‘Divorce’: Sarah Jessica Parker Reveals the 1 Thing She Really Wants for Her Character

Divorce is back for Season 2, and there have already been a few big changes. Frances and Robert have signed the divorce papers, so we are seeing them move on to a new stage in life. But does that truly mean they’re done?

We tried to find out that answer and more by talking to the cast of the show. The Cheat Sheet talked to Sarah Jessica Parker, Thomas Haden Church, Molly Shannon, and Talia Balsam at the PaleyCenter on Feb. 8, 2018. Here are nine things they revealed about Season 2.

1. Thomas Haden Church isn’t sure if he wants Frances and Robert to end up together

Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church posing together.

Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church | Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

Q: Sarah Jessica Parker said earlier that she wasn’t still quite sure about the time jump between the finale and the beginning of the Season 2, if it was the right thing to do. What do you think about the time jump?

Thomas Haden Church: I felt that we sort of made peace with the — that it was about six months later and a lot of that sort of onerous to try to put away, not really put away, but at least kind of bury. And they got together and just said ‘Look you caused damage, I caused damage,’ because she did. In the same episode she –her lawyer torpedo a huge financial deal that would literally save our family’s livelihood, and they just, with a flick of a switch, they kill something that could have really dug us out of financial ruin. So there was an attack, a lethal attack on both sides. But I think the six months [pass], and they get together lik,e ‘Look let’s just button this up and just move on repairing our family and repairing our lives and we know other people are gonna come in. Let’s just move on to that.’

Q: Do you personally want them to get back together in the end?

Church: Oh, it’s hard to have an opinion on that. I mean, she’s so lovely and so much fun to work with, but it’s also fun to kind of be at odds and have the occasional dust up, and I don’t know. I know they have a lot of history together that proceeds even the first season, and I think we’ll figure it all out. I really don’t … I don’t know. I really don’t have an opinion yet.

Next: This character will probably make a career change in the future.

2. Molly Shannon doesn’t see Diane sticking with art for long

Molly Shannon smiling and posing in a red dress.

Molly Shannon | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Turner

Q: What do you love most about doing scenes with Tracy [Letts]?

Molly Shannon: First of all, he’s so intelligent and such a strong actor. And he’s a brilliant improviser as well, so we have scenes where we get to improvise and make stuff up when we’re fighting, for example. You’re working with one of the most brilliant minds ever. He’s orally writing stuff that nobody could think of, so he’s just kind and nice. And I truly feel like our characters, it seems like a believable relationship. I think sometimes you kind of see a big loudmouth type like me with somebody a little more quiet like him, you see those types together a lot. So it’s a believable union, I think.

Q: Your character finding your passion, do you think art will actually be her passion? Or do you think it’s something she’s just trying out?

Shannon: I don’t think art’s her passion at all. I think she just likes to wake up and have coffee and put on cute outfits and have somewhere to go. I think she has no interest in, oh I mean, she’s like a blue-chip art director. But is she truly interested in art? Hmm, I don’t know. I think more for her, it’s fun going to the gallery and pretending to have a job. She doesn’t work that hard, she just likes the things around it.

Next: This dramatic scene was improvised.

3. Shannon said Letts improvised in the big fight from Season 1

Tracy Letts wearing dark glasses and a black suit and tie.

Tracy Letts | Jean Baptiste LaCroix/Getty Images

Q: What do you think is the biggest problem in Nick and Diane’s relationship?

Shannon: I think the biggest problem is with Diane’s reactivity. She can really get explosive and kind of blow up. She gets a little out of control, high-strung … so does he. They both do. They both kind of go at one another as if they’re arch enemies and you know that’s not good. They are acting like they’re enemies. They’re attacking one another. They get too triggered by one another.

Q: Do you have a favorite thing that either of you improvised?

Shannon: We improvised in the pilot episode. We had to improvise our fight before I go and try to shoot him, and he was just like, you know, making stuff up that was so mean. Like sayin,g you know, ‘Tou’re old, you’ll never have a baby,’ like, ‘Look at you, you’re embarrassing yourself.’ Just humiliating me .. and it was really fun to play because I was like, I had to get angry enough where I then go and lose control. So that was a fun scene to do.

Q: Are you rooting for them to stay together or divorce?

Shannon: It would be interesting to see a couple like that stay together because it’s so crazy that, like Sarah Jessica Parker says in the second season, ‘How’s it possible that Diane and Nick has stayed together but we’re divorced? Like how is that possible?’ Yeah, so, you think that in real life sometimes you look at certain couples and you think that.

Next: You won’t see this character return in Season 2.

4. We won’t be seeing Dallas with her son in Season 2

Talia Balsam looking perplexed as she stares straight ahead.

Talia Balsam as Dallas in Divorce | HBO

Q: Last season, you sort of had a strange relationship with your son on the show. So I was wondering are we going to see any more of that this season?

Balsam: No, unfortunately, we didn’t because he was actually working. But I would love to investigate that some more because she was so sort of, you know, just way too on top of him. I thought that was amusing and true.

Q: What was it like working with Dean Winters?

Balsam: Fantastic. He’s actually my neighbor and he’s just — I felt we worked very well together. I do, I enjoy all that with Tony Silvercreek.

Next: These two co-stars are neighbors in real life.

5. Dean Winters and Talia Balsam are neighbors

Dean Winters posing with his hand on his chest.

Dean Winters | Lisa Lake/Getty Images

Q: Is him being your neighbor, did that work in any way on how he got on the show?

Balsam: Oh gosh, no. He’s his own–they wanted him always.

Q: During your scenes together, did you guys ever improvise?

Balsam: We didn’t really improvise in that the stuff was so funny that they wrote that we didn’t really have to veer off. I think that desk breaking was an accident, a fortunate accident from too many takes.

Next: This is how many takes it took for the desk to break.

6. That desk broke after about 20 takes

Sarah Jessica Parker and Molly Shannon sitting on chairs in 'Divorce'.

Divorce | HBO

Q: How many takes?

Balsam: Well it was not — there were a lot of takes but it [was] just landing on the desk, and like, 20 times later, the legs gave out because we were landing on it. But it’s not that many. It just was weak.

Q: We also finally got to see her work this season. I was kind of interested, are we ever going to see her go to therapy because she’s such like a raw sensitive character?

Balsam: I mean, get her own therapy [laughs.] That’s a really good question. Yeah, heal myself, right? I don’t know.

Next: These two people also knew each other before the show.

7. Balsam says she knew Sarah Jessica Parker before Divorce

Sarah Jessica Parker standing in a purple room.

Sarah Jessica Parker in Divorce | HBO

Q: I love the female friendships on the show, so I was just wondering what is it like for you as an actress to be able to portray that since there’s not many female friendships amongst older women on television?

Balsam: In this particular show, and in this case, the women are so easy. We have a very–I love being off camera with them and I love being on camera with them. It’s a nice ease to it.

Q: Before you started did you guys do anything together like a dinner or anything to try and feel out the chemistry for the characters?

Talia Balsam: Well, I’ve known Sarah Jessica before. Molly [Shannon], I didn’t really know but when you meet Molly, you’ve feel like you’ve known her forever. There’s a shorthand between actors anyway, so, yes, we had, and there’s a lot of hours between setups and there’s some singing and dancing that goes on, so we have fun.

Next: This one thing in the show surprised Balsam.

8. The most surprising thing to Balsam was Dallas hooking up with Tommy Silvercreek

Talia Balsam wearing a black and white polka-dotted shirt in 'Divorce'.

Divorce | HBO

Q: In the end, what do you hope for for your character?

Balsam: You know, I always think that they’re very open-ended because I think things writers have come up are so much better than my own little imagination. So I’ve always read it and been like, oh, completely shocked and surprised and happy to do with what they’ve put in front of me.

Q: What was the most surprising thing that you’ve come across so far?

Balsam: The thing with Tommy Silvercreek in the car was surprising [laughs] and just made me laugh and just nuts! So yeah, that was surprising for her, for everybody.

Next: Sarah Jessica Parker want this for her character at the end of the show.

9. Sarah Jessica Parker wants the divorce to be worth it

Thomas Haden Church and Sarah Jessica Parker in 'Divorce'.

Divorce | HBO

Q: What do you want most for your character in the end?

Sarah Jessica Parker: I think that it’s that she’s told in a truthful way and that she — you know, I think that she, after making such a difficult decision, that perhaps it was worthwhile. That good could come of it and she can sort of be the person she imagines herself being.

Q: Lila called her selfish. Do you think that’s actually true about the character?

Jessica Parker: No, I actually don’t. I think the daughter is appropriately angry like 13-year-olds are. I think children often go through divorce and are left with a lot of very complicated feelings that are often not friendly toward one parent or both parents. And I think it’s probably developmentally spot on [laughs.]

Follow Nicole Weaver on Twitter @nikkibernice.

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