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article imageNat Faxon & Judy Greer: The touch-&-go reality of being 'Married' Special

By Earl Dittman     Sep 3, 2014 in Entertainment
As the stars of the categorically hip and comical new series about a couple suffering the hysterical trials and tribulations of modern day marriage, Nat Faxon and Judy Greer know a thing about tying the knot (and not just around your wedded neck).
They are not couples therapists, counselors or shrinks, but who could give better insight into marriage than Nat Faxon and Judy Greer, the cute and clever leads of the raw, edgy and undeniably uproarious new cable comedy Married? Having tied the knot off-screen (although, not to each other), the obvious first question is, "What does marriage and being married mean to Nat and Judy in the context of the show — as Russ and Lina Bowman — and in their your own personal lives?"
"Wow, that's a tough question," author (I Don't Know What You Know Me From: Confessions of a Co-Star) and film/TV vet (Arrested Development, Dawn of The Planet of The Apes) Judy Greer declares. "I guess, marriage means that it's super, super hard to breakup. Right?Like, it's just way harder if you want to break up. But, I like it a lot. I'm super into it, but I'm only two-and-a-half years in. My kids are older and they're step-kids. I don't know, I think our characters Russ and Lina are okay. For instance, in the pilot episode Lina is like, 'I don't want a divorce.' She wants to be married. She wants to be with this guy forever. What do you think it means to them, Nat?"
Nat Faxon and Judy Greer in a less than sexy scene from  Married
Nat Faxon and Judy Greer in a less than sexy scene from 'Married'
"I think it means a partnership," Nat Faxon, the Oscar-winning writer (The Descendants), director (The Way, Way Back) and actor (Ben and Kate) replies. "I think what it means on the show and what it means in life is kind of parallel. I think they go hand in hand in a way because for Russ and Lina, I think their life is sort of consumed by their kids and their schedules and pretty much everything that goes into that. What's sort of missing and what's important to keep track of, both on the show and in life, is a sense of connection. I think these two characters right now are sort of misfiring a bit, and I think that's representative of what marriage is in a sense, that it's work. It's a lot of work. It's spending your entire life with somebody and raising kids and having to make decisions together. You endure the full spectrum of emotions, as far as being friends and in love and having the time of your lives', mixed with really difficult times where you don't see eye to eye and you can't get along and you have to work and fight for staying together. It is exactly what you said. It does make it difficult to break up, and therefore it's kind of about commitment and all that comes with it."
If you have been otherwise occupied on most Thursday nights — either tucking the kids into bed or trying to decide if sex is on the agenda for the evening — you have been missing out on one of this year's wonderfully hilarious new cable series. Created by Andrew Gurland, Married is a half hour comedy about being miserably in love. Russ (Nat Faxon) and Lina Bowman (Judy Greer) can barely remember what life was like before kids, debt, and suburbia rained on their romance — but every once in a while, in between the arguments about their declining sex life and who's driving carpool, they are reminded what drew them together in the first place — they're best friends.
In addition to taking home an Best Adapted Screenplay Academy Award and directing, former Groundlings member Nat Faxon is best known for his acting in such films as The Babymakers, Bad Teacher and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and the television shows Happy Hour, Up All Night, Happy Endings and Grosse Point. In Married, Faxon plays Russ Bowman, a freelance graphic designer who is struggling to support his family. Russ longs for the time when he was just hanging out with his friends, designing surf boards and getting more attention from his wife.
Nat Faxon is Russ Bowman in  Married
Nat Faxon is Russ Bowman in 'Married'
"I'm exactly like my character, so it's pretty easy to portray," the Boston-born Faxon answers half-jokingly when asks how much he is like Russ. "I am married. I have three children. I guess I have a little bit more financial stability probably than Russ does, at this very moment in time, but I would say I'm similar. I also tell my wife that I'm going to work and then I go surfing and then get in trouble for it later so we are very similar I would say. There's nothing like having a lot of children and being married and going through that. I can't say there are a lot of differences between us."
Judy Greer, is a bit conflicted when posed the same question. Her Married character, Lina Bowman, is a stay-at-home mom, who often finds herself overwhelmed by the needs of her three children, not to mention the needs of her childlike husband. Although Lina feels fortunate that she's gotten the opportunity to be at home with her children, now that they're all in school, she knows it's time to figure out the rest of her life.
Judy Greer is Lina Bowman in  Married
Judy Greer is Lina Bowman in 'Married'
"I feel like Lina is way more of a loner than I am," Greer offers when asked about her similarities with Mrs. Bowman. "She doesn't really need much outside of her family, and that is a way that I am different but a way that I also admire her and wish I was more like that. I also like how cranky Lina is, although I'm pretty cranky. I think in that way we're similar."
Judy Greer — who hails from Detroit — is one of the most prolific actresses of her time, appearing in over 80 roles across film and television to date, including such big screen phenoms as Carrie, 27 Dresses, American Dreamz, The Wedding Planner and Kissing A Fool, and small screen hits like Two and a Half Men, Modern Family, The Big Bang Theory, E.R., My Name is Earl and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. In addition to her recent turn in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Greer is also widely known for voicing Cheryl/Cherlene on FX's hit animated comedy Archer, and as Kitty Sanchez in Arrested Development. She is also currently starring in her own Yahoo! series called Reluctantly Healthy, which she started in December of 2011. Each week, this webisode gives special tips and advice on how to stay healthy while on-the-go, working long hours and traveling away from home.
Nat Faxon and Judy Greer in  Married
Nat Faxon and Judy Greer in 'Married'
Charismatic, amiable and naturally good-humored Faxon and Greer are more than happy to answer any and all questions about being Married. So, how did these two multi-talented performers land their roles on the ferociously funny FX — very adult-themed — comedy?
NAT FAXON: "I met with Andrew Gurland, the creator of the show. We had a really nice lunch and sort of got to know each other. I think, initially, you're just sort of picking up on each other's vibe and beyond just the material and the show. I think you're wondering whether you're going to be spending a lot of intense time together and whether you're going to be excited for that or dreading that. Luckily, with Andrew it was excitement, and the next step for me was to audition. I am not at the mega-superstar level that Judy Greer is so I had to audition for the part. Then, it worked out and then Judy came aboard after that knowing that she had this eye candy to star with."
JUDY GREER: "That's all totally true. (laughs) Nat was already attached to the project and once I read the script, had my lunch with Andrew, I knew that I could stand to be in the same room with him all day every day for many months, yes, then I decided definitely I had to be in it."
Is there any subject matter that you two feel is kind of off limits or is it all completely open? Is there a particular script you got where you were like, "How are we even going to play this?"
JUDY: "I don't remember there being anything off limits. Do you, Nat?"
NAT: "No, I don't at all. I think you kind of know what you're getting into and what you're signing up for. Certainly, being on FX and on cable you can get away with more than you can on network TV. I think the sort of darkness and the risks were exciting to us. I don't think there was anything that was over the line or felt too far, in terms of the stuff we did. I think we sort of knew that going in and that was kind of part of the allure in a sense, to sort of go down sort of a darker alley."
Faxon and Greer in a scene from  Married
Faxon and Greer in a scene from 'Married'
Both of you has an extensive comedic background. How much of an input in the development of your characters did you have and how much of any improv makes it to the final cut?
NAT: "I would say that Andrew Gurland, our creator, was extremely collaborative and welcoming to any conversations about the characters, any additions, anything that we felt was important to add. Obviously, he had done a ton of work on developing this show and certainly a lot of this stuff was biographical to a certain extent. I think he had a wealth of knowledge from which to pull from, and I think Judy and I being married ourselves too as well, so it was a very open, fluid conversations between all three of us as far as the direction we were excited to go, take the characters in. As far as improvisation, I would say we did quite a bit of improv on set just because I think it was, like I said, welcomed and also sometimes we found some fun stuff that wasn't on the page, but we were also working with a pretty fantastic blueprint, as far as the scripts. They were in really good shape so it wasn't totally necessary. It was really more just kind of garnish on top of what was already a great meal, if I'm going to stick with the metaphor. Yes, I'm going to. I did. I stuck with it."
JUDY: "I never stick with a metaphor. You're better for it. (laughs) I think as far as knowing what ended up in the episodes, I can't answer that yet because I haven't seen them all. That'll be fun to see what they picked out of all of the nonsense that we would do every day. I'm excited about that, and I felt like our improvs were always based on what was already on the page."
Judy, over the years you've been cast in a number of "best friend" supporting roles, but you recently starred in Dawn of The Planet of the Apes and you're doing the new Jurassic Park, next summer. With Married, you are front and center — one of the leads. As an actress, does stepping into these bigger roles make you feel any added pressure to perform or be at the top of your game? Or, does this feel like just a natural progression of your career?
JUDY: "I didn't feel any pressure until you asked that question. (laughs) Now, I definitely do. No, I don't feel much pressure. I don't know, the roles I'm playing feel really comfortable for me. Maybe the size of them is getting bigger, but I'm still feeling like myself playing them — which is important to me. I don't know, I guess that's a dumb answer, but yes, I feel like I'm excited about being in Married and not just because I have a bigger role in it but I think that I'm getting offered really cool roles right now. I'm excited for the challenge. "
Judy Greer and Ceasar from  Dawn of The Planet of The Apes
Judy Greer and Ceasar from 'Dawn of The Planet of The Apes'
Okay, here's a really deep, philosophical question. What do you think is harder, surviving a modern marriage or establishing an intelligent primate civilization?
JUDY: "Good question. I'm going to go with modern marriage. I feel like with Caesar (from Dawn of The Planet of the Apes) in charge, the primates were good to go. They didn't really need a ton of extra help because he's such a great leader and such a great ape. As far as two people being married and being broke and having three kids, I think that's way harder to deal with."
NAT: "I guess unless you're Caesar then it's not that hard."
JUDY: "But Caesar's followers knew what to do because he would tell them and he took care of them. I need a Caesar in our show is what I'm saying. You're not Caesar."
NAT: "We do. We need Caesar. I guess in Season Two."
Alright, here's my requisite social media question. Do the two of you look forward to the instant fan feedback through the various platforms like Facebook and Twitter?
JUDY: "Nat?"
NAT: "I need to improve my social media. I will say I am not..."
JUDY: "I was going to make a joke when you said that, but..."
NAT: "I'm not as on top of it as I should be. I try. Sometimes my neurosis gets in the way of my twittering or tweeting or however it's said."
Nat Faxon s  Skittles or socks  Twitter pic
Nat Faxon's "Skittles or socks" Twitter pic
Nat Faxon
Nat, I think most of fans really enjoy your "Skittles or socks?" vending machine tweet with the photo. It was really kinda awesome.
NAT: "Thank you. See, I just need more support. I think I just need more love. No, I do like seeing it. I like the immediacy of it, obviously. It's nice to, I think, listen, or read I should say, what people have to say almost right after it happens. I think there's something that is cool about that instant connection, I should say. I don't know, having something to talk about is always nice. There's some point of context as opposed to me just looking around my room thinking what would be funny to say?"
JUDY: "I hate fans. Like the fan I have in my bedroom — that came out weird. (laughs) I go through not like love/hate relationships with social media, but I'm super-sensitive, so sometimes if someone says something terrible I'm like, 'That's it; I can't do it anymore. I can't do it anymore.' I know that most of the time it's so awesome and it's so fun to be able to say something and then talk to people about it. I don't know, like what Nat said, the instant sort of gratification, if you will, is really nice and it is really nice to hear what people have to say about the show and when they're supporting it or supporting you. Sometimes in this business what you do takes so long to get done that to hear people supporting it and excited about it helps a lot. It's nice. It's nice if you're having a bad day sometimes. Like, I'm having a bad day, and then someone's like, 'Don't have a bad day,' and then you're like, 'Okay, maybe I won't.' That was another terrible example."
Judy Greer and Nat Faxon in  Married
Judy Greer and Nat Faxon in 'Married'
So, should all your followers and fans of Married start a campaign to send you more positive daily tweets?
JUDY: "I know, I know, I just made myself sound really sad and pathetic. Okay, just don't write any of that. It's so dumb. It's great. I love it. Write that."
Married airs on Thursdays at 10:00p.m.EST/9:00p.m.CST on the FX Network
More about Nat Faxon, judy greer, Married, FX Networks, dawn of the planet of the apes
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