Season One of Apple TV+’s PHYSICAL took us on a journey with Sheila Rubin (Rose Byrne) battling her inner-demons, but also finding success on her own in the ’80s. The Series is back for a second season, with ten brand-new episodes! Season Two has Sheila battling loyalty to her husband Danny (Rory Scovel) and also an attraction to someone new. No longer the only one in the fitness game, she finds herself having to dig-in and beat-out the new competition.
Our David Baldwin had the opportunity to sit down and chat with the Cast and Showrunner of PHYSICAL, including:
Annie Weisman – Showrunner/Producer
Rory Scovel – Danny
Rose Byrne – Sheila
Dierdre Friel – Greta
Murray Bartlett – Vinnie
ANNIE WEISMAN (SHOWRUNNER/PRODUCER)
Annie Weisman comments on the Series’ portrayal of Eating Disorders and Mental Illness, with Sheila going from one addiction to another.
Weisman: “One of our goals of this season was to authentically demonstrate how Eating Disorders are often misunderstood as really being about the disordered eating behaviour itself, and not about the core issues. One of the ways we demonstrated that are how Sheila gains control of her Eating Disorder, but it doesn’t get rid of the core problem and she hops from one addiction to another. We’re being true to the time period in which there’s still so much stigma surrounding Therapy and naming Mental Illness, in women in particular. And it really does take her a long time to have the strength to come forward, and reveal her struggles and seek any kind of help.”
“When we do depict her in the season finally seeking-out help, we also show how radical and out of the mainstream those sources of help were. They really were brand-new.”.
David asks Weisman about the great amount of detail and commitment to the Series being authentically ’80s.
Weisman: “I have the very good fortune of having grown-up in exactly this period of time and place, so one of my many jobs as Showrunner is to oversee choices in terms of style and specificity, but I also work with an incredible Creative Team, who down to every detail, prop and on a large and small scale, ensuring things are period-appropriate. One thing that contributes to the real sense of authenticity in the Show is that we try to depict life as it really is, which is to say that people actually live their lives as an amalgamation of a lot of periods. You’ll see in some people’s homes that things aren’t just from that exact year, you have a lot of the past in there as well. And these characters when we meet them, are kinda living in the past. So you feel that authentic texture of the many decades lived in those spaces. That was important to me as an overall aesthetic.”
“We also shoot with a lens that gives things a bit of a different texture. These lenses give it that feel that you don’t necessarily notice right away, but overall makes it feel like you’re back in time.”
“Music is also a really big part of our storytelling. So it’s important the Music has the regional feel of Southern California at that time. So we start with the textures and sounds of songs that maybe were popular in the time period our characters came of age. So they bring that ’60s Guitar Acoustic sound with them. But then we see it evolve as Sheila gets more into exercise and the ’80s mentality, and you hear the Electronic Music coming in.”.
RORY SCOVAL (DANNY RUBIN)
Rory Scoval‘s Danny while a bit depisable, does have some redeeming qualities, which he tells us about in this upcoming season.
Scoval: “I think there needs to be a little bit of that or else they become this person. Despite their story and situation, you feel this negative thing and are not excited to see them or where they’re at. Even a character like Danny in Season One and especially Two, there has to be a sliver of likability that we can see that a lot of your faults come from a place of insecurity. Then maybe I can relate to that and I don’t think you’re an evil or a bad person – you’ve just got some stuff you’ve got to work out. I think it’s really important and I’m fortunate enough that in Season Two, Danny gets placed in a position to earn that likability that he really does care about his kid and care about being a good dad, his wife and her business succeeding. But he also has to balance-out his ego about it.”.
David asks Scoval talks about the theme of Toxic Masculinity and what he’s learned about it.
Scoval: “Anyone who has an awareness of Toxic Masculinity, you’re kind of aware of it stepping into a Show like this. It’s an opportunity to showcase something like that and the harm it has on people. Movies and Shows give someone a chance to understand what someone is talking about when they are talking about Toxic Masculinity, and they also can show the effects it has on people. I like that I get to step into a role that can showcase something like that, a subject that people do relate to, and they wish people were more aware of.”.
ROSE BYRNE (SHEILA) & DEIRDRE FRIEL (GRETA)
Rose Byrne speaks about her physical preparation for Season Two.
Byrne: “This Season was really interesting because it opened-up the world for a lot of other characters. We explore stuff just outside of Sheila‘s inner-demons this Season. In terms of preparation, what was really great was working with our Choreographer Jen Hamilton, and it’s such a signal of what’s required to becoming the kind of athlete an Aerobics Instructor really is. It’s such high-intensity and Cardio, so I really leaned on her. And Annie Weisman – the Showrunner and Creator – it’s such a deeply-personal story for her. She’s always a touchstone for me just setting the tone, answering all my questions and and questions about the world itself. I love the setting, it’s such a specific time and it’s an immservice job in a way because it’s historical, it adds to the fun of it.”
Byrne and Friel talk about their favourite Costumes and Hairstylesin Season Two.
Byrne: “I can talk about the Costumes all day, that’s our Special Effects. I love it. This Season I wore this dress – lemon yellow and halter-neck, silk cut on the bust – it was just gorgeous with this incredible Veronica-like hair. It was just ’79-’80s.”
Friel: “They built me a bunch of dresses this year. Ernesto (Costume Department)was like, ‘You’re rich, San Diego”. They built me this gold Brocade sort of dress – gold and black – gave me a red lip and it was so pretty.”.
Friel talks about Body Image and navigating this industry.
Friel: “As a plus-size woman in the industry, it can be challenging. The way I look can often be the point of me being there, and not always in a positive light. It’s challenging and wears down at you. Even if you leave your work at work, it can sometimes seep-in.”
“I’m grateful the way we’re talking about this though. We’re talking about Eating Disorders in a way that’s never been talked about.”.
MURRAY BARTLETT (VINNIE)
Critics’ Choice Award Winner Murray Bartlett has had quite a run with his recent scene-stealking work, including The White Lotus and now his role as charismatic Fitness Instructor Vinnie, joining the Cast. David asks him about what draws him to Vinnie.
Bartlett: “I guess I’m just naturally a Scene-Stealer (laughs). I think these characters are really beautifully-written. I feel like I’ve been very fortunate in The White Lotus that Mike White wrote this incredibly-complicated, fantastic character. Similarly on this Show, Annie Weisman has created this amazing Character. I feel like I’m just sorta connecting-the-dots in terms of what they’ve written. I love playing a compelx character and I feel like these characters are created in that way you get to fully explore the aspects of these characters. I got lucky and I’m really enjoying what I’m doing at the moment. These characters don’t fall on your lap every day. A lot of my work has been done for me and I just try to have a great time and find the nuances in them. I hope I’m not too distracting!”.
Bartlett is asked about how hard it is to identify with his larger-than-life Character.
Bartlett: “I think it’s harder to watch yourself do these kind of characters. As an Actor it’s easier to watch something closer to yourself because you can just keep-check of whether or not you’re being honest. With these characters, it can be difficult to watch because you can be, ‘Oh! What is happening?’, even though there’s an enormous amount of joy in playing these kind of characters.”
“We’re in this bizaare time that can feel overwhelming what’s happening in the world. To play a character that is fully-expressed and giving vent to whatever trauma they’re going through, or demons they’re battling, or even to commit to something obsessively, is somehow therapeutic and a great release. I wonder whether that has anything to these type of characters bubbling-up.”.
Season Two of PHYSICAL arrives June 3, 2022 on Apple TV+.