Ray Ploshansky spent of Season 1 of HBO's Girls bro-ing out with Charlie, stealing Hannah's journal, playing "crack spirit guide" to Shoshanna, giving fashion advice, and mocking just about everybody. But Season 2 has revealed a softer side of Ray, as he swept the ever-innocent Shoshanna off her feet (literally, and spilling beer everywhere). And in episode 4, Girls viewers sighed a collective "aww" as he confessed his love for Shoshanna while admitting he was a loser—something few other characters are brave enough to do (and let's face it, they are all losers in one way or another). Alex Karpovsky, who plays Ray, spoke to U.S. News about what's to come for his character and what he has learned about the female gender since working on the show.
What is it about Shoshanna that you think is so attractive to Ray?
I think it's her sincerity, more than anything else. Ray is living in a world where he is surrounded by so much irony and hipster shenanigans, and he's very much exhausted and disinterested with it all. And here in the midst of it enters this very sincere, open, genuine soul, in addition to being very attractive and effervescent. I think because of all those things he really is drawn to her.
How involved are you in creating your character?
The writing to me on the show is so clear to me, I really get it and I like it and I have so much faith in it, that I feel like most of it is on the page. Whenever I feel I have questions about it, or there are uncertainties, or there are holes we need to fill, that happens in very short conversations with Lena [Dunham], and/or with Jenni [Konner], one of the executive producers and writers on the show. But there's not really that much. What's nice about the show having a little bit of longevity now is that more and more of the show is tailored to the characters rather than as actors, us having to figure out what the writing means. Now that we have sort of established a little bit of foundation of who we are, they write for you to a larger extent, and that's very nice, and it makes it much more comfortable.
Since the show has gotten more popular, has your life changed much? Are you getting recognized on the street or anything crazy like that?
That's about the only thing that changed that I can concretely quantify. When you ride the subway or when you go out, sometimes people come up and say nice things to you. Usually they only say nice things. I feel like if they don't have nice things to say they usually keep that to themselves. Besides just that—and that doesn't happen that often—nothing has really changed that I can distinguish.
Since working on the show do you feel like you've gained a better understanding of women and how they think?
To me the whole notion of the women's psyche is like a Pandora's box designed by Escher. It's like the more you know, the more I know, anyway, the more confused and intimidated and lost I feel. One of the things I am proud regarding the show is how much of it is rooted in authenticity and believability. A lot of the characters and their arcs and their storylines are very reflective of what I see around me, and what I remember from my younger years, and because of that, I feel the conversation that the girls have, especially amongst themselves, are very accurate, and do give me a glimpse into the female psyche. But going off my initial point, I'm intrigued, I want to know more, but I also feel like the more you learn, the less you know. I think that's like the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle or something, you know, the more you try to investigate this experiment or this unfolding situation, the more cloudy the picture gets.
Without spoiling anything, what can we expect from Ray in future episodes?
The road we started getting momentum down in episode 4 is really explored. Specifically…well, I'll put it this way: Season 1, we are introduced to this character who seems to harbor a lot of cynicism and skepticism and judgment and anger, and we don't necessarily know exactly where it's coming from. We get little glimpses of it, but we don't necessarily probe it. In Season 2, and especially in episode 4 of Season 2, we start to really dig into the underpinnings of the characteristics that were established in Season 1. And to answer your question, there is much more of that peeling back over the subsequent episodes.
Aside from Girls, I read you have a couple other projects in the works. I just watched the trailer for a new Coen brothers film you are in. What else are you working on?
So there's a movie I play the lead in called Supporting Characters, which I am very proud of. It opened theatrically in here New York last Friday [January 25]. There are two movies that I wrote, directed, and acted in which are being released as a double-bill on February 22 at the Lincoln Center in New York. You mentioned Inside Llewyn Davis, I don't know when that is coming out, sometime in the next months. And I play the lead in a movie called Almost in Love which opens in New York on February 15, and it has Alan Cumming in it in a very nice role, and I am very proud of that as well.