When you think of Zosia Mamet, it’s hard not to picture her as the zany, colourful and adorably naive Shoshanna who existed in the world of Girls for five years and six seasons. Whether she was yelling at Ray, changing the colour of her hair or accidentally smoking crack, Shosh was a constant amid the chaos of a show which held a mirror up to the beautiful, messy and undeniably chaotic nature of female friendships.
Unsurprisingly, the more synonymous Zosia became with Shoshanna, the more pigeon-holed she felt, especially in an industry which pushes you not only to reinvent the wheel, but to reinvent yourself at the whim of a casting director.
For Mamet, the chance to break free from the Shosh-box ended when the creators of The Flight Attendant (currently streaming on BINGE) came knocking on her door for the role of Annie — the level-headed yet cynical lawyer, and best friend to Cassie (Kaley Cuoco).
She’s complex, gritty and at times, unnervingly brash, but Mamet was all too eager to rise to the challenge.
Speaking to marie claire Australia in a roundtable interview, showrunner Steve Yockey recalled the moment he watched Zosia’s audition, and immediately felt compelled to rewrite certain aspects of the character to help it fit Zosia, rather than the other way around.
“A lot of times, we end up casting people who are not at all what we were thinking when we wrote the role, but immediately become obsessed with what they can do. Zosia is a really good example. I had a completely different idea of who Annie was in my head, then when I saw Zosia’s audition, I was like, ‘no, that’s Annie. I’m gonna go do some rewriting. Because that’s her,’” he explained.
When asked how she felt about returning for a second season, Zosia admitted that she had little to no idea how it would play out. From where the show would be shot, to the development of her character, there were several critical elements left up in the air, and she knew they had to be answered in one way or another.
“No one had any idea how they were going to continue on in Season Two,” Mamet told marie claire Australia during a separate roundtable interview. “We were all waiting with bated breath to see what was going to happen and it was super exciting coming from a blank slate and seeing which way they chose.”
While Girls is now part of her past, Mamet can’t deny the influence it still has over her today, especially now that she’s involved in yet another ongoing series. Though some might believe it to be like riding a bicycle, Zosia says that there’s always a certain anxiety about returning to a character she’s already established.
“My secret is that in between seasons, I always have a panic attack before I come back to a new season, where I think I’m going to forget how I played the character,” she explained. “In between Girls each season, I would come back and I would be like, ‘I don’t remember what I talked like’. Then hen I get on set and I start acting and I’m like, ‘Oh, I remember this,’” Zosia said with a laugh.
And, while she might be reprising the same character, a new season brings a new slew of challenges which requires her to add a new level of dimension to her onscreen persona.
“One of the things I love most about the jo and I think it’s actually an exciting challenge, and somewhat of a relief as an actor to come back to a character who has grown and getting to portray different aspects of them.,” Zosia said. “In my opinion, I think it’s much more daunting to come back to someone who is in a state of stasis, exactly where they were when you left them, because then you’re trying to recapture that. I was really excited to come back to Annie this season in a totally different place than where she was in Season One and going on a pretty epic journey in her own right. That felt definitely like a challenge, but also kind of freeing at the same time.”
Luckily for Zamet, along with loving her role, she’s also grown incredibly close with her co-star Kaley Cuoco, and there’s no denying that the pair have become incredibly close while filming the show.
“Kaley is an epic human and we got, almost annoyingly close. I’m literally at her house right now. I live in New York, but I’m staying with her while we’re out doing press, so we’re basically a married couple,” Zosia said of their tight bond. Most recently, both actresses added another matching tattoo to their collection, the word ‘boop’ on their inner biceps. Back in 2020, they got paper plane tattoos in honour of The Flight Attendant.
As for how Kaley juggles her incredibly intense roles as lead actress and executive producer, Zosia sang her praises once more, explaining that she does more than anyone but somehow manages to make it look easy.
“She’s an exceptional human being and an exceptional captain. She watches out for everyone and I’ve never seen anyone multitask the way that she does. The three of us [referring to Cuoco and Australian actor Deniz Akdeniz] have so much fun working together. Sometimes too much and we have to be told to wrap it up and remember that we’re making a TV show,” she said, with a laugh.
This season, Annie is going to be facing some incredibly intense battles, from choosing a new career path to the future of her relationship with Max (her boyfriend) and of course, helping Cassie on yet another unbelievable adventure.
As you can tell though, Mamet has more than risen to the challenge of bringing her character’s complexity to life, and we’re ready to strap in for yet another wild ride.