STAGE TO SCREENS: Zosia Mamet, One of the "Girls," Is Now Really Really Starring Off-Broadway

By Christopher Wallenberg
19 Feb 2013

Evan Jonigkeit and Zosia Mamet in Really Really.
Photo by Janna Giacoppo

What are the challenges of being the daughter of one of the world's greatest living playwrights, while trying to carve out your own career as an actress and figure out what you want to do in theatre, TV and film? Can that be a real challenge sometimes?
ZM: Of course. I mean, it's what you would expect. Some people have certain expectations — unrealistic ones and unfair ones, or preconceived ideas about who you are. And, you know, whenever anybody is trying to make a name for themselves in the world, they want it to be their own name. But it's absolutely a double-edged sword. I love my father dearly, and I'm proud to have come from where I came from.

You say that it's a double-edged sword. So sometimes it can open doors, and other times it just places unrealistic or unfair expectations on you?
ZM: Well, the thing that I love the most about acting is that, like, sure, potentially my name could perk up someone's ears. But at the end of the day, it's on me to deliver the performance. So it's like, if I'm good, I'm good. If I'm not, I'm not. My father's name isn't going to get me a job.

Did your mom or dad give you any particularly helpful or memorable career advice about navigating the shark-infested waters of show business?
ZM: My dad just says, "Know your lines, and always be on time." [Laughs a little.]

Did your parents ever discourage you away from the business? Or did they like that you had an interest in theatre and entertainment?
ZM: Yeah, my father really just wanted me to be happy. I was never discouraged. He knew that I was a goner from Day 1. I never wanted to do anything else

Where do you think that drive or interest to become an actress stemmed from? Knowing what you wanted to do from such an early age.
ZM: I mean, who knows? One could blame it on my upbringing. I was literally born into the theatre. But I don't know. It was just inside me from Day 1.


Mamet on "Girls."
photo by Jojo Whilden – © HBO

Is the "Girls" cast close-knit? Have the four of you "girls" — and the guys — bonded with each other really well?
ZM: Uhhh, yeah. We're very lucky, we all get along great. When you spend that much time with people, you inevitably get very close.

What's the rest of the season going to look like for Shoshanna? In the last episode that I saw, she and Ray are dating. And they're at a dinner party talking to everyone, and she's telling a story and just suddenly realizes that he's basically moved into her apartment. Can you give us a hint at what's in store for her the rest of the season?
ZM: One of the things that I can say about our second season is that we go harder. I think that's absolutely true. The characters are really starting to question their assumptions. And I think all of the characters are really starting to realize that nobody's going to grow up for them — that they really have to grow up for themselves. And I think Shoshanna really is being forced to confront that fact. She's figuring out how she should deal with things and trying to embrace how she wants to do them.

I know that you've said you're a voracious reader. Do you think you might ever try your hand at playwriting or fiction writing one day?
ZM: I am an avid reader! As for writing, I might — someday. But we'll have to wait and see.

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