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article imageAya Cash exposes the bare facts about 'You're The Worst' Special

By Earl Dittman     Aug 26, 2014 in Entertainment
Hysterically cynical and riotously sexy, 'You're The Worst' puts an unadulterated dark twist on the romantic comedy genre. Leading lady Aya Cash (who plays the obstinate, yet lovable Gretchen) reveals the naked truth behind the tasty cable TV sensation.
The feverishly fun, witty and seductive adult comedy series, You're The Worst is a very modern look at love and happiness told through the eyes of two people who haven't been very successful with either. It's the story of Gretchen and Jimmy, and how the combination of fear, heartbreak, romance, sex, food, Los Angeles and friendship can conspire to sometimes make the worst people the best romantic partners.
San Francisco-born actress Aya Cash gives a dazzling, laugh-packed performance as Gretchen Cutler in FX Network's You're The Worst. Cynical, stubborn, and fundamentally dishonest, Cash's character of Gretchen manages to defy expectations with everything she does. Gretchen handles PR for some of the biggest, and most difficult, music acts in town, so she knows how to hold her own. She's never been in a real relationship — knows they are not for her — and is perfectly happy with that. But, when she meets the narcissistic, brash, and self-destructive Jimmy Shive-Overly (Chris Geere), at a wedding, it's only natural that the two of them go home together and, despite their better judgment, begin to find themselves falling for each other.
Incredibly authentic in its depiction of romance, commitment and sexual intimacy in the 21st century, the 32-year-old Cash admits she fell in love with the script for You're The Worst immediately after reading it. "It depicted so much of what a lot of us have gone through with relationships — in such an genuine way," she remembers. "It was so great I knew I had to be a part of the show."
Cash would soon land the lead role of Gretchen in You're The Worst. Consequently, in the FX series' pilot episode, she and costar Chris Geere were required to perform the couple's first graphic, frantic and comically uncomfortable sex scene. Performing in the nude for the first time in her career, Cash confesses acting unclothed took a little getting used to, but believes it set the authentic tone of the series.
"What's so charming about the sex in You're the Worst is that it is that awkward sort of like, 'I can't find the rhythm, let's take a break and eat some food. Let's have a great conversation and then sort of pick up where we left off and try to figure out where we're at,'" the stunningly gorgeous actress offers. "I appreciate how real our show is and I'm glad that it's awkward. It's not porn. It's funny and weird and once in a while slightly sexy, which is more like real life."
Chris Geere is Jimmy Shive-Overly and Aya Cash is Gretchen in  You re The Worst
Chris Geere is Jimmy Shive-Overly and Aya Cash is Gretchen in 'You're The Worst'
Best known for her role as Leo DiCaprio’s long time secretary in Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street, Aya Cash — an accomplished stage actress — has also appeared on television in the critically-acclaimed The Newsroom, We Are Men, Friday Night Dinner, Law and Order, Mercy and Traffic Light. But, it is her role in You're The Worst that should turn Cash into a household name. She has transformed the brash, dismissive and sarcastic Gretchen into an emphatic and enchanting character most viewers wouldn't sweat hanging out with in the real world. Having played the role for half a season already, Cash admits she can relate.
"I think I would want to hang out with Gretchen in real life, but maybe just like once a year," she says with a hearty laugh. "I'd be like, 'Show me what it's like, take me out.' However, I'd be thinking, 'Thank God that I have a stable life and I'm not her."
An original comedy from writer and executive producer Stephen Falk, You’re The Worst airs Thursdays at 10:30pm Eastern and Pacific on the FX Network. Rounding out the cast is Desmin Borges (The Good Wife), who plays Edgar Quintero, Jimmy’s once homeless, war veteran roommate, and Kether Donohue (The Carrie Diaries) as Lindsay Jillian, Gretchen’s best friend and former partner in crime who’s now struggling with a life of domesticity.
Aya Cash in  You re The Worst
Aya Cash in 'You're The Worst'
How different do you think movies like Titanic would have been if the sex scenes would have been presented in a raunchy and real You're The Worst kinda way?
"Okay, first, I'm trying to imagine Jimmy and Gretchen in Titanic. (laughs) I feel like romance in movies is often not real — including the sex. I feel like in some ways that's sweet and more romantic than like a beautifully shot passionate everything is perfect, we're both having orgasms at the exact same time kind of sex scene. I was not a fan of Titanic back in the day, although now I feel like I would be."
For any actor, I'm damn sure it's awkward to perform any kind of sex scene. How did you really prepare to take off all your clothes for your inaugural foray into the world of nudity?
"For the first episode, as soon as I got it, I started working out— really hard. (laughs) I don't normally do that, so my first concern was pure vanity. Chris (Geere) and I were terrified, both of us, going into them. I had never done one before. Chris had and we were saying like let's do some shots beforehand to relax us. But, by the time we actually got there, we didn't drink. We forgot because we were having fun and you start to just get used to it. They put you in these ridiculous stickers to cover your bits as a woman and Chris is like wearing a sock. It's the stupidest most awkward thing ever. It's not sexy and it's not even all that humiliating. I thought I was going to be so nervous and awkward and worried about stupid stuff. What actually shocked me most about the sex scenes was taking all your clothes off in front of like forty people and nobody looking at you. I'm like, 'Usually, me, being naked is a good thing,' and it gets a reaction when I take my clothes off. But everybody is incredibly respectful in avoiding your gaze and trying to do their job, which is what they should do. But I said it was more like 'Hey, what's up, guys, I'm naked!"
You were probably also thinking, "I worked out and sweated for this body and no one is paying attention."
"Yes, exactly. Since I got back from New York, I haven't been to the gym and I ate chocolate all the way home. (laughs), But when we get to Season Two, I'll start working out again."
I have to say that the chemistry between you and Chris Geere is incredible. The two of you are just so much fun to watch on the screen. Did you know him before doing You're The Worst or did you meet on the set?
"Chris and I met during the chemistry read test, so before you get the job, sometimes they have actors read together. I read with both Kether (Donahue) and Chris, and Chris read with Desmin (Borges) and I, so that's where we all met, but very little connection happens in those. You're both so terrified that you are not going to get the part or that you're going to screw it all up that we didn't talk much. We really met the week before we shot the pilot, and I think all of us fell madly in love with each other. We had a great time. We're all from not LA. So shooting in LA, we were all away from home and got to play and hang out and fully immerse ourselves into each other and that was really great. Shooting the season was similar.
"I think Chris is just brilliant, which is the first thing that I care about when I'm acting with someone. He is great. He is also just the loveliest human being. He's probably I would say the least like his character than all of us. I think he's all light and love and very little darkness, which is what makes his performance so magical."
Chris Geere stars in  You re The Worst
Chris Geere stars in 'You're The Worst'
Many people have referred to You're The Worst as uncomfortably funny. When you first recieved the script, did you go, "Okay, how do I make a character like Gretchen — who normally wouldn't be likable in real life if you knew someone like this — quite enjoyable to watch and essentially participate with the show?"
"Reading the show, I thought it was hilarious, which is sort of a generic answer, but it's very true. I think the humor just ran towards my sense of humor. I thought this would be really, really fun. I also just don't worry about making her likable. I feel like I liked her when I read her and I sort of trust that the audience would get behind her as well. All you can do as an actor -- this is such a douchey thing to say — is to look for the parts that you connect to and have empathy for. I thought Gretchen was fabulous and that's what attracted me. I thought they'll never let me do it and I had many auditions to convince them."
You've made Gretchen emphatic and actually quite likable because most folks probably wouldn't hang out with in real life, and now everybody wants to.
"I think I would want to hang out with Gretchen in real life, but maybe just like once a year. I'd be like, 'Show me what it's like, take me out.' However, I'd be like 'Thank God that I have a stable life and I'm not her." (laughs)
Aya Cash as Gretchen in  You re The Worst
Aya Cash as Gretchen in 'You're The Worst'
Often during an episode of You're The Worst your character is saying something, but your face or your body language is conveying the opposite. Can you talk about how much of that is in the script? How much do you work on showing viewers that kind of double language?
"I think a lot of it is in the script, but not necessarily in the directions of the script. I think that comes from also the director. Just for me, the most fun way to act is to try to be in the moment and react to the persons that you're with. So, often in awkward moments what I'm saying might be slightly different from how I'm feeling. I feel like they come out of a moment where it's maybe Jimmy has said something that's insulted me, but I don't want to tell him that. I want to be cool about something, but I can't help but have a reaction. I don't think it out too much. I'm not sitting there planning how can I show my subtext in this moment. And when you're working with good actors, the thing that makes you look better is just paying attention to that and luckily I work with good actors."
 You re The Worst  stars Aya Cash and Chris Geere
'You're The Worst' stars Aya Cash and Chris Geere
Have you had any input at all into Gretchen's character arc?
"Not much, I would love to take some credit, but it's really all the mad genius of Stephen Falk (writer/executive producer). I had created a huge back story for myself that was completely wrong, but I trust Stephen more than I trust myself and basically listened to him. If there was anything that came up throughout the season that felt not genuine or something that I felt like was at odds with my character, I would discuss it with him and usually he could explain it in a way where I ended up agreeing with him afterwards. Some of the sex stuff I was worried about because I didn't want her to be portrayed in any way pathetic with the sex stuff. There's a sex scene in a recent episode that I was like, 'I don't want it to seem sad, like she's not into it,' because it was not like she was really having sex with him, she was just sort of doing it for perfunctorily. But it's not pathetic because I do think that often women who have a lot of sex are portrayed as like pathetic or like someone to look down upon, and I don't think she is. I think her being sexual is powerful to her."
The entire cast of You're The Worst are all very active on social media and you're great interacting with the fans. How important is social media in reaching your fans?
"I sort of entered Twitter ambivalently and was not very into it until really doing the show. It was about being on set and wanting to connect and wanting to get people involved. I would do anything to make this show be watched and give us the opportunity to do more seasons, and it's been really fun. I've been shocked at how nice Twitter is. I thought I would get let like horrible things sent to me and once in a while you do get them, although I find them more funny than insulting. But,, mostly people have just been really excited and I feel like that's really great to hear and if I can make someone's day or answer someone's question by interacting with them, then absolutely I will do my best. It's hard to keep up all the time without becoming too attached to your phone, which I try turn my phone off now for a portion of the day. But, it's absolutely necessary and it's such an amazing thing that people can have access to people that they're watching on TV or seeing in movies or seeing in plays or their politicians. I think Twitter is an amazing thing in that way."
Aya Cash in  You re The Worst
Aya Cash in 'You're The Worst'
Honestly, you are so wonderful on You're The Worst, that I have to ask, before you go, how much are you like Gretchen — if at all?
"I think outwardly we're very, very different, but I think inwardly, there are probably more similarities than I would like."
More than you'd care to admit?
"Yes, but I think she's dark and funny and damaged and like we all are. She just manifests in a way that is not the healthiest. I've been through a lot more therapy than Gretchen has." (laughs)
More about Aya Cash, You're The Worst, chris geere, FX network, Stephen falk
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