Let’s get this straight: Michelle Trachtenberg only plays a pot dealer on TV. If you happen to overhear the actress discussing her side job while walking down the street, know that it’s only her role as college student Emma on the seventh season of ‘Weeds’ that she’s talking about.
Emma has caused plenty of trouble for the fresh-outta-prison Nancy Botwin (Mary Louise Parker), as the two women fight over the same New York City territories for their dueling weed businesses. “Emma is probably just as ruthless as Nancy is, except without as much of the experience,” Trachtenberg told AOL TV when she called us last week to discuss her ‘Weeds’ guest arc.
Below, the 25-year-old actress expounds on what it’s like to deal drugs (fictionally, of course), hooking up with Hunter Parrish and the A-list star she’s modeling her career after.
What’s it like playing a drug dealer?
Very funny. Myself, I don’t partake in the weed, so I didn’t really know what happens after you smoke it, how do you deal it, how do you sell it? My friends were like “Oh, don’t worry about it, we’ll teach you.” I was like “Okay!” So I definitely had to go back to the writers for some research, but it’s kind of fun. And now I’m just randomly saying, walking down a New York street while on a phone call, “Well I’m a pot dealer!” and seeing how many people turn to look.
In Monday’s episode, things get kind of steamy with Silas.
Yes, it’s true. Basically, Hunter and I only pick projects to work on together where we make out and are in bed. This is our second foray — we also did a movie called ’17 Again’ together a few years ago. We only got to make out then, so now we’ve taken it a step further. So I like to think that in our next project I’ll be pregnant.
What is it like doing a racier scene like that?
Those scenes are awkward, really. You have like 30 crew members staring at you, and it’s all technical. We had such a problem with those pillows because those sheets which were so silky, and they kept sliding down. It’s like, “Well, we can’t see her face!” There’s one point where I scratch my nails down his back, and then we had to recreate it. It left such a great mark so they were like “Okay, let’s go with that.” So they had to paint in the color of the scratches and every time you had to match the way that your hand scratched. So it’s really not as sexy as everyone thinks. It’s really technical.
What’s it like playing opposite Mary Louise Parker?
It’s amazing. Watching her work is kind of like learning. I feel like you learn on every single set from every actor, and particularly when working with other talented female actresses you really pick up different nuances and study and learn different things. There are so few women within her category that can be dramatic, comedic and a combination of both that’s really terrific, so it was nice to be able to get on set and experience that. We also had a great time off camera, so it was good.
Do you prefer drama or comedy?
I do like doing both, but drama can be sometimes a little more exciting because you never know what’s going to happen. I think comedies are a little harder because if it’s actually funny, then it’s really difficult to stop laughing.
How do you keep a straight face?
It’s hard. Things like the ‘Gossip Girl’ gag reels that are on the DVDs are really the edited version of what the real gag reel is. We’re all a bunch of goofballs — every actor has a bit of a goofball in them — and the stopping laughing is quite the challenge.
So do you bite your lip? What do you do?
You have to think of like, “Oh, grandmas and tweed and cemeteries” and different things. Anything that’s not funny or sexy.
Speaking of ‘Gossip Girl,’ when will we see Georgina back?
You will! But if I tell you, I’d have to kill you. Isn’t that the saying?
Excellent. She always stirs things up nicely.
She does. There is always time for Georgina. It’s not really a season with some Georgina. You just never know when she’s going to pop up.
That’s true. She comes in, stirs things up, leaves, and everyone’s left reeling.
Yes. It’s Hurricane Georgina.
Any chance we might see you pop up on your ‘Buffy’ costar Sarah Michelle Gellar’s new CW show, ‘Ringer’?
I talk to Sarah often, and I’m really excited for her show. I went to visit set when she was here in New York filming and it looks amazing. Honestly, I have so much on my plate right now that I can’t forsee a time to do that in the future, but you never know!
What are you working on right now?
I just finished ‘Weeds’; I have a movie called ‘Sexy Evil Genius’ that we literally just finished as well. I’m about to start work on a project I of course can’t talk about so that’s not very helpful! I’m also producing a lot now, so I have several projects in development. This kind of year is ideal when you’re going into the producing aspect because there’s less sort of movie stuff going on and more development stuff, which is very addicting and exciting, and it’s definitely going to be a part of my future for a very long time.
Is that something you’ve
always wanted to get into?
Yeah, I think in order for an actor to have longevity in the business you have to be a part of several different fields. You look at Sarah Jessica Parker — she, truly for me, is the epitome of the success story in the sense that she was a child actor, and then she was an actress, and she has a very lucrative producing career.
I’ve known her — oh my God — for like 15 years, since back in the day when I did ‘Inspector Gadget’ with Matthew [Broderick, Parker's husband], and she’s one of the most inspiring, extraordinary women. She runs the show, but with white gloves on in the loveliest way. That, to me, has always been a symbol of “this is something you should definitely look for in your future.” The fact that she can split acting, producing and being a fashionista is kind of like the ideal dream.