Interview: Dierdre Friel on ‘Physical’ and Working with Rose Byrne and Ray Romano

The 1980s-set Apple TV+ comedy Physical follows Sheila (Rose Byrne), a woman struggling to stay positive against the demeaning voice in her head who finds unexpected purpose in aerobics. Now in its second season, the show is expanding Sheila’s world to show new problems to overcome, potential new allies and enemies, and a broadening of her overall potential.

Awards Radar had the chance to speak with actress Dierdre Friel, who portrays Greta, who becomes friends with Sheila and experiences a rocky road in season two when new elements threaten to unnerve the delicate balance of their dynamic. Friel also previewed her latest film, Somewhere in Queens, which was Ray Romano’s directorial debut and premiered at the Tribeca Festival (Joey fondly reviewed it here). 

On what attracted her to the show and the role of Greta, here’s what Friel had to say:

“Obviously, working with somebody like Rose Byrne is an amazing draw to a project. The role is so body-positive, which is a wonderful thing in my industry to get that opportunity. Annie Weisman’s writing, and her amazing resume, and the writing on this project really spoke to me. As it continued to come together, the cast, the crew, Steph Laing has directed a majority of our episodes, she’s so brilliant. A lot of things came together, and then Apple TV+ kind of busting out the way it has been, it’s pretty exciting.” 

On the most difficult thing about playing Greta:

“She’s so anxious. She’s so unsure of herself that sometimes, when I have to sit in that for a long time and I come out of it at the end of the day, I’m very anxious myself driving in the car. Or my poor boyfriend, when I’m in Los Angeles with him, he’s like, are you okay, and I’m like, no, it was just a very anxious day. There have been wonderful challenging scenes, but in the twisted brain of actors, we kind of get juiced about that. It’s been an exciting thing to let audiences see and share.”

Watch the full conversation below!

New episodes of Physical premiere on Apple TV+ on Fridays through the season two finale on August 5th.


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Written by Abe Friedtanzer

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