Timothy Simons spoke with Solzy at the Movies about the new Hulu limited series, Candy, and what he learned from starring in Veep.
Alongside the actor, Candy stars Jessica Biel, Melanie Lynskey, Pablo Schreiber, and Raúl Esparza. Hulu will launch the limited series on May 9 with new episodes releasing every day through May 13.
Tim, it’s so nice to meet you.
Timothy Simons: Nice to meet you, too.
What was it about the script that drew you to the role?
Timothy Simons: I thought Robin’s writing—Robin Veith, the showrunner—I thought her writing did an incredible job of balancing tones. I found that incredibly interesting. It wasn’t just melodramatic, it wasn’t just funny, and it wasn’t just weird. It was a very odd combination of all those things and that’s what I found incredibly interesting about it right off the bat.
Were you familiar with Candy Montgomery’s story before signing on?
Timothy Simons: None at all. I knew nothing about it so when I was reading the scripts for the first time, I was learning. I was sort of seeing it as if I was an audience member watching it for the first time. I intentionally didn’t look up anything about the about the story until I had finished the scripts that that Robin and the writers had had put together because I wanted to see how the show unfolded in those events, like how the show revealed that information.
How was it getting to work opposite Jessica Biel?
Timothy Simons: She’s incredible. She is massively talented and she’s also a great collaborator. She’s somebody that brings a lot of knowledge and ideas to the table and then is also very open to the performers and the performers that she’s working with and she’s great on set. Most every day that I spent on set, I spent with Jesse and I just really can’t say enough about her. I think she’s incredible.
What do you typically look for in a character while reading a script?
Timothy Simons: I look for just something interesting that seems like it would be fun to play. Or an interesting world to be a part of because being on set can be massively boring, and it can take a really long time. You’ve got to wake up real early in the morning to go do it so it better be fun and interesting to do. I think that there was—I loved the tone and the vibe of the script that Robin put together. I knew Mel a little bit from before that from before this and she had spoken really highly of Michael Uppendahl, who’s the director. I was a big fan of Jesse Biel and Pablo’s. It just seemed like a great thing to jump into. But yeah, mostly just something interesting.
Did you do anything in particular to prepare for the role?
Timothy Simons: Outside of just general reading, we had consultants who were familiar with the case, and I read a lot about the case and the town—all that kind of general research that you do leading up to something like that. But it was nice that we weren’t—we were told very early on, we weren’t going for a photorealistic recreation of events. We weren’t trying to go for a mirror image so there was a lot of creative license that we were able to take. As much research as you did, there was also things that were created that were just sort of spun from whole cloth. I guess that if something worked for what an idea that I had from real life, I would use it and if something maybe didn’t match up, I would just be like alright, well I’m gonna go ignore that part of it.
I’m a Star Wars fan so I have to say that I enjoyed the Darth Vader impression.
Timothy Simons: Oh, nice. Thank you! I was trying to do—I did not work on it because I just thought like, if it ends up being a good impression, great. If it ends up being just like the best version of a dad joke impression of Darth Vader, even better—because Pat would just do the dad jokiest version of Darth Vader so I really just tried to do. I did not work on it at all.
Well, for not working on it, I thought it sounded good.
Timothy Simons: Excellent. Thank you.
Growing up in Maine, how did you first become interested in acting?
Timothy Simons: I didn’t start until I was in college. But my parents—there was a summer stock theatre—a really small town in Maine, a couple towns away from where I grew up—that did that did Shakespeare plays and did Molière plays and they would do Samuel Beckett shows. One of the first plays I saw when I was in seventh eighth grade was Waiting for Godot. That was sort of like the beginning of my interest in theater in general. It wasn’t till college that I started getting interested in acting. I think I saw it as just like, Oh, if I get that job, then I get to just sleep in because plays don’t start until eight o’clock at night—and then I started acting in films and you have to get up at 3:30 in the morning and a terrible decision.
It’s my understanding that you took a class at Second City in Chicago.
Timothy Simons: I did and the only reason I did is because my agent in Chicago told me I had to. I love sketch comedy. I grew up watching Saturday Night Live. I love it but I didn’t go to Chicago to do Second City. But in Chicago, the agents are like, Well, if you’re in Chicago, everybody expects that you’ll be doing that, that you’ll have that on your resume. And I was like, I don’t care about it. I don’t want to do it. They were like, you have to. So I took one class just to appease them.
Who was your instructor?
Timothy Simons: I can’t remember. He was very nice though. He was really funny. But I can’t remember his name.
I moved to Chicago for improv before weirdly becoming a film critic.
Timothy Simons: Oh, that makes sense. That makes sense. I feel like that’s a world, it’s like the same mindset. Are you still in Chicago?
Yep, I’m still here.
Timothy Simons: Where do you live? What neighborhood?
I am that rare St. Louis Cardinals fan living less than a mile from Wrigley Field.
Timothy Simons: Oh, nice. Okay. When I was there, I was in Edgewater and Uptown.
So I’m probably close to where you used to be.
Timothy Simons: Okay, nice.
Because I’m on the Lakeview-Uptown border.
Timothy Simons: Awesome.
I know you can’t remember the instructor’s name but what was the most meaningful lesson that you learned during the class?
Timothy Simons: I’ll rope this in with—I ended up going through the UCB program when I was in Los Angeles. That the truth is always funniest. That like the biggest takeaway that I’ve learned about everything is just the truth is always funniest.
Well, that kind of answers the next question, because I was gonna ask after moving out to LA Did you study in improv at UCB or other theaters?
Timothy Simons: I did. I think I just like being a contrarian fucker. I didn’t want to—when I was in Chicago, it was sort of expected of you so I was like, fuck you, I’m not doing it. When I got to LA, nobody really cared if you did it or not so I was like, fuck you, I’m gonna do it. I also liked the idea—you live in Chicago, it has a really amazing independent theater scene, which is what I was there for. Getting out to LA, I still wanted to be on stage. I still wanted to be up in front of people on stage and it provided a good opportunity to do that without the commitment of jumping into an independent theatre production in Los Angeles, which was not why I moved here. It sort of kind of scratched that itch but I ended up learning a lot from it and I really enjoyed it.
Yeah. I imagine you probably learned a lot more just to be working with Julia, Matt, Sam and everyone on the set of Veep.
Timothy Simons: Yes. Just watching them was like grad school watching those guys.
How often do people see you on the street and tell you to shut up?
Timothy Simons: Less frequently than you would imagine, which is actually nice. A lot of times, people do recognize me from Veep but more often than not, we end up in a conversation about how much they enjoyed the show and how funny they thought it was rather than them just insulting me, which does feel nice.
Yeah. It’s one of the funniest shows that I’ve seen.
Timothy Simons: Thanks, man. I appreciate that.
You’re welcome. Of course, I’m also biased because Sam and I go back several years.
Timothy Simons: Oh, nice. He is truly like the funniest dude that’s ever lived. He is so so incredibly funny.
Is there a filmmaker that you would like to work with that you haven’t had the opportunity to do so yet?
Timothy Simons: That’s a good question. Well, there definitely are. There definitely are but I don’t know. I like the idea of letting those things go unspoken. But then also, just—there’s probably a filmmaker out there that I don’t know at all that I would really love working with. I got to—Karen Maine is a filmmaker who I worked with on Yes, G-d, Yes, and it was the first movie that she had directed. I had an incredible experience working with her. That kind of thing. I like letting those things go unspoken, and also just allowing for the idea that there’s like a filmmaker out there that I don’t even know that I can’t wait to work for.
If you could go back in time to the start of your career in acting, what would you tell yourself?
Timothy Simons: Don’t worry about shit as much. I mean, don’t. There are only so many things that you can control and so many things are out of your control. Try to let things go a little bit more. Even if I went back and told myself that, I don’t know if I listened to it but that would be one of the things I tell myself.
Hulu will stream new episodes of Candy on May 9-13, 2022.
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