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Sharon Horgan interview: 'It'd suck if you didn't get starstruck in Hollywood'

The actress and writer on going to Hollywood, her bong-selling past and her secret passion for ‘Mean Girls’

Helen O’Hara
Written by
Helen O’Hara

Judging by her current workload, Sharon Horgan gets by with almost no sleep. She’s the co-creator and star of ‘Catastrophe’, the comedy-drama phenomenon about the lives of a couple muddling along after an accidental pregnancy brought them together. Last year her show ‘Motherland’ tapped into another rich seam of parental anxiety, and she co-wrote HBO’s ‘The Divorce’ for good measure. This week she appears on the big screen in ‘Game Night’ alongside Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams, as the new friend caught up in a board game night gone spectacularly wrong. We had a cuppa with her to find out more.

Does ‘Game Night’ mean you’ve gone all Hollywood?
‘[Laughs] No, it definitely doesn’t. I had a chat with the directors over Skype and they just seemed like really nice, fun people, and I’m a big fan of Jason and Rachel. So I made this deal with Holly [Walsh, her ‘Motherland’ co-writer]. I said, “I’m just going to fuck off to Atlanta for seven weeks. I know I’m supposed to be writing ‘Motherland’ but I’ll get it done.” So we wrote two episodes over Skype while I was there. You have a lot of time in your trailer.’

Do you still get starstruck?
‘A hundred percent. “Mean Girls” is one of my favourite films and I did the whole stammering thing around Rachel. After a while you lose the initial shyness, but it never completely goes away. It would really suck if it did.’

Your character’s brought in as a sort of ringer for a games night. So what games are you best at?
‘I’m terrible at them, and my general knowledge is appalling, but I’m big into this game that my kids love called “Exploding Kittens”. It’s the card equivalent of Russian roulette.’

Was filming in America different from the UK?
‘The catering was exceptional. But it was really a loose, fun atmosphere. And if you’re doing it right, that’s what any comedy should be like.’

Is that what you aim for in your shows?
‘I really hope so. If you’re not having fun, what’s the point? It’s worth making sure you’re surrounded by the kind of people you want to spend two months with. There’s plenty of assholes in this system.'

You’re writing season four of ‘Catastrophe’ now. Have you ever talked about a film version?
‘We’ve talked about the idea, and then sort of let it go. We try to make sure the final episodes of each season have a bit more weight, and currently our episode six feels like it has a mini-film vibe. If we had more time and money, I think it would be an hour long or something like that. I guess it’s a never-say-never thing.’

Is it true you once worked in a Camden bong shop?
‘I did! I lived in Camden for six years and I sold bongs part-time for two of them. We sold everything from basic pipes to works of art. Kids would come in and spend their student loan on ridiculous contraptions. It was fun, mainly because it was next door to the best pub in London at the time, The Good Mixer.’

Where do you hang out in London these days?
‘I love the food markets: being able to go to Broadway Market at the weekends, or the one in Victoria Park on Sundays. Walking around with your family eating great food in a buzzy, relaxed, weekend London atmosphere is probably the most fun thing you can do.’ ν

‘Game Night’ is in cinemas Fri Mar 2.

Picture credit: Fred MacGregor

Game Night review

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