Exclusive: Actress Dierdre Friel Talks New Apple+ Dramedy 'Physical'

“Physical” star Dierdre Friel recently gave us an exclusive interview and some insight into the new Apple+ dramedy. The actress, who plays the character Greta, talked about the show, which she thinks is “pretty cool.”
The new show premiered on June 18th, and Friel told us a little of what is to be expected from the show.

“It takes place starting in 1981, and it’s about a woman who, Rose’s character, is struggling through some self-image issues, somebody issues, maybe an unrealized kind of marriage situation. She starts to find personal empowerment through the world of aerobics and decides that physical strength,” said Friel.

The show also features the “Bridesmaids” star Rose Byrne as its main character. When asked about her co-star, Friel said she is. “so wonderful, so funny, so gorgeous and talented.”

“Oh my god, you can’t work with anybody better,” said Friel about her co-star. “What a pro on camera. She’s so giving and generous and really on top of her stuff. Then the minute they’d say “cut” and we’d be between takes, we’d be cracking each other up, cracking jokes, having a great time. Considering what all of the shows had to go through to film this year with all of these special protocols and protections, it could’ve been a very harrowing experience, and in certain ways it was, you felt cautious, but then in other ways, it felt like I was meeting another new friend. She’s the most wonderful person.” she continued.

The show was filmed throughout the pandemic and didn’t finish wrapping until March, so Friel told us what that experience was like and what she and her co-stars did to stay safe during the pandemic.

“Our union SAG-AFTRA did a lot to sort of set up protocols. A lot of the things were people had to be in protective gear as much as possible,” said the actress when speaking about the different COVID safety protocols.

“Actors, of course, had to kind of take it on and off because when you’re shooting on camera, in 1981, no one was wearing masks, right?” she continued. “We had to get tested like three times a week… I’m really proud to say; there were like no transmissions on my set.”

The actress has also starred in other shows such as “New Amsterdam” and films such as “Second Act,” so when asked whether she preferred television or film, the actress joked that she preferred, “whoever would like to give me a job.”

She later went on to compare the craft of acting to being a painter and said, “The best way I can explain it is like if you learn to be a painter, and you worked with acrylics your whole life and then somebody gifts you a watercolor set. You’re like, ‘Oh!’ it’s kind of the same, but it’s different…The best way I can explain it is, I really love doing both; it’s just like using my brush differently.”

The big question of this exclusive interview was, “why should viewers watch ‘Physical’?”

“I think people should watch it because I think societally right now, we’re having uncomfortable conversations around topics, which is good because if we talk about things that aren’t your norm or your comfort zone, you learn about other people. It makes you more compassionate; it makes you have a better-expanded worldview. I really think this show can help people do that… Sit with it and enjoy the storytelling. It’s powerful,” answered Friel.

The actress also talked about how the character’s inner monologues help others get a better view of how harsh people can be on themselves and how important it is to reflect on those thoughts.

Watch more of what Dierdre Friel had to say about the show, including her work on an upcoming project with comedian and actor Ray Romano.

Viewers can stream episodes of “Physical” on Apple TV+.

Photo Credit: Michael Cinquino