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Interview: Rose Byrne on Getting ‘Physical’ and Developing Her Character in the Show’s World

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. In its second season, the show expands Sheila’s world to show new problems to overcome and existing obstacles that continue to stand in her way.

Awards Radar had the chance to speak with Byrne, who expressed how she feels Sheila relates to the rest of her body of work:

“I was doing Mrs. America, and weirdly, it felt like such an interesting jumping-off point, because it ended in 1980, and this picks up in 1981, I think, season one. It felt like a woman who has lived through those times and become disillusioned with second-wave feminism and has reached this point where she’s still in a pretty traditional marriage, and harboring this dreadful secret… it felt like a companion piece in a way, like Sheila was a lot of those characters in that show in many ways. It was a nice, weirdly, unbeknownst to myself, introduction.”

She also shared her perspective on working with the camera right in your face:

“Craig Gillespie did the pilot, and he’s one of the producers, and he really set the tone visually, the intensity of the camera, and the constant energy and the tension and this war that’s going on inside Sheila’s head. It’s expressed so much visually, which I loved. Like anything, it’s just a technicality that you get used to, like the VO stuff is a technicality. In season three, we really play with a lot of those dynamics, even further. Again, it’s a technical challenge at times. Definitely that first season was finding my sea legs with that. A lot of the actors, when we have new people on, they’re like, whoa! Am I ever going to be looking at you, or am I just going to be looking at the matte box?”

Watch the full conversation below.

Seasons one and two of Physical are streaming on Apple TV+.


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Written by Abe Friedtanzer

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