Emily Mortimer and Dolly Wells will play a closer version of themselves in the second six-episode season of HBO’s Doll & Em, in which they write an off-Broadway play together and hoodwink Evan Rachel Wood and Olivia Wilde into appearing in it, with Wood playing Doll and Wilde playing Em. Ewan McGregor and Mikhail Baryshnikov also guest star.
It’s a second-season effort by the TV versions of themselves to correct the strain put on their relationship in the first season — when Dolly, who has just broken up with her boyfriend, tearfully called actress chum Em, who suggests Dolly come to L.A. to work as her assistant, then gives her menial tasks while insisting they’re close friends.
This afternoon at TCA, when asked if there were things too crazy in their real lives to work in this series, Wells recalled Mortimer taking her to Barneys in Beverly Hills where, when she tried to get out of the car, a passing van took off the door.
“What they have in common, in real life, with the show is a tendency to rush headlong into things together – like writing a show and putting our own names in it without thinking it through,” Mortimer added. It can work to their advantage, but, of course, it leaves them they’re stuck having every moment together of their real lives reduced to a friends insisting, “Oh God, that’s just like a scene from your show!”
On the other hand, just like a scene in their show, the two friends recently got locked out on a balcony by a family dog, which left them looking into the neighbors’ property to seek help, only to discover a man who seemed to be completely naked, except for a belt, at his computer. “We were thinking, ‘Oh great, the only person who can save us is stark naked and doing something with a computer,” Mortimer recalled.
They’ve also cajoled family members into playing themselves on the series, including most particularly their mothers — who, Mortimer said, “are so good, both so natural!”
People who see them assume they are Great Actresses of the British Stage, she added, which compels them to correct that mistake, explaining, ‘No, they’re our mums.’”