Creator Darren Star and actors Sutton Foster and Nico Tortorella of TV Land breakout dramedy “Younger” sat down for a lively conversation where they discussed how the show is uniquely tackling ageism through laughs, tears and romance.
“I think we live in a youth-obsessed culture and ageism is a theme that I felt like hadn’t been very explored,” Star told TheWrap’s executive editor Joseph Kapsch during an Emmy Screening Q&A at the Landmark Theatres in Los Angeles.
“I always felt the themes were so relevant, that a woman has to lie about her age to get back in her workplace because she’s taken some time off to raise her kid and I’ve known many women who have taken time off to raise children.”
The legendary TV creator, whose credits include such iconic shows as “Beverly Hills, 90210,” “Melrose Place” and “Sex in the City,” serves as director, writer and executive producer on “Younger.” In the series, Foster stars as Liza Miller — a 40-year-old single mother who pretends to be 26 in order to land a job in the highly competitive world of publishing. Tortorella plays tattoo artist Josh, who is in his mid-20s and falls for Liza.
During the panel, Foster, who just celebrated her 40th birthday in March, discussed parallels between character Liza and her own career as an actress.
When asked about ageism in Hollywood, Foster said: “I haven’t felt the ageism in my career yet. Talk to me in 10 years, maybe I’ll feel differently.”
Because of her youthful appearance, Foster had been auditioning for roles that ranged from her actual age to much younger such as ABC Family’s “Bunheads,” in which she starred as Michelle. The role of Liza on “Younger” provided an ideal balance for the actress.
“I was kind of falling between the cracks. When this came along, I think maybe I can pull off both spectrums,” she said. “This sort of seemed like a perfect fit, just because I’ve always read younger than I was. Nothing was feeling organic and right until this script.”
For Foster, the show’s deeper meaning goes beyond an age discrepancy — and that’s what sold her on the part.
“This show is about reinvention. It’s about a woman taking matters into her own hands and taking control of a situation,” she said. “If this is the game she has to play, she’s going to play it.”
For Tortorella, during the session’s funnier moments, he described why the show is especially important to his mother. When asked about transitioning from a psycho character on Fox’s “The Following” to a good guy in “Younger,” he joked that she approved.
“As soon as ‘The Following’ wrapped, I kept saying over and over again I want to do a romantic comedy,” Tortorella said. “My mom’s going to be really happy if I don’t die onscreen.”
“Younger” just scored record ratings for TV Land during its freshman season and has already been renewed for Season 2. TheWrap screened the series’ eighth episode, titled “Sk8.”
Star announced that Season 2 of “Younger” is coming in January and will focus on justifying Liza’s motives for lying. And, no, he said there are no plans for “Sex and the City.”
Watch TheWrap’s video from “Younger” Screening: