Like most of us would be, Becki Newton was a little starstruck by the idea of working alongside Sarah Jessica Parker and the stellar cast of Divorce when she came into Season 2 of the HBO comedy.
“Imagine getting to go to work with people you’ve idolized forever,” says Newton. “I felt so lucky to be there. I remember my first table read. They put little cards on the table with your name and the character, and mine was right next to Sarah Jessica’s. And I thought, ‘I’m definitely making this up!’ I was so grateful to be back in New York working and on this particular show on HBO. I still can’t believe it as I talk about it.”
Newton was a fan of Season 1 of the series, but never imagined that she would be playing Jackie, new love interest to Robert (Thomas Haden Church), in Season 2.
“I learned along the way when you are playing the new potential love interest, it’s a tough gig. You just have to go for it. I think there’s something really appealing about Jackie. She’s not really concerned about what people think. She’s a what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of character. Those are absolutely my favorite kind of characters to play.”
Jackie, with her trendy fedora and effervescent confidence, comes into Season 2 as a real firecracker. At first, the real estate agent clashes with Robert, before finding common ground in single parenthood, houses, and ‘80s rock. But their connection goes beyond the band Yes and kitchen islands.
“She doesn’t judge him. She thinks he’s super weird and super cool. So all of his quirks that might drive someone else crazy, she thinks are adorable. Both Robert and Jackie are a little odd, but wonderfully odd together. They are both strong personalities and strong character traits, but they feel like partners and equals, and I think that’s appealing for both characters. Jackie’s not out looking for anyone to save her. She’s actually inconvenienced by other people, more often than not. She’s entering this partnership as a fully realized person. That’s a really interesting concept, especially with their age gap.”
Even though Jackie seems to have it all together, audiences learned in Season 2, Episode 3 “Worth It” that she’s seeing Dallas (Talia Balsam) for therapy.
“I think part of her success in life is that she knows that she might be a tiny bit crazy and she wants to deal with that before it catches up with her. It’s part of her power, and the multi-dimensional part of her character is that instead of calling a friend who might not be available at the time, she knows she can depend on her therapist to deal with her shit and then get back to her life.”
Later on in Season 2, we meet Jackie’s daughter and learn more about her parenting skills, which conflict with Robert’s way of doing things.
“She hasn’t had a conditional trajectory, so instead of pretending life is going to be a certain way for her teenage daughter, she’s going to tell it like it is and be part of that with her. I think Jackie probably made some mistakes when she was younger and would rather be transparent with her daughter than pretend certain things don’t go on. I think that’s admirable in this day and age. And for Jackie it’s the right thing to do.”
But Robert may have a bit of a “type” in the women he romances, as Jackie and Frances (Parker) share some similarities, even in hairstyle.
“I think on the surface, there’s a type there. But there’s a strength of character that both of these characters possess and a fire in them.”
If Jackie and Frances have a likeness, does this spell trouble for Jackie and Robert?
“She’s the kind of person who knocks heads with people because of her honesty and confidence. At this point in Season 2 for Robert, that’s probably refreshing. There’s nothing between the lines with Jackie. He doesn’t have to try to read her mind. For now, that is very refreshing. It might get them both into some trouble later on, who knows. I don’t think Jackie is everyone’s cup of tea. But the truth is she doesn’t give a shit if you don’t like her.”
Watch Divorce on HBO, Sundays at 10 p.m.