Elizabeth Gillies on her Sapphic “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll” storyline

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Last month we told you about a storyline relevant to our interests on FX’s Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll where Gigi (Elizabeth Gillies) has a relationship with another female musician, Davvy (Rebecca Naomi Jones). Out writer Julieanne Smolinski penned the episodes where the two meet (“Rebel Rebel”) and what begins as a dalliance in Gigi’s interest in sleeping with a woman unfolds with a little bit of a deeper connection than she expected.

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We talked with Elizabeth about the Gigi/Davvy storyline at a recent FX press day at the TCA Press Tour where she gave us her thoughts on Gigi’s sexual exploration and fans who have been shipping her with women since her starring role on Disney’s Victorious.

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AfterEllen.com: We’ve been covering your storyline this season.

Elizabeth Gillies: I actually read it—one of my friends sent it to me, and I thought it was great. I was happy!

 

AE: How did you first find out that’s where they were going with Gigi?

EG: [Series creator/star] Denis [Leary] told me. He said, “How would you feel if Gigi”—he didn’t ask me how I feel. He said, “This is happening.” I said “Cool.” My hopes were that the relationship would be she discovers something new about herself; like “I’m falling for a girl, this is such a new feeling,” and they really fall in love. That’s not exactly how it was at the beginning, so I was very apprehensive.

My hopes were that the relationship would be she discovers something new about herself; like “I’m falling for a girl, this is such a new feeling” and they really fall in love. That’s not exactly how it was so at the beginning; I was very apprehensive. They’re picking a girl for me? It’s an arranged meeting? I was like “Oh god!” And then I go to see her—I read the script, and I didn’t read the scenes as nervous; I didn’t read them as fumbley. I thought she was being like “Yeah, I’m going to this show. I’m a singer” and it was like a sexy scene—I was like “I don’t like this.” Denis was like, “No, no, no, no, no. You’re nervous, and you’re scared, and you’re fumbling, and she’s way more confident than you, and she breaks you out of your comfort zone and knocks you off your throne, and that’s the allure of the whole thing.” I said. “Oh, I’m gonna like this!”

Gigi’s so confident and so strong and meeting somebody who is a better performer than her and sexier and a little wilder and freer, basically, than she is. It awakes all these things inside of her and makes her so nervous and I liked how she knocked her off her throne or whatever in that way. It’s a sweet connection and I love Rebecca, who played Davvy, and I thought the scenes were very, very sweet, and I like their relationship and where it went. They were talking about girl things and their insecurities about their body, and [Gigi] has such a different relationship with Flash, who is not only a man but a much older man, so I don’t think she gets to talk like that with anybody. Not only was it satisfying for the younger side of Gigi, it was satisfying like this new curiosity in her and maybe that’s a better relationship for her. So I really enjoyed it.

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AE: Do you think that’s something that can continue? Do you see her as more sexually fluid or bisexual?

EG: Yeah, I do! I do because I think she just doesn’t know; she hasn’t tapped into all those sides of herself. She’s so in control that this year, having her release a little bit of control opens up possibilities to what she could be interested in and I think now—we already know the relationship with Flash is not gonna last, and I’m excited if we get picked up to see where she goes with that. We’ll see if she continues trying new things and being with different people. I hope she does. I think it’s healthy for her, and I really love that relationship [with Davvy]. I thought it was great. She sticks around for a long time.

 

AE: Did you have to do a chemistry read?

EG: Nuh uh. Nothing! I had seen her on Broadway. I saw her in American Idiot, and I saw her in Hedwig [And the Angry Inch]. I went to the closing of Hedwig—big, big, big, Hedwig fan so I went to the closing of that and knew who she was.

Our first day—this was really funny—our first day of everything, it’s so awkward. She came in, and it was picture day, and they said, “We just need pictures of you guys making out in the middle of this park.” Of this park in the middle of New York! A public park! I’m like, “I’m Liz.” She’s like, “What’s up? I’m Rebecca.” And I asked her, like, “Are you a lesbian?” She’s like, “No, I’m not.” I said, “Have you kissed a lot of girls?” She said, “No, I don’t think I’ve ever,” and I’m like “I haven’t either!” We’re like “This is gonna look awful! What are we gonna do?” We didn’t know what to do! But we figured it out.

The first thing is she’s really short, so I was in six-inch heels, and I’m nervous because I had to kiss her and I just met her, but I couldn’t reach her. It was this whole thing. They made us kiss so many times. I asked the producer, “Only half of it showed up in the tape on the show. Where is the other footage?” They said, “There’s so much footage!” I’m like, “We remember.”

[They’d be like] “Rebecca and Liz—you’re in this scene so be making out or something.” We’re like “Why!?” So we got really—we wanted to make sure it was not a gratuitous sexy lesbian thing. There was a pillow fight scene, and we were both angry about it. We were like, “We don’t want to be pillow fighting; that’s stupid.” We had a day—it was a montage, and it was so short in the episode—but we got to the point where we were defending our characters like a real couple: “We don’t want to be pillow fighting! We want to be in hoodies; we want to be hanging out. We don’t want to be slapping each other in lingerie! That’s stupid!”

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AE: That’s the reality, let me tell ya.

EG: Of course it is! It’s the reality for everybody. First of all, nobody pillow fights anymore. No one pillow fights in lingerie. I get it was for social media and that’s why they were doing it, but I like that even though there was the social media thing, there was a real bond and real friendship, and she stayed for more than half the season; she was in most episodes, so I was happy about that.

 

AE: Yeah, it totally could have been “I want to have a threesome!” Random girl, one night.

EG: Like the other storyline. That’s why I said to Denis, “I’m down if it’s respectful; I don’t want to do it if it’s not.” Nothing gratuitous. Even the kiss—everything was cut with comedy and nervousness.

 

AE: Very realistic.

EG: We tried; we tried!

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AE: How much input do you get to have? Do they listen when you say, “I don’t think Gigi would do this.”

EG: They do. Denis is really—there are some things, like if I would have said, “No, I don’t want to be with a girl,” he would have said, “Tough shit, we’re doing it, 10o percent.” But I was totally down. If he says “Say this to her,” and we wouldn’t—she and I were talking because we’re two girls—two girls who are flirting—and we would never say this, never talk about that. He let us play around with it and always lets us. He’s super collaborative which is a really good thing.

 

AE: Someone mentioned during the panel that Julianne Smolinski writes on the show—did she write the episode where Gigi meets Davvy?

EG: Yeah, she did! It was based off her own personal experience. She wrote that episode, and I love that episode. We were doing a panel recently, and someone asked me if it was based off of my experiences, and I was like, “No, I was with Gigi on this one.” I had the experience with Gigi. I was like, “Rebecca, your lips are so soft!” She’s like, “I know, so are yours!” It was silly. But Julianne had the experience—so it was based on her experience and Denis loved it. Denis will do that—you tell him something, and it’ll go in the script.

 

 

AE: There’s a line in the episode—”Let’s go get me a lesbian!” Was that ad-libbed?

EG: That was not ad-libbed. What I ad-libbed, because I didn’t like that the scene ended on “Let’s go get me a lesbian”—I’d never heard anyone say that. I don’t know what that means, so I played the whole scene really tired. Like [drowsily] “Let’s go get me a lesbian. Really, I just need coffee.” So I made it funny. I did alter it. I said, “Jesus, Denis, I don’t know how to say this line!” Let’s go get me one? Like a fish? I don’t understand how this is possible. So I played with it, for sure.

 

AE: Lastly, were you aware of all the lesbian fans of Victorious?

EG: Are you kidding me? Of course I know! They shipped me and [co-star] Ariana Grande, but they shipped me and Tori [Justice] big time. I know all about it. Actually, I had a fan yesterday—I saw this on Twitter—who said, “Although it wasn’t obviously brought up in the show, I identified with the fanfiction I created in my head, and it helped me come out to my mother,” which was so interesting and I thought that was so cool.

They’re really good fans, and a lot of them love the story with Davvy. She’s young; it’s relatable. They can’t relate to 50 plus year old man I’m dating on the show. They don’t understand! I say, “It’s Aiden from Sex and the City,” and they’re like “We didn’t even watch that!” Hopefully they like this one.

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Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll airs Thursdays at 10pm on FX.

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