Ew, David! The journey of Alexis Rose has unfolded in fascinating ways over the past four seasons of Schitt’s Creek, with the sassy materialistic heiress not only leaving her billionaire past behind, but downright thriving in her new boondock town. She’s finally a high-school graduate at the ripe age of 30, running her own one-woman public relations business, and all while serving such chic bohemian lewks! Ahead of the Schitt’s Creek season finale, which airs Wednesday night on Pop, Vulture hopped on the phone with actress Annie Murphy to discuss how she landed the role of Alexis, what it’s like to play around with Catherine O’Hara’s fabulous wigs, and the inspiration behind that great vocal fry accent.
I feel like Schitt’s Creek mania has swept across the U.S. over the past few months!
It’s so cool to watch it start snowballing. People are still coming out of the woodwork who haven’t heard about it. All of a sudden they binge it over a weekend, and they’re in. Keep bingeing, everyone!
I heard that you auditioned for Stevie because Abby Elliott, Chris Elliott’s real-life daughter, played Alexis in the original pilot. In those early stages, were you like, Jeez, this show is just a cesspool for nepotism?
[Laughs.] Abby did play Alexis in the pilot, and she was in the video of the pilot they sent around initially. But then she ended up booking something else and wasn’t available to play Alexis anymore. Thank God, let me just say. I auditioned for Alexis and I got a call from Dan [Levy] after my first audition, asking me to also audition for Stevie. So I ended up testing for both of those ladies, and it was super fun to be able to play different characters. But as soon as I met Emily [Hampshire, who plays Stevie], I was like, Why on earth would these people entertain the idea of anyone else playing this part? She blows it out of the water. I think a part of it was, I was a brunette when I auditioned. And Eugene was having a really, really hard time wrapping his head around the fact that Alexis is blonde and Annie Murphy is brunette. He couldn’t quite get there, so Dan had to tape pictures of blonde hair on my picture. It finally got through to him, thank goodness.
In an alternate universe, how do you think your Stevie would’ve compared to Emily Hampshire’s Stevie?
I couldn’t pull off that deadpan like Emily does, so who knows? Let’s not even think about this, girl! I don’t want to live in a world where Emily doesn’t play Stevie!
Your accent work is the highlight of the show for me. Was there an evolution of how you perfected it, and did you study anyone’s voice in particular?
Ah, that nasty old vocal fry. I couldn’t bring myself to watch full episodes of things, so I watched a lot of YouTube clips of certain reality shows about certain rich famous people. I popped my eyelids open with toothpicks and watched and watched and watched. It’s a level of comedy where it’s so beautifully unnatural and I had to bring that fry to the character. Alexis certainly has a voice and a tone to her. For the first couple of weeks every season, I end up bringing it home with me. I’ll talk to my husband, Can you turn the heat down? I’m cold! Luckily, it fades after two weeks and my husband is thrilled when it finally stops. This is the first role I’ve done where it’s a significant departure of me in real life, so it’s fun to strap on fancy shoes and a made-up face and be Alexis.
Did Catherine model her accent after someone as well?
There are a couple of people, friends of friends, who she’s met over the years at parties that had their particular way of speaking. But I’m not naming names! It’s so magical to watch her draw a one syllable out into five- or six-syllable word. It’s an art form.
Most importantly: Have you gotten to play around with all of her wigs?
I’m desperate to. Dan and I are drooling most of the time over those wigs. On occasion, we’ve maybe gone into the hair and makeup trailer and did a bit of a wig fashion show. Only a couple of times! Maybe Catherine doesn’t need to know about this. The wigs are just so much fun, and it’s hard to keep our grubby little paws off them.
Is there a quota on the amount of times you have to say “David” per episode?
It’s become a bit of an epidemic in the script. [Laughs.] In season two and three, it really started hitting its stride. It’s written in the script like, You’re gonna do this anyway, but we might as well just write in on paper. Sprinkling it in is similar to saying like all the time. It’s a crutch at this point.
Speaking of David, how would you define the sibling dynamic between the two?
David and Alexis, although they would never, ever admit it, are best friends. They’ve formed such an incredible bond. Before they lived in the motel, they were on other ends of the earth most of the time with their fake friends, and this situation in the motel really formed a bond between them. They’re more similar than it seems and they care a lot more for each other than they let on. Even though they fight and bicker like an old married couple, they’re a proper brother and sister and always there for each other. It’s been such fun to play with Dan. I met him at the audition for the show, but it always felt like we’ve known each other for too long. Years and years and decades and centuries. Being able to bring the dynamic that we have in real life to the set has been so much fun.
Alexis’s slow transformation from a spoiled, bitter brat to a ambitious professional has also been lovely to see unfold. Was there a particular moment when this switch occurred?
I think it was when she had her heart broken for the very first time. With Mutt and Ted — what a lucky, lucky girl with those two — she’s come into this situation having broken a lot of hearts and not really caring about it. She never truly cared for another person before, or being in the position of not having what she wants. Having your first heartbreak is so significant and she’s having it at the age of 30, just after graduating high school. [Laughs.] I’m so proud of the way she deals with it, because we all know how nasty it can be.
Do you see this new Alexis as her true personality now, or do you think she’ll revert back to her old ways?
Irresponsible Alexis is never going anywhere! Let’s not kid ourselves. But I do think having this newfound independence and confidence is really appealing to her and she’s having a lot of fun being a bossy-boots and running her own business. I don’t think that drive isn’t going anywhere, but the old Alexis is still very much alive and well.
Have the writers explained why the show is always set during the summer? I feel there would be so many hijinks to mine during a Schitt’s Creek winter.
Have you painted yourself a vivid picture of what shooting in Canada is like in the middle of winter?
It could be … fun?
Not at all. It’s pretty damn bleak. [Laughs.] Also, the town in Ontario that we shoot is blossoming this time of year. The trees are turning green and the skies are blue and the air is fresh. There’s this bakery on the corners of an intersection where we shoot, and they have the best butter tarts. You don’t know what butter tarts are, you’re American! Think of the most delicious dessert from heaven. So we go to the bakery and we stand around outside in the sun, as opposed to crying tears of ice in the cold. That’s why we shoot in the summer. And also because we’re big babies.
At this point, if the Roses were to suddenly be reunited with their money, do you think they would leave the town?
This is only speculation, because if I give anything away, Dan will drop a bunch of locusts into my bedroom while I sleep. But I think Moira, no matter how comfortable she becomes in the town and no matter who she befriends, will get the fuck out of there tomorrow. In a heartbeat. Right now, she’d leave no matter what. Johnny will go with her because he’s such an adorable and loving husband. The kids have found their first true friends and true love, but still, both of them have this inherent worldly and travel-y wild side to them. I’m in the dark as much as you are. All I know for sure is that Moira would get the fuck out of there.
What would she do without her wigs?
She can fly them out when she misses them, wherever she is, whatever island she’s on, whatever part of Paris she’s in. She’ll find a way, don’t worry.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
I’ve added HD screencaps from this week’s episode of Schitt’s Creek. What a great episode it was! I can’t wait for next week’s episode. This season is fantastic. Enjoy the photos.
I’ve added a bunch of missing photos of Annie from Schitt’s Creek from seasons 1 – 4, including HD screencaps from the most recent episode. I’ve also added higher quality replacements of a recent photo session of Annie. Thanks to my friend Claudia for the North Vancouver magazine scan. Enjoy!
Schitt’s Creek: 04×10 – Stills
Schitt’s Creek: 03×12 – Stills
Schitt’s Creek: 02×13 – Stills
Schitt’s Creek: 02×01 – Stills
Schitt’s Creek: 01×01 – Stills
Schitt’s Creek: Promotional Images
Schitt’s Creek: Posters
Schitt’s Creek: Promotional Graphics
2017: North Vancouver Magazine
I’ve added HD screencaps to tonight’s episode of Schitt’s Creek. What a FANTASTIC episode! Enjoy.
“Schitt’s Creek” actress Annie Murphy was also a late-joiner, but says she’s made “great strides” online, thanks to help from co-star Daniel Levy. “Great strides. I think before the show, I had tweeted maybe three times and now look at me!” Murphy jokes. “Sometimes I retweet things twice a week!” “I’ve also, over the course of four seasons, been like, ‘Hey, you want to live tweet maybe tonight because the show is on? I don’t know? Could help.’ You’ve shown up. You’ve shown up,” says Levy. “Flourishing social media presence!” Murphy found social media “overwhelming.” “I think I just got quite overwhelmed by the constant bombardment of information and not necessarily information that I wanted to absorb,” she admits. “But it’s unavoidable.” Season four of “Schitt’s Creek” premiered Jan. 24 on the Pop Network in the U.S.
I’ve added HD screencaps of the new episode of Schitt’s Creek. I loved this episode! What did you think? What was your favorite scene?
I’ve added a bunch of missing photos of Annie from her recent appearances. She looked beautiful as always. I’ve also added a couple new photo sessions. Enjoy the photos.
Welcome to actor Annie Murphy’s new sex and relationship column, Ask AnnieThing, where you, YES YOU, can ask her your most pressing life questions. In this column, she takes on dating in the #MeToo era.
Q: I’m casually dating, and the conversations on my most of dates frequently turn to #MeToo. Some dudes say super problematic things like “not all guys are like that” and “men are being attacked.” Explaining why these views are offensive and wrong is exhausting. What should I do? I feel like giving up dating.
FIRST OF ALL, let me begin by using up some of my 500 words to thank you for being my very first question-asker in my very first advice column. Thank you. My hands are uncomfortably clammy and I feel mildly ill, as opinions these days (no matter how tame) always seem to be met with very loud shouts of: “I say we KILL the beast!!!” but liiiiiike…it’s also very important to have said opinions, despite the threat of pitchforks and meanies. So here we go.
DO NOT GIVE UP DATING, PAL! Think about all of the interesting people, and weird family stories, and good (and bad) kisses, and potential trips to the aquarium you’ll miss out on if you do. No giving up. There are fish to be seen.
I do, however, totally understand your frustration with statements from guys like, “men are being attacked.” It’s hard to hear things like that and not have the impulse to break down a wall with your face. Or rest your face in your soup. Or at least face-palm your face. I get it, because I too have face-palmed my face.
It’s been a real struggle (especially over the past year or so) to react to inflammatory comments with articulate and thoughtful offerings, as opposed to a nice, simple, knee-jerky “Are you F-CKING kiddddiinnnnggg me.” BUT I challenge you (and me, and whoever else might be reading this) to give it a try. Sit down with yourself and a tea or a wine, or some f-ckin’ chips, or whatever you need, and try to latch onto some thoughts you’d feel really proud of yourself for saying next time you’re faced with a “I feel like men are being attacked.”
IMHO (trying IMHO out for the first time, not sure if I like it), a lot of guys who are saying things like this aren’t saying it to incur the wrath of billions of women over thousands of years. They’re saying these things because they’re confused and a little scared. Because they haven’t taken the time to sit down with a tea or a wine or some f-ckin’ chips to figure out exactly what they want to say and exactly how they want to say it. This incredible social shift is a new experience for women AND men, and with new experiences come new thoughts and feelings and emotions, and yes, a lot of the time, some very short-sighted questions.
It should not be up to women to educate men on all things #MeToo. It should be up to everybody to educate themselves. That said, much education comes from discussion. Some of those discussions happen in schools, or in the workplace, or on the internet. And fortunately/unfortunately, some of them happen on a date, when you’d rather be talking about that time your cousin choked on a hotdog at the Westminster Dog Show.
These conversations—#MeToo, not #hotdog—are so, so, so, important, and for the foreseeable future, no matter how frustrating, we have to have them. Hopefully your next (more thoughtful and patient? less annoyed?) conversations will lead to dinner, and then maybe another date. Where you can talk about dog shows, and tropical fish, and your favourite kind of f-ckin’ chips.
Got a question for Annie? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet at @FLAREfashion using the hashtag, #AskAnnieThing. She’s listening
The cast of Schitt’s Creek including Dan, Annie, and Emily, were in attendance at the 2018 Canadian Screen Awards. They all looked AMAZING. Check out some photos in the gallery along with some photo session additions. Enjoy!