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

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction ( as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.