NOW: How was it working with creator George Olson on SurrealEstate and helping to create the character of Susan?
Working with George is incredible. He’s so open, giving, and curious. He really cares about our input, which is so great and rare to have on a show. He and I had a long conversation over the character of Susan, and we emailed back and forth quite a lot in the beginning.
When we were creating Susan’s look with our hair and makeup team, there was a split second where we had her in a very short bob wig. It was not how I pictured the character initially, but of course, I was open to it if everyone else thought that was the way to go, and we took pictures of me in this wig. George and I ended up having a long conversation after that because he wasn’t sure that was the look he thought of for Susan, and I told him that was my instinct too.
So he’s always staying open to suggestions, comments, and concerns. Also, any scene or script where I felt like maybe Susan wasn’t feeling like Susan, he would go over it and he would rewrite some things. I felt very fortunate and very lucky to be able to have that.
Melanie Scrofano also came in and directed two episodes and appeared in one. How was it working with her as a director?
Working with Mel was SO fun. It was the first time I’d ever met her. I’d heard so much about her, and I think she’s so incredible and she’s so wonderful on Wynonna Earp. I was so excited to meet her. It was interesting because I wasn’t meeting her as an actor, I was meeting her as a director. Only once before on Schitt’s Creek had I worked with a younger female director, and because Mel’s an actor as well, she has a lot of insight and can speak to us as an actor.
We had so much fun in those episodes Mel directed, and she really pushed me to lean into the comedy. I was a little nervous about doing that beforehand because I didn’t want to be too out of genre. I would have these moments and she would come up and go, “Do it. Do it. Just do it. Just try it, and if it doesn’t work, you know, we’ll see what happens. Lean into it. You’re funny, so use that.” It opened this creative door for me.
Also, seeing Mel and Tim together was a treat in itself. They are chaotic together in the best way. Just poking each other and their shorthand is so strong — stronger than Tim and I’s [shorthand] — so it was really fun to watch them together.
THEN: What’s your favorite behind-the-scenes memory from filming the Schitt’s Creek series finale?
One of my favorites was when the wedding was taking place and the Jazzagals sing “Precious Love” and “Simply the Best.” It was a very emotional day because it was our very last day on our sets. They were about to be taken down for good, and everybody knew it was the beginning of the end. I think a lot of us had been in denial, or pushed our feelings down a little bit, before then. So the Jazzagals had to perform these songs at the top of filming that scene so they could capture the songs clearly.
We were in that beautifully decorated town hall set, and it was such a bittersweet celebration. Everybody was dressed to the nines in beautiful tuxedos and gowns, and the entire crew was standing around as well as our cast, and we started singing. Everybody just broke down. I started crying, and I looked over, and my dad and my brother were crying. I could almost cry just thinking about it now because it was such a special moment and it was the moment where we all knew that this was the end.
When we finished filming that scene, we had a big party on our sets. Everybody had champagne. We still had to film half the season, but because we were saying goodbye to these sets that had been our home for six years, it was really tough and special.