Carrie Preston has made a name for herself portraying some of television’s quirkiest characters for shows like True Blood, Person of Interest, The Good Wife, and The Good Fight. Her latest project, Claws, is yet another opportunity for the Macon, Georgia native to delight audiences with her thespian bravado. Taking on Polly, a character chock full of personalities, Preston and the ladies of Claws are taking things to a whole other level this season. We spoke to Preston about bonding with her cast mates, and the power of this incredibly unique show. Stream episodes of Season 2 that you may have missed now, and be sure to catch new episodes of Claws, Sundays at 9/8c on TNT.
Things seem to be getting even crazier this season, if that’s even possible! What can you tell us about Polly’s mindset going into this season?
I think Polly is always about one accessory away from a breakdown. So she’s been accessorizing a lot, and you’re going to be seeing her heading into a Floridian-Hitchcockian-psychological-moment as we head into this season. It’s going to be an interesting look into Polly’s past, and how her mind has been shaped by some events from her past.
So we’re getting some more backstory?
Yes, definitely! And I think you could say that’s true for all of us this season.
You’ve brought so many memorable characters to life on the screen. What is it about playing Polly that you love the most?
Polly is an identity thief, but she also steals peoples personas. So it’s an actor’s dream, because you’re playing one role but you get to play twenty roles within that role—it’s never boring. There’s always something interesting to explore with her. She’s just one of the most unique characters I’ve ever had the opportunity to bring to life! I love going to work and figuring out what twists and turns she’s involved in, what emotional situations she finds herself in, and how she navigates through them.
The power dynamics of the group seem to be shifting a bit this season. Can you tell us a bit about that?
Well, we have a new boss lady that’s coming in, and that’s going to throw things off within the crew. There’s also a sense of betrayal from Quiet Ann, or Desna and Polly, because of her relationship with Arlene, and how compromised that became last season. So we’re walking in with a lot of loaded baggage, and it’s going explode!
Let’s rewind a bit. What initially drew you to this project?
I’ll tell you, the script for the pilot was so unique, and so special. To see a show that had five really strong females at the center, and was so diverse—not just diverse rationally, but age-wise, shapes, sizes, types of people. Everything was being represented, and it was fierce, raunchy, really thrilling, and funny! These are things that excite me as an actor. I’ve done the wife of the week, the mother of the week, over and over again. We all have as women. You know, something just so generic. And these characters are not generic at all. Each of them have a unique stamp.
When the project came across my desk, I thought, “I have to be a part of this,” because there’s nothing like this right now across the landscape of cable. I was just dying to see where it went! And I’m so glad that they came to me, and that it was able to work out in my life to do it, because it’s been a real gift.
The show already has a rabid fan base even with just one season. Why do you think its resonated with fans?
Tonally and stylistically it’s extremely unique. In a landscape that is just, blissfully and excitingly, chock full of incredible offerings this show really stands out. It stands out because of the way it’s shot, and the way it looks. It’s this perfect blend of comedy, drama, and melodrama. You have all these elements, and somehow the alchemy of them all works! I think it keeps people on their toes, and there’s a blistering pace to it. It’s exciting for viewers, and they get to see something new being represented. But they also get to be extremely entertained, because we have incredible people behind the scenes. We have incredible directors and producers, and our crew is amazing. All of those elements in conjunction with the script, plus the chemistry between us actors, it just makes for a really, really compelling show that stands out from the others.
Can you tell us a bit about the energy on set? The show takes place in Florida but is shot primarily on location in New Orleans. That must make for some interesting shoot days!
Well it was one of those things where the energy of the five of us just clicked the moment we were all in a room together. I had worked with Niecy briefly before, and I knew that she was a powerhouse. I’d been a fan of her work for a long time, so I was very excited to work with her. I hadn’t met the other ladies, and when we got together for our very first read through of the pilot, it was magical. It was probably the best read through I’ve been in for a television show!
Just the dynamics between everyone—not just among the women, but the men too—it was just right. Everyone in the room felt it, and everyone was talking about it! The network, the studios, the producers, the writers, everybody. And we thought, “Uh-oh, we’ve got something special here, I hope that we can honor it!” And I think that we all headed into shooting the first season already knowing that we had something special. Everybody was already on the road to trying to elevate it and honor it, and make it as great as possible.
What are you most excited for fans to experience during Season 2?
I’m excited for them to continue to be shocked, surprised, amused, and moved by the crew, and the obstacles that are being hurled their way. Watching them navigate all of these challenges in the only way that this crew can—with a lot of heart, spirit, and power.