Isla Fisher reveals her surprising struggle while filming Stan’s Original Series Wolf Like Me
It takes a very clever show to make you laugh, cry and jump back in shock all within the space of just five minutes. But Wolf Like Me — which premiered on Stan today — is a show that does it.
Starring Isla Fisher as Mary and Josh Gad as Gary, the show follows their very their strange romance, with both Mary and Gary bearing a lot of baggage and hiding deep secrets. It’s this very premise that drew Isla Fisher to the role.
“I thought, this is this genre-bending concept on the outside, but on the inside it’s about the healing properties about love and openness,” Fisher told 9Entertainment.
“It’s about how these damaged people connect. It’s a quite emotionally honest look at romance and how scary it is to make yourself vulnerable to another person, so I think that’s what I was just gripped on with the story.”
Mary too is both an interesting and rather difficult character to play, and as Isla explains she has multiple dimensions.
“She carries the burden of this shame and doesn’t accept who she is at all, but everybody else really connects to her wants to be around her… I also love that she’s living vicariously through everyone else as an advice columnist and has all these eccentric hobbies. There’s a lot to unpack.”
Mary’s big secret in particular is one of those big things to “unpack”, and it’s a secret you’ll slowly clue on to. You’ll find yourself wondering, ‘Why is she sprinting home before dark like her life depends on it?’ and ‘That’s a lot of bones… does Mary own like 17 dogs?’
And while no, one of Mary’s many hobbies is not dog breeding, animals — such as chickens — do feature heavily in the six-part TV series. Fisher explained that Mary being big on animal rights was one of her [Isla’s] ideas.
“I’m incredibly sensitive to animals,” she said. “Any of the scenes that the chickens were in, we were incredibly gently and everyone was very sensitive to that.”
Fisher sat down with writer, director and executive producer Abe Forsythe ahead of filming to discuss her character.
“Abe was wonderfully collaborative, even though this is a very personal story for him and it’s based on his own personal experience. Early on we had a few meetings, and he did incorporate thoughts about Mary I had into scenes which is very generous of him.
“He’s an incredibly talented director. It felt like an honour that he trusted me with this story.”
Forsythe is known for being the writer of Little Monsters, and one of his talents is meshing different tones together. This comes across in Wolf Like Me.
“This has got horror moments, but also comedic moments, dramatic moments, romantic moments and action,” Fisher explained. “I think that’s what’s interesting about Abe’s work.”
Fisher added that in Wolf Like Me, Forsythe is able to keep people on board with the heavy emotional scenes through the mysterious and more thrilling parts of the series.
“But really he’s serving up this wonderful message about the healing properties of love and openness and the baggage we bring to a relationship and how damaged these people are yet they learn to accept themselves and each other,” she said. “I think it’s a very sophisticated dance.”
Also at the heart of the series is a strained relationship between Gary and his 11-year-old daughter Emma, played by Ariel Donoghue. It stems from the death of Emma’s mother, which they’re both deeply suffering from. Fisher believes that this struggle will resonate with many viewers.
“I know so many single parents who will feel the challenges of going through that and I think there will be so many kids who really identify with Ariel’s character Emma and how depressed she if after she’s lost a parent,” she explained.
But Fisher also thinks the series will be enjoyed by all.
“I think adults that like adult romances will be interested, as will people that like the supernatural. I like to think that there’s a little something about this show for everyone.
“My parents who are a bit older loved it and a friend of mine who’s younger enjoyed it. I think it’s really original so hopefully it finds a fan base.”
Surprisingly, one of the 45-year-old’s biggest struggles in filming was that lots of running was involved, because Fisher proclaims she’s “famous for being the worst runner”.
“When I went to clown school in Paris one of the teachers made me run across this massive hall so everyone could watch me to laugh because it was a funny run, to sort of inspire other clowns to do funny runs. But I was running my best.”
Thankfully Isla got a running coach, allowing her to leave her “constipated Oompa Loompa” running style behind.
“She filmed me running and slowed me down and showed me how ridiculous it was and showed me different techniques, so in the end Mary has the run of an experienced runner instead of the run of a constipated Oompa Loompa.”
Just like Mary will be racing across your screens, we have a feeling that if you start, then you’ll also be racing through this easy-to-binge, six-part series.
Wolf Like Me is available to watch now, only on Stan.