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Interview: Aisling Bea Brought the “Funny” Girl to Life in This Way Up

Aine is me and I am Aine.

Aisling Bea This Way Up

One of my favorite things about the show This Way Up is how Aine interacts with people. As someone who hates silence, I constantly want to fill that silence with noise—most of the time, with just random thoughts that popped into my head, which can often seem like I’m uninterested. But in reality, I just don’t like the quiet. And seeing Aine (played by Aisling Bea) react in a similar way delighted me.

Which is what I talked with Bea about for the majority of our interview together. The show centers around Aine and her struggles with mental health and fitting into the world around her, trying to navigate love and family all at the same time. Bea, who also wrote the show, brings Aine to life in such a beautifully honest way that it’s hard not to relate to her. Or maybe that just comes with the territory of being a girl who hates quiet.

But one of the things about Aine that I really love is how she never changes how she interacts with people. How Richard (Tobis Menzies) reacts to her versus how her sister Shona (Sharon Hogan) does varies, but Aine doesn’t. She’s unapologetically herself, and I loved watching how each character takes her in.

“What you’re looking for are your people. And the people who make you feel great. And, no matter who you are, they should be the people you’re around,” Bea said when asked if everyone’s reactions to Aine were written or something she discovered while playing the character. She also explained a scene from a reality show where a man is edited to look “crazy” for his viewpoints until one date comes in and finds him charming. That simple example is, for the most part, why I love Aine.

Being unapologetically yourself is hard, and Aine is far from perfect, but she tries, and she opens herself to failure and hurt and doesn’t always know how to navigate it. But she still tries.

“I think it’s showing someone funny who is funny in the scene. I, over my career, and I often see it a lot, play someone who will do something that makes the audience laugh, but the people in the scene are like, ‘Oh my god. Ugh, shut up. Are you serious? Why is she so weird?’ So I like playing someone who makes the other characters laugh and sells the jokes when the character makes jokes. Not bad jokes, good jokes sometimes. She’s funny, she’s quick, she’s witty,” Bea said when asked what she enjoyed about playing and writing for Aine, and it’s a beautiful look into this character and Aisling Bea’s connection to the show she made.

You can see my full interview with Aisling Bea here!

This Way Up season 1 and 2 is on Hulu and I highly recommend watching!

(image: Hulu)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.