INTERVIEW: Lukita Maxwell on Alice, ‘Shrinking’, and Ensembles
While Shrinking focuses on Jimmy (Jason Segel) and his grief, he’s not alone in it. His daughter Alice is also trying to figure out her life without her mother as her father decides to completely lose himself away from her. And Lukita Maxwell brings Alice to life in such a profound way that it’s incredibly to watch and we got to speak with her in the lead up to the series!
With a character like Alice, a lot of her time is spend with Dr. Phil Rhodes (Harrison Ford) and the two find comfort in hanging out together and talking to one another. So I wasked Lukita Maxwell about forming that relationship with Ford and how the two bonded.
“Working with Harrison from the beginning was really natural,” Maxwell said. “I think that just the way that he works, he has a very specific process and knows the energy he’s bringing onto set. And so he’s very powerful and says a lot with few words and as a scene partner is very generous. So I felt like it was really easy to kind of slip into scenes with him, work with him, and that dynamic just grew as our characters were growing into each other as well.”
As I’ve talked a great deal about, Shrinking is an ensemble piece. These actors are together in a community that works by having all these characters flow together but it does mean that these actors all are bringing characters to life who have known each other for years. So I asked Maxwell about creating that ensemble and the challenge there.
“I was really nervous about it at first,” she admitted. “I didn’t really know what to expect. I just was worried about, you know, being the best that I could be. My company is incredible, having all of these really seasoned actors that are phenomenal, that’s just a lot of pressure to go into something and be expected to act alongside them. But everybody was so supportive and were really generous with making sure that I felt comfortable and that I felt good about my takes. And also just having a laugh on set and like keeping things open and I am so grateful that we got close throughout the process.”
Alice is a character who is struggling with her relationship to her dad and also with the loss of her mother so I asked Maxwell what drew her to the role in the first place. “I had worked on this HBO show previously and I played this character that was a very strong young woman,” she said. “And I think that having another Gen Z character come along that was really multi-dimensional and had all of these emotions that she was battling and working through, it was just really appealing. I just wanted to sink my teeth into it. Also, the comedy of it was super exciting. I’ve never done that and I wanted to sink my teeth into it.”
But the series itself also has a balance to it. There are darker moments in the comedic elements and vice-versa and I asked Maxwell about how they found that balance on set. “I think that everybody was really just excited and excited to have this energy on set and we had this incredible script every single day,” she said. “That was kind of our guiding light. But Bill and Neil and Jason and everybody were really excited about playing around on set after we got the take. So I feel like a lot of magic moments came out of, you know, when Jason would just like randomly pull a face or like throw in an improv line or whatever. Like it made everything a little bit more spicy and a little bit more flavorful.”
Shrinking airs on Apple TV+.
(featured image: Apple TV+)
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