Andrew Rannells plays Elijah on “Girls.”
You’re on “Girls” as well as NBC’s “The New Normal.”
Totally different shows. … “Girls” could not be more different and so exciting.
And “Girls” is your first show?
I mean, truth be told, I did one episode of “Sex and the City” as a headless stripper. It was when Charlotte started having sex with Harry and Mario Cantone takes Charlotte to a gay bar and the scene starts, like, on a naked torso and it’s mine. But I don’t really count that because “Girls” was the first time I actually got to speak on television. You actually saw my face.
Is it hard switching gears between the two shows?
it was a little tricky because I get to improvise a little bit over
“The New Normal,” and my instinct is always to curse, which [on “Girls”]
was completely acceptable, and not at NBC. I remember improvising
something — I was like “Well, that’s f—ed,” and then they looked at me
like, “Andrew, you can’t.”
Who is the tougher boss: Lena Dunham, or “New Normal” director Ryan Murphy?
I wouldn’t say either of them are tough. They’re actually really similar in a lot of ways. They both have really clear visions of what they really want, which is awesome to work with. Theatrically, with my experience, you can work with people who are kind of trying to figure it out and that gets a little tedious because then you feel like you’re just spit-balling forever. But Lena and Ryan both have such clear visions of what they do and such a strong sense of what their voice is that it makes it really easy to get on board with their vision.
This season you and Hannah become roommates. Are you a good duo?
Yeah, in this first episode we really are starting off as perfect roommates, and it looks very idyllic, and then it sort of takes off from there. But I think that initially Elijah and Hannah are very good roommates.
Will there be a crash and burn?
Have you ever had a bad roommate?
Well actually my best friend Zuzanna, who played Dorota on “Gossip Girl,” she and I lived together because we met in high school and then moved to the city sort of at the same time. It was pretty disastrous. It’s true, you should not live with your friends. You really shouldn’t. It did change things. It didn’t end the friendship because we’re still friends, but that was a rough relationship. I thought about that a little bit as we were filming this because there are similar arguments about bills and cleanliness and things like that.
What has surprised you about playing Elijah?
I’m in life 10 years older than Elijah’s supposed to be. I’m 34. So it was fun to sort of revisit that. Elijah got to be a lot more selfish and it’s fun to play someone like that, although I never really engaged in that. I was always very self-conscious when I was that age about, like, doing the right thing. I tried to be very perfect about a lot of things, so it was fun to sort of just be a mess. I had a great time.