Interview Exclusive: Hillary Anne Matthews Heightens The Hilarity On ABC’s New Sitcom ‘Alex, Inc.’!
Amusement ensues as the new sitcom, Alex, Inc., arrives on the ABC network March 28th. Many have pondered the possibility of ‘risking it all’ to pursue their dreams, but Alex Schuman actually takes the plunge. Of course, it helps to be surrounded by love and support. Enter the adorable Deirdre Riordan played by actress Hillary Anne Matthews. Deirdre may be a bit quirky but she does whatever it takes to help to Alex succeed. Fan Fest News was fortunate to catch up with the charming Ms. Matthews to discuss her role in the upcoming comedy.
Linda: Hi Hillary, I see you have a new show coming up, Alex, Inc., it looks like fun.
Hillary: Yes! It was a complete blast to shoot and so I’m glad it sounds like fun to you. I really hope that people enjoy it when they watch it.
Linda: Can you tell me a little bit about it?
Hillary: It premieres March 28th at 8:30 pm right before Modern Family and it is based loosely on a start-up called Gimlet Media. The guy who started it really put everything on the line, he had a great job and he left that and he has a wife and two kids and a mortgage and he took a major swing that really ended up paying off for him. That is where our story begins. Zach Braff plays Alex Schuman and I am one of his co-workers, I was his producer at his previous job and I follow him over to his new company because I really believe in him. My character is Deirdre, she is a total weirdo, she’s very competent and she’s a freak. (laughing) She is a very good counterbalance to Michael Imperioli who is a very old school kind of no-nonsense type of guy. It was very, very fun to bounce around with Michael and Zach. It was a very fun set.
Linda: How did get involved with the show? Did you know Zach?
Hillary: No not at all. I just auditioned on a torrentially rainy day in LA and my feet were soaking. (laughing) It was a very warm room, auditioning was fun from the jump which is really saying something because it can be so intimidating and they were just, Zach and the producers and Matt the showrunner, they were just so fun off the bat. I felt and feel really lucky I get to be a part of it.
Linda: That’s awesome! Was there something that drew you to the show itself or your role specifically? What do you love about Deirdre?
Hillary: It’s specifically a role that I am drawn to. I mean, who doesn’t love a woman who’s on top of her game but also very human in the sense that she is a little out of control and she’s very good at her at her job and interpersonally can be a bit of a psycho. It’s very enjoyable and also, I relate to it. I relate to her. (laughing)
Linda: That was one of my questions as well. Do you share similarities with Deirdre? And what would you say is the biggest difference between you and her?
Hillary: She’s very type A, I can be very type A and she is definitely a nut and I can definitely be a nut. The biggest difference, oh gosh, what a good question. I think that she is even more off the beaten path. I’m more mainstream than she is. She’s got me ‘out-weirded’ for sure. (laughing)
Linda: I love weirdness in people. (laughing) The relationship between your character and Zach’s character, what is that like on the show?
Hillary: She is really enamored of him, she believes in him as a boss and a person and she’s all in supporting him so, it’s kind of like, ‘oh captain my captain’. She will do anything for him but also she knows him very well which is a real asset to their working relationship. She can kind of coddle him in the time he needs to be coddled, which she loves, and then also she has the knowledge about his personality to kind of guide him.
Linda: And how is your personal relationship with Zach?
Hillary: He is very fun, he likes to give me a hard time. (laughing) It’s great! I learned a lot from watching him work and being on set with him and he’s a good time.
Linda: I notice that you enjoy the comedic roles. Who inspires you?
Hillary: Oh my god, I mean too many to name. Julia Louis-Dreyfus is incredible, Amy Poehler is incredible. Those are just off the top of my head. Those are like the more broader comedic roles that I can think of that have a lot lasting power. Steve Carell performs as Michael Scott, that’s my favorite, I also love the kind of dryer stuff.
Linda: You were always drawn to that genre?
Hillary: Definitely. I’ve heard people say, drama’s easy, comedy’s hard but, I don’t know if I feel that.
Linda: I don’t believe that.
Hillary: I know right!? My training is at an improv theater and that’s really where I live. I think that there’s a lot of truth in comedy as they say. I like comedy because you can be broader and more ridiculous and there’s so much comedy to be found in the minutia of everyday living. To the naked eye does not appear broad or out of control but it’s still there.
Linda: I did visit your social media a bit and I was laughing while reading some of the posts. You tweeted something about your mom and I thought, she’s pretty funny. (laughing)
Hillary: Oh my god! I will have to tell her that because she’ll die. She’ll be really happy. Do you remember which one it was?
Linda: It was something about her reading about dogs and depression. I’m sure your mom was trying to be serious it.
Hillary: Oh yeah. I’ll just ask her and that’s what happens! You know that’s funny because it’s like I’m not even doing any work, she’s just giving me that material. (laughing) I’ll tell her that, she’ll get a kick out of it.
Linda: Please do!
“What are you doing on your phone, Mom?” “Reading about dog depression.”
— Hillary Matthews (@faloray) November 24, 2017
Linda: I don’t want to take up too much of your time but I’d like to go back to the show for a second. Could you give me three words that best describe Alex, Inc.?
Hillary: Yes I can. I would say ‘family’ is one, they have a really wonderful rich family dynamic going on. ‘Scrappy’ because they’re growing this business and they really don’t have a blueprint or much of a game plan and they still make it work. Lastly, I would say ‘underdog’ because there’s no reason why they should succeed. (laughing)
Linda: But they’re going for it anyway.
Linda: If you’re up for it, I’d like to end with five quick questions that give the fans a taste of your personality.
Linda: What is your guilty pleasure?
Hillary: Reality TV. The Bachelor, Vanderpump Rules, The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. That’s trifecta.
Linda: Do you have any secret talents?
Hillary: I would honestly like to say no, I put all my talents out there. I always do find a way to make a dessert with any ingredients I have on hand. Nothing will stop me from figuring out a way to combine peanut butter, chocolate whatever is around. Cocoa powder, coconut oil… I make it happen!
Linda: What sitcoms do you watch?
Hillary: My all-time favorites are 30 Rock and The Office. Those are my above and beyond. Right now I’m enjoying Silicon Valley and I love, love, love, love, love Better Things… I think Pamela Adlon is fantastic on that. And I also adore Broad City.
Linda: You get to have five people at a dinner party.Who is there?
Hillary: Oh shoot, I’m already thinking too hard about it. Ok, I would say Elizabeth Cady Stanton (the famous suffragist), Betty White, Donald Glover, myself, my parent’s dog and my Aunt Amy.
Linda: What is something you would like people to know about yourself that you never get asked?
Hillary: I would like to be asked how much I care about recycling and the answer is passionately and deeply.
Thank you, Hillary Anne Matthews, for taking the time to speak with Fan Fest News. Let’s all share Hillary’s passion in showing kindness to our planet and recycle! Also, be sure to catch the charismatically kookie Deirdre on ABC’s Alex, Inc. March 28th!