Whether you've gotten to know her from her days starring as Dana Gordon on Showtime's critically acclaimed "Entourage," or you've enjoyed some of her most recent roles, you'll know that Constance Zimmer is surely no stranger to playing a strong and unapologetic woman.
Her most recent TV role is that of Machiavellian powerhouse producer Quinn King on Lifetime's critically acclaimed show, "UnREAL." The show follows the chaos that pools around the field producers of "Everlasting," a fictitious television franchise modeled after "The Bachelor." In their quest to make a truly sensational reality TVshow, they stop at nothing to dredge up drama and chaos at the often clueless contestants expenses. She recently stopped by Build Series NYC to talk about the show's third season.
Quinn, fellow producer Rachel Goldberg and the other women on "UnREAL" are no stranger to power trips and role reversals, a topic they messily embrace throughout the series.
"I feel like they're women who play by their own rules," Zimmer says of these brazen ladies, "What makes this show so different is that they'll do anything and everything, and they don't care about the outcome -- as long as the show is good."
Zimmer looks at the show's perspective on gender roles and power dynamics as a unique lens through which to get to know female characters. The construct appears to shift not only in a positive way, showcasing a staff of fearless and hardened female producers, but also in the negative way, showing how these powerful females are also capable of abusing their position.
"You will find that it's unbelievably relevant with what's happening today, but we're also flipping that on its end too, because you will also see that Quinn gets in trouble for being aggressive," Zimmer explained. "It's interesting to see how she handles it, but I think you don't see that often on television either. It's always about a male aggressor. Here we have a female aggressor, and it's different -- it's constantly shifting the perspective."
And the theme of complex female characters doesn't end with Quinn, Rachel or any of the other producers. This season, we're introduced for the first time to a female suitor -- a "suitress." Serena Wolcott, played by Caitlin Fitzgerald, is a successful Silicon Valley venture capitalist who, unlike the other suitors, is here to actually find a partner. She'd made it clear from the beginning of this season that she was not here to play games or be manipulated by the crew. However, with the threat of the network dumping the show weighing on them, the producers are backed into a corner this season. They soon learned Serena wasn't as easy to produce and manipulate as their past contestants have been.
"Rachel and Quinn are faced with another woman who's saying, 'No, you're gonna do this my way, otherwise I'm leaving,' and it was rough," Zimmer said.
The real life counterpart of "UnREAL" -- "The Bachelor" -- has had seasons starring both men and women since 2002, and it loosely inspired a lot of the behind-the-scenes shenanigans viewers enjoy on "UnREAL" every week. Zimmer mentions having lot of conversations with Sarah Shapiro, creator and "Bachelor" alum, about just how intense of an environment it was, similar to the environment created on "Everlasting." She even cited what she referred to as a "meta: synchronicity between the two shows, where an "Everlasting" producer decided to slip one of the contestants a laxative before a date, just two days before the episode of "Bachelor In Paradise" aired during which a similarly disliked contestant was shown passed out in a deck chair, having soiled himself. It inevitably led to her and fellow cast mates to speculate about just how likely it was that a similar production tactic gone wrong might have befallen him.
"I just love that it goes to show you that reality shows go further than even we can even imagine," she said.
Catch Constance Zimmer on "UnREAL" on Lifetime, every Monday at 10/9c