One thing’s for sure when watching Apple TV+’s series Shrinking, Jessica Williams really loves her character Gaby. And why shouldn’t she? We do too. Williams revealed to me that playing Gaby has definitely been her “dream job,” something that comes across every time she is on screen. Her performance as Gaby is a breath of fresh air on a series which often deals with heavy matters such as the passing of a mother/spouse, the onset of Parkinson’s disease, and PTSD,
This may explain why upon first watch I toyed with the theory that Gaby may be a muse or an angel spreading positivity to those around her. While that idea has been dismissed she is still a joy to watch. Williams brings Gaby to life by injecting the character with qualities of herself, including some improv, to deliver an infectious mix of funny, sassy, sexy, compassionate, honest and loveably unpredictable. Gaby is that perfect person to hang out with at a party, because you know she will keep things interesting and definitely fun.
Jessica Williams sat down with Awards Radar to discuss her scene-stealing work as Gaby. The idea of being a scene stealer is all the more impressive when you realize who she is working with comedy heavyweights like Jason Segel, Christa Miller, and Harrison Ford to name a few. While delivering big moments is the most obvious part of Williams’ performance, take note of Gaby’s smaller moments with her fellow cast, they are what makes her fly.
Watch my full conversation with Jessica (below). You can also check out the excerpts – they cover only a small part of our 30+ minute talk where Williams’ spirit and passion really show.
Jessica Williams on bringing her flavor to each scene:
“One of my favorite directors on the show was this director, James Ponsoldt, who’s really lovely, and just a really good director would pick out a lot of the weirdest stuff that I did. That was really nice, because I always tried to make sure I was doing a toned down version, that was just the script the first few times so that they have it. Then I would make sure to just try and make it each scene as unique -like something needed to happen in each scene. So I tried to make sure that I was able to bring that to every scene that I did.”
“Bill Lawrence made it very clear that I could improvise, because they had seen The Daily Show and stuff like that, and they knew I came from a comedy background. So they were like,” you know, ‘We’d love for you to improvise on set. So that was really exciting. Then, I think, very quickly, I found that I got the job, like, I don’t remember, but it had to have been the next day or that night or something. And so, it was just kind of a no brainer. And then like a couple of days after that. I found out Harrison Ford was had signed on and it was one of those things I was like, holy…”
On playing against Harrison Ford:
“My favorite scenes are the ones where we’re all in the kitchen. It’s me, Jason and Harrison. Because the dynamic really shifts when it’s the three of us together, in that it’s a little bit of Jason and I wanting Harrison’s approval – which I mean, I don’t think is too far off for anyone. I think you meet Harrison Ford, and you want to have a beer with him or something. You want you want to drink with him, and you want his approval on some level. So it was it kind of wrote itself, but it was really nice. And that’s maybe my favorite relationship on the show, one of them is Gaby and Paul’s relationship, because there’s something really lovely about how he comes through for her at the end. He shows up and kind of barges into the office – even though she already got the job. There’s this modern take where he’s like, ‘Well, I’m gonna do it anyway.’ And he does a speech. And I don’t know, I felt really lucky that I fall somehow on the timeline of Harrison Ford.”
Be sure to watch Jessica’s work on season one of Shrinking streaming exclusively on Apple TV+. The series was created by the powerhouse team of Bill Lawrence, Brett Goldstein and Jason Segel.