In “Paper Girls,” the new young-adult, science-fiction series from Prime Video, Jason Mantzoukas and Adina Porter play Grand Father and the Prioress, members of the Old Watch. They’re intent on making sure the titular 12-year-old girls stop their time traveling, even if they have to kill them to do it. Did the actors feel bad being so mean to those poor, four lost girls?
“Not at all,” Mantzoukas tells POPSUGAR. “It’s fun to yell at these kids. . . . We had a blast.”
“I’m a mother of teens,” Porter says. “No, I don’t feel bad.”
Mantzoukas’s Grand Father doesn’t appear until the fourth episode of the series and immediately shakes things up. It’s shocking, at first, to see the comedian in a science-fiction show and being so evil. That’s exactly how Mantzoukas wanted viewers to feel. “I came in very late in their shooting schedule, so everything had kind of been settled and all the dynamics and all the relationships,” he explains. “It was really fun to come in and just kind of be bad, kind of get to yell and be threatening, but also be charming. That’s the thing about Grand Father, he is charming. He is funny. But there’s also a real thread of malice and threat to him.”
“It was really fun to kind of be dropped into the world and just kind of bull in a china shop as much as I could just to kind of see if I could knock everybody off balance,” Mantzoukas says. “To see just what would happen with all these preexisting dynamics that were already in place.” Porter was excited to work with Mantzoukas — she was already a fan. “When I found out that he was chosen to be Grand Father, I was excited to play with him, to play against him, to play in his world of improvisation and to go to that level,” she says.
Porter, a veteran of series like “True Blood,” “The 100,” and “American Horror Story,” says that she doesn’t approach genre work any differently than stories with a more realistic setting but instead just focuses on what’s in the text. “[I] give myself permission to be as big as I want to be,” she explains. “I try to make the crew laugh and producers cry. That’s what keeps me employed. That’s the formula.”
“Paper Girls” is streaming now on Prime Video.