In ‘The Bear,’ Molly Gordon Is More Than the Girl Next Door

On a recent Monday afternoon, the actress Molly Gordon I took a walk in the Soho area of ​​Manhattan. A sarcastic, feisty presence in movies like Booksmart, Good Boys, and Sheba Baby, Gordon wore chunky sneakers, schoolgirl skirts, sunglasses, and a Vogue subscription. looked like a cat lying down.

Many of the actresses may have chosen a stroll through these streets and a peek at some of the fashion flagship stores as their afternoon activity.But Gordon is starring in Season 2 of the FX series “bear,” The show, which aired on Hulu last week, wasn’t a very compelling motive. She stressed organizing her fulfilling acting career while co-writing and co-directing her first feature film. “Theater Camp” When it hits theaters on July 14th, she started grinding her teeth. She was on her way to the dentist to get her new night guard measured.

“Great things, sexy things, everything,” she said of dental equipment. “This is not my last mouthguard.”

Gordon, 27, was known to be a woman of extraordinary charm. “Charming and incapacitating” are the words of “The Bear” star Jeremy Allen White. And this was very much true. She’s even heard her say she’s the type of girl next door. This was less true. Gordon is too knowledgeable and too driven for that matter. She’s more like a girl who knows exactly where you hid your duplicate key and can break into your house at will.

In The Bear, she plays Claire, an emergency room resident and lover of Carmie, White’s nervous chef.When season 1 aired last summer, Carmie social media pinup. (Italian beef, but I’m picky about it.) Still, the early episodes of “The Bear” deliberately avoided allusions to sex or romance. This season, Claire delivers both. So Gordon has the unenviable task of playing an internet boyfriend’s new girlfriend.

Gordon knows the internet can be a scary place, but she seemed almost undeterred that afternoon, about two weeks before Season 2 began. (Not quite, but mostly, “I hope people don’t like me. That’s all I can say.”) Claire was more important. Claire, for her ambition, candor and warmth, feels closer to Gordon than any role she’s ever played. It made Gordon hungry for more.

“She’s not the girl next door. I don’t know what that is,” Gordon said. “She’s so grateful to be able to play this character who can be a human woman, not just a pretty girl.”

A career on camera, and more recently behind it, is more or less Gordon’s birthright. The only child of director Brian Gordon and writer-director Jesse Nelson, she grew up in Los Angeles and became a precocious presence on her parents’ sets and dinner parties. She started her acting career when she was a toddler and she joined a children’s studio in her neighborhood. Adderley Schoolwhere she met actor Ben Platt.

Over the phone, Pratt recalled an early performance. Props may malfunction. Costume comes off. But even when Gordon was a step or two behind the beat, he always shot through it. She struggled in school, but theater was where she could shine and play.

Gordon landed a few small roles in his parents’ projects, but otherwise stuck with school, camps, and community shows, intuiting he still couldn’t handle the rejection auditions would bring. At 18, she entered New York University. She dropped out after two weeks. “It was really expensive,” she explained. “And I couldn’t sit back at how unhappy I was.”

Finding a small apartment, she began taking acting classes, securing representation, and getting the occasional television role. Eventually, Gordon’s type emerged. She is a calm young woman who can express her tenderness and vulnerability. She seems to be doing that poise honestly, but as Pratt said, off-screen Gordon is more reserved, silly and nervous.

“She often plays very cool characters,” Pratt said. “She’s much more interesting and Jewish than that.”

‘The Bear’ creator Christopher Storer, who has worked with Gordon on the Hulu series ‘Ramy’, immediately gave Claire the idea for her. While Season 1 thoroughly disregarded the private lives of restaurant workers, storer and fellow showrunner Joanna Caro wanted to know what would happen if Carmie tried to have a relationship outside of work.

“We wanted to see what it would be like for Carmie to actually try to experience some form of happiness in her life,” he said.

He and Caro decided to play someone who has known Carmie most of his life, someone who sees him for who he is and loves him anyway. In “Ramy”, Storer found Gordon to be inherently adorable. “She is very sweet,” he said. “And she’s so smart. And she’s so funny.” He knew she could lend it all to Claire.

Claire and Carmie reunite in the second episode in the freezer aisle of a grocery store over a carton of veal stock. Claire stares at Carmie. When Rem’s ballad is played, his expression seems to be filled with history, love and hunger. Carmie wears armor against her emotions, but in contrast to Gordon’s Claire, the armor is useless.

“She sees through to Carmie’s heart in a really beautiful way,” White said over the phone.

Ayo Edebiri, star of both “The Bear” and “Theatre Camp” and a longtime friend of Gordon’s, said that Gordon, despite his coolness and penchant for comedy, had access to a “deep well of emotion.” ‘ said he has. “There is a deep reservoir of desire and emotion,” said Edebiri.

But lust and emotion alone cannot sustain a relationship, especially when the man involved has an unresolved trauma the size of a walk-in refrigerator. For Gordon, scenes on Carmie’s other side—the sweet ones, the next morning scenes, the anguished scenes—felt uniquely personal, reflecting her experiences with her past partners. “I’ve been with men and I’ve been very happy with them,” she said. “But that happiness made them very angry and sad.”

And as someone who struggles with work-life balance, Gordon has spent the past year or so filming The Bear, shooting and selling Theater Camp, and trying to get the go-ahead for series planning and feature writing. rice field. Her balance skews all her work, and she’s asked herself the same questions over and over that force Carmie to ask her on her show.

“You can explore things that are really close and dear to your heart,” she said. “Can we embrace love? Can we work and love at the same time?”

So far she doesn’t know the answer.

Gordon didn’t mind playing friends and girlfriends. If she needs the girl next door, she knows her address. But now in her mid-twenties, she’s become more comfortable with her own ambitions, scope, and scope.

“I want to lead a project and I want to develop myself,” she said just before going to her dentist’s appointment. “I can be naive, I can be cynical, I can be dark, but I haven’t always been given that opportunity.

“I am very grateful for what I have, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want more.”

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