In its upcoming second season, the Amazon original series Mozart in the Jungle continues to focus on a (fictional—and very funny) philharmonic and the off-stage antics that go along with it. With the latest batch of episodes, however, things seem to be developing just as much off-stage as they are on. It’s especially true for actress Hannah Dunne, who plays Lizzie, a roommate and friend of Lola Kirke’s oboist Hailey who has become one of the series’ most compelling characters.
Here, Dunne explains how she and real-life pal Kirke ended up on the show together, why Lizzie’s outsider status is refreshing and whether she ever makes it to the symphony off-screen.
On the series, you and Lola Kirke’s character Hailey are roommates. In real life, you and Lola are close friends. How did that work out?
I was asked to audition, and then I went for a callback and they cast me! And then I asked, so, who else is on the show, and they said Lola Kirke. She’s my oldest friend in the world, so it was funny timing.
Is it a good thing to work so closely with someone you know so well?
Oh, yeah! It makes it really the most fun. And having Lola there has been a huge help.
I was very green when we first started, so being able to have a best friend there who is on your side and you can ask whatever stupid question made it really lovely.
This is your first TV series. What about Mozart in the Jungle made you want to be part of it?
My character, Lizzie, was just so fun and the people involved. When I was first reading, it was a really funny script and I liked how filthy it was. Lizzie had a mouth like a sailor from the get-go, so I thought that it seemed like a really fun part to play with. I liked that I can have fun with her. She was kind of so ridiculous in her own way.
She’s also one of the few characters who’s not herself a classical musician. She’s a bit of a relief for the viewer in that way.
She adds a different force to the show. She doesn’t play any of these instruments, but she lends this giddy feeling to the serious energy that Hailey is surrounded by. While everyone else has this thing that they’ve been working on all of their lives, she’s still trying to find what s he’s good at.
Is that something the second season has in store for her?
I think there’s definitely some fun stuff happening this season. Lizzie gets a little more comfortable with herself and gets a little more direction. She has a boyfriend, who is played by Jason Schwartzman, and they travel the world and… I actually don’t know if I’m allowed to say much beyond that.
The show focuses on the behind-the-scenes nature of serious artists at work. Is what happens off-camera on Mozart similarly salacious?
No! I guess me and Lola will go off and have some fun, but we’re best friends. Mostly it’s a lot of jokes. Everyone is so rooted in comedy that there’s a lot of laughing in between takes. I don’t think it’s quite as cutthroat as the classical music world; they party a little harder.
Has working on the series made you a regular at the philharmonic?
I should be! But I honestly haven’t gone often enough. Lola and I have been talking about it, but we haven’t had the pleasure yet.