching to get back to that kind of environment and just to be involved with comedy.
It was this really strange path of I went and did tons of drama and then horror movies and all kinds of random stuff and then finally I pulled back around to the comedy stuff. That’s what’s in my heart. I love it. There’s nothing better to me. I mean, I like to alternate. If I ideally can, I’d do a comedy and then I would do something where I’m a mental patient, and then I’d go back and do a comedy so I can continue to express myself in different ways. Then I started doing standup and improv. Oh, it’s so f***ing fun.
CraveOnline: Wow, where do you standup?
Mircea Monroe: I do it all over. When I’m in L.A., I have a lot more friends. It’s a lot easier for me get up [on stage] in L.A. than it is New York just because I’m newer there. You should come out. When I’m there I’ll do three in a night. I’ll do The Comedy Store, and there’s some that are a little sketchier and a little smaller, but
I like to get up whenever I can wherever and piggyback on my friends that are insanely more talented but I can get up and do like seven minutes before them, which is fun.
CraveOnline: What’s your material about?
Mircea Monroe: It’s so interesting. It’s changing as I grow but initially a lot of it was about the business and about acting and making fun of myself and mocking myself. Now it’s growing to be a little bit more introspective and a little bit more aware. It takes a long time to get good. It takes a really long time, at least for me.