SXSW Q&A: Constance Zimmer, Shiri Appleby, Freddie Stroma & ‘UnREAL’ Co-Creators


unreal-serie-de-lifetimePreston Barta // Editor

Creators: Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro
Cast: Shiri Appleby, Constance Zimmer, Freddie Stroma, Johanna Braddy, Genevieve Buechner, Brennan Elliott, Bonita Friedericy, Nathalie Kelley, Josh Kelly and Ashley Scott

Cat fights and casual sex are some of the many ingredients that make up the juicy and artificial flavor of reality television. If you have watched shows like THE BACHELOR, perhaps it’s no surprise to you there is little truth within. This is what Lifetime’s new series UnREAL centers on.

Inspired by Sarah Gertrude Shapiro’s award-winning independent short titled SEQUIN RAZE, UnREAL takes audiences behind the scenes of a fictional dating-competition show called EVERLASTING, where producers are not shy when it comes to manipulating contestants and lying to get the vital dramatic and outrageous footage they need.

Marti Noxon, Shiri Appleby, Freddie Stroma, Constance Zimmer, Breeda Wool and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro at the UnREAL premiere at SXSW 2015.

Marti Noxon, Shiri Appleby, Freddie Stroma, Constance Zimmer, Breeda Wool and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro at the UnREAL premiere at SXSW 2015.

What Shaprio and co-creator Marti Noxon (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER) give audiences is a humorous yet riveting look at what happens in unscripted television, where being a contestant can be brutal and producing it is a whole other reality.

Fresh Fiction recently had the opportunity to sit down with stars Constance Zimmer (HOUSE OF CARDS), Shiri Appleby (GIRLS), Freddie Stroma (HARRY POTTER), and co-creators Shapiro and Noxon at UnREAL‘s premiere at South by Southwest in Austin, TX. We discussed the dirty side of television and how being a part of this summer’s must-see drama has shaped their perspective of the industry.

0:35 – The art of a good interview
1:40 – Its premise and signing on
2:15 – Why Lifetime was the right home for UnREAL
5:04 – How being a part of the show has changed their perspective of the industry
8:23 – How Shapiro and Noxon’s relationship formed
9:34 – Favorite guilty pleasure TV shows
13:52 – If they could teach a college course

UnREAL will premiere Monday, June 1, at 10pm ET/PT on Lifetime.

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.