So what happens when you make your best friend your personal assistant? You get a cringe-worthy but brilliantly portrayed series, Doll & Em, depicting just how close you and your bestie can be and the awkwardness that ensues when one becomes your personal assistant. Written by and starring real life friends Emily Mortimer and Dolly Wells their new series taps into the boundaries of the movie star/personal assistant relationship, which is inevitably extremely close and intense, and explores what happens when that personal assistant is your childhood BFF.
Marie Claire: You perfectly showcase female friendship—jealous but loving, passive-aggressive but compassionate, infuriating but irreplaceable. Though you and Dolly aren't really like that in real life?
Emily Mortimer: It's not that Doll and my friendship is so un-fraught with complexity and that there aren't moments of irritation or things, I guess what we have is a complete compulsion like an obsession to talk everything through. So an issue becomes a non-issue very quickly. Our husbands are always surprised and we keep saying, "How can you still be surprised I've told Dolly that? You know I tell Dolly everything. If you don't want Dolly to know something you just have to not tell me."
MC: That's awesome. And your husbands are actually in the series too. Well Doll's is, he plays your husband in the show, but what happened with yours?
EM: There was a scene with my husband, Alessandro [Nivola] who produced it, which never got shot. He pretended he was up for it and then decided to kind of cut his scene at the last minute.
MC: What was the scene?
EM: We wanted him to play a homeless person that got into our car and fell asleep in the backseat and Dolly and I would be driving along and suddenly realize he was in there—because that really did happen to me in real life! He was going to be a symbol of how Hollywood can sort of chew you up and spit you out.
MC: I can't believe that really happened to you! You have so many great actors making cameos in the series. Did you write parts specifically for each?
EM: Yes we did really. We went to Chloë Sevigny first because she was a friend of Dolly's husband. He knew Chloe for many years and we just admired her so much as an actor. And we always knew that we wanted Susan Sarandon in that second episode and incredibly she said yes.
We asked both Emily and Dolly what their top 10 reasons were to NOT work with your best friend. Here's what they had to say:
1. She might be better at the job than you are.
2. You might be better at it than she is.
3. She may be more popular than you.
4. You may be more popular than her.
5. No one to bitch about your work colleagues to.
6. No one to confess your work crush to.
7. It would be really annoying if your work crush started crushing on her.
8. You'd have to stop pretending to be someone you're not.
9. She might tell people you sleep in your socks and hardly ever take your makeup off at night.
10. Your best friend should really be a refuge. The person who makes all the stress of work seem a million miles away.
1. She may be better at it than you. Or much worse. Either would suck.
2. People may like her/fancy her more than they do you.
3. You could see a side of each other that you've done your best to keep hidden (Although, if you are best friends, chances are it will have come out already and she'll be ok with it.).
4. I'm finding this quite hard. Can think of far more reasons TO work with your best friend than not but if her list is superior to mine I may change my mind and sulk.
5. Work may spill over into everything and the special not working part of your relationship may suffer.
6. You could both fall in love with the same person at work.
7. One of you could get a raise and not tell the other and then some shit stirrer might bring it up and it would be the first thing you've kept from each other.
8. Finding it very hard to think of reasons not to work with your best friend! Has Em come up with 26 reasons?
9. They might stop seeming like a treat.
10. You may be on a fun night out but if your best friend goes home because of work the next day you have to as well.
Doll & Em premieres on March 19, 2014 at 10pm on HBO