Girls: Season 2 came out on DVD on August 13, which gives us the perfect excuse to binge on the compulsively watchable, always controversial series—and to relive some of our favorite moments. And because many of those moments involve Andrew Rannells as Elijah, we thought it’d be the perfect time to talk to him about what it was like to have uncomfortable sex with Allison Williams as Marnie and do fake lines of cocaine off a toilet seat. Plus, maybe get some hints about what we could expect from the upcoming third season?
Certain episodes of Season 2 still provoke strong reactions, like the one in which Elijah and Hannah binge on coke and wind up doing lines off what looks like a very, very dirty toilet seat. Was that as much fun to film as it looked?
Oh, that episode was so much fun, yeah. I always have the best time ever when I get to do scenes with Lena, and that whole episode, everything that I did was just me and her. Really we just had a blast, getting to run wild all over the city. That episode felt so epic because we shot it all over the place. And it is very strange to do lines of fake cocaine, which was actually lines of Vitamin B powder—so it was good for us. It was healthy!
But did it taste awful?
It didn’t really taste like anything, but we were both severely congested the day after, having to do so much of it. You know, it’s certainly not the best thing long-term to be snorting a lot of that stuff. But it did have a weird placebo effect, because by the end of that day—the day that we shot that scene, all the stuff in that interior that was supposed to be the Greenhouse—we felt so punchy and I just felt high. I’d been running around and we’d been doing all this fighting and screaming with each other and it was just a very strange feeling, like we’d actually been doing all these drugs.
Did doing Vitamin B12 off a dirty toilet seat contribute to feeling super high?
Well, the toilet scene was actually a built set; it was not actually the bathroom at the Greenhouse. So while they did a beautiful job constructing the set with condoms and toilet paper all around, I was actually comforted by the fact that it was a new toilet seat and we weren’t just licking off an old one.
That episode feels like a short film or one-act play.
I think what Lena does is really incredible, and how HBO supports her in making these almost short indie films is also incredible. Like with that episode that Patrick Wilson is in, you get the feel of a small independent film. It’s a beautiful story she told, and it’s also so odd that it got to exist in that season; it was sort of a one-off, and it was never referenced again, but I just thought it was so cool and so supportive and brave of HBO to let her tell that little story. It didn’t necessarily feel like it was part of that world, and yet it so informed Hannah’s character. I just think that what sort of sets the show apart from other television is that she’s so supported to tell exactly the stories she wants to tell.
Your sex scene in Season 2 was one of the most awkward I’ve ever seen.
It was a very sad attempt at having sex. Personally speaking, it was the first time I’d ever done anything like that and the day it came time to film I was actually very nervous about being naked in front of the crew. Allison and I were friends, but I’d certainly never been naked on top of her, so that was going to be a new experience. But she’s so cool, and she had done so many sex scenes at that point, so she was a veteran of that. She just told me, “We just have to be ok with the fact that at one point your penis will touch my vagina.” So that was that. And you’re wearing these weird modesty covers, these pieces of fabrics that you’re tying around your junk. We looked like weird genital-less Barbies. It’s the strangest sort of get-up, and then there we were in front of all these people watching us strip.
That sounds like the least sexy thing ever.
I’m sure there are circumstances that are more arousing, but that wasn’t it. It was still fun. I kept forgetting to put my pants on by the end of the day. You know, “We’re all friends now. I don’t need pants.”
Will Elijah be back for Season 3?
I was just in New York, actually, finishing up Season 3. I can’t really talk about it too much. I was very excited that they had me back. It was very nice to be asked back. What I can say is that Elijah comes back as if, in some ways, no time has passed. He sort of drops back into that circle of friends and all the shenanigans start up again. In a way, that is so true to life; that happens with friends. People come in and come out, and he comes back in again and starts up with all the same bullshit again.
So you’re in LA right now. Does this mean we’ve lost you? Have you left New York?
I’m kind of going back and forth, but I’m more here in Los Angeles. Like I said, I’m happy going back to work on Season 3, but I made the commitment to stay out here for longer. I know I’m not supposed to say this as a New Yorker, but Los Angeles is not that bad. It’s kind of nice. After 15 years of living in a studio or a small one- bedroom it’s weird to have space. It’s weird to have multiple places to sit. My boyfriend and I, when we first got here, we’d just run from room to room. I realized as an adult I finally got to live in an apartment that has doors. A bedroom door is a nice thing to have. The trick is that you can’t look for New York out here. It’s its own city. But when you stop looking for it, it’s cute and it’s nice here. But it’s not New York. It’ll never be New York.