BWW Exclusive: On the Set of SMASH- Katharine McPhee on Karen's Future, Working with Jeremy Jordan & More; Plus New Photos!
So they're all great additions to the show and Jeremy's been awesome, we're having a tumultuous love affair on the show. And yeah, it's great, I think the show needed another Style other than just like very traditional Broadway musical. So I think it's fun that we're doing something more Spring Awakening a la Rent kind of a vibe.
How much is your character getting attached to Hitlist?
I'll say, as attached as you can possibly be, without saying if it even goes to Broadway or not and all that stuff. I will say, Karen tries to straddle--as I'm sure many people in the theater Community do-- of being a part of something that's going to Broadway, but then also looking for the future. Looking to, "If this show bombs or if the show doesn't make it to Broadway, I need to look at my next step." I think that's Karen's objective in terms of getting Hitlist up and running and even if she's not the lead in it, she basically finds these songwriters and sees a musical there and believes in them. So it's a good thing for Karen, you're starting to finally see her not be so "Wow, this is my first experience doing this!"--it's not so wide-eyed, she's a little bit wiser, she's had her first dose of being a star on the show.
The entire first season she was kind of in this awful relationship. Do you feel that now that we're seeing single Karen looking for a new guy,is it a different Karen that we're going to see?
The thing is, the timeline on these shows, they're so quick. I wish she could have more of an opportunity to show the real timeline. I would say she moves on pretty quickly. I think her first objective is being focused on the show, but needless to say, I do think that many theater girls, as I was and still am, are a sucker for men that are incredibly talented. That can sometimes steer the decisions that she makes based on, as many people do, love and relationships and attractions and things like that. It's so true, people really do make decisions based on other people sometimes.
I like that the first time that they kiss, he's high and you were like "Let's try that again." Does she know what she's getting into?
There's always a part of Karen that will be slightly naive. I don't think she knows the extent of where his character can possibly go and how that can affect things. I think she knows that he's a little bit edgy, like in Episode two she's like, "Oh, I just think you're like really talented, why are you such an ass?" If you can say that on television, "Why are you being such a dick?" I don't think she's head over heels immediately. I think she knows he's super-talented but for me I think she's more driven by "Yeah, I do like him, he's really cute but I also want to get this show done." I don't think she knows exactly where it's gonna go, and I don't think she knows how she's going to feel for him. A showmance is what they call it, I had one of those when I was in college.
Is the competition between Karen and Ivy different this season?
In the beginning you can kind of start to see Karen playing the game of like, "I don't really want her to be part of the show, I'm going to try to make decisions." Even though it's hard for her because that's not really who she is. But she kind of got screwed over pretty badly at the end of the season. She definitely wants to stay clear of Ivy, I think, but then things become exciting in her career.She kind of realizes Ivy keeps showing up to stuff that she's a part of, and Ivy's like, "I'm sorry, I didn't know you were going to be here," and Karen is like "It's fine, I'm over it, I'm on to the next thing." And I think that's sort of a real [response]...like you eventually can always have hard feelings for someone but...I don't know that Karen is...
She's not a Mean Girl now is she?
She's not a Mean Girl but I think that the way she treats Ivy is sort of justifiable, don't you think?
She's grown up this season. She's Karen, she's a strong woman.
I think we made a discernible effort to try to make her grown up, based on the final episode of what she goes through. That was the whole point: to see her as this ensemble girl who's given an opportunity and gets distracted massively by something terrible, and that she's able to be professional and put it aside and go out there. I think we're trying to carry that into the new season.
Photo Credit: Will Hart/NBC