[This story contains spoilers from the season two finale of Wolf Like Me.]
In the final scene of season two of Peacock’s comedy-drama Wolf Like Me, Mary (Isla Fisher) gives birth to her baby with boyfriend Gary (Josh Gad), revealing its identity as a wolf. Anxiety over whether their child would be a human or animal was at the center of most of the conflict throughout the show’s second season. But the streamer has yet to announce if audiences will get to see how Mary, Gary and his daughter Emma (Ariel Donoghue) will handle life raising a wolf offspring in a potential season three.
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“Right now, we don’t know if we’re going to get to make Wolf Like Me 3. But it’s such an exciting time to be on Peacock, and when we do make it, they really let us push the boundaries and create the series we want to,” Fisher tells The Hollywood Reporter in the conversation below. “I think that, given the feedback and how entertaining and relatable and funny people have found season two, I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll get to make a third, particularly because we ended on such a cliffhanger.”
In the series created by Australian filmmaker Abe Forsythe, Mary is woman by day and wolf by night when a full moon strikes, a physical trait that’s caused her to be closed off to people until her world collides with Gary and Emma’s, quite literally during a car crash in season one. It’s that facet of Mary’s personality that makes her most dissimilar from Fisher, the actress says.
“She’s someone who’s so lonely and that’s the opposite of my personality,” Fisher explains. “I’m super gregarious. I love to socialize and hang out with people, and Mary’s someone who’s not really comfortable with others.”
It’s by making people laugh that Fisher, known for roles in comedic films like Wedding Crashers, Bachelorette, and Confessions of a Shopaholic, found her social footing. Remarking about her “complicated cultural identity,” she says, “I was born in Oman and then I was raised in Cambridge, and we lived in Brunei in Iran and then we moved to Australia, so I went to lots of schools, and I think the way that I learned to make friends and feel comfortable about myself was by making jokes and tapping into my inner idiot. On like a deep level, I feel the safest when I’m being funny, because I feel like it’s easy to make friends that way.”
What attracted you to Wolf Like Me as an actress and an executive producer?
Originally, I was in Australia due to COVID and my friend, Bruna Papandrea, who’s a producer for Made Up Stories, contacted me and pitched me this idea, and I thought it was really interesting. I know it’s about a wolf — normally, I’m not really attracted to sort of heightened ideas — but it was kind of a metaphor that the wolf brings us deeper into the character’s personal development and relationship struggles. I felt like the wolf represented how shame can be like a monster that creates a barrier in relationships. And I hadn’t read a love story or a rom-com, or a script about relationships that wasn’t about the beginning of a relationship where everybody was on their best behavior, and they just fell in love because the way a character peels an apple is exactly the way that you peel an apple and you’ve got so much in common. These characters were just so flawed, and they were both mourning losses in different ways. And Mary, my character, was so isolated and she was sort of a hero and a villain, and it just felt really unusual.
And then, obviously, the ingredient of the filmmaker — I thought Abe Forsythe’s film Little Monsters was brilliant, and I thought he could handle this sort of mind-bending genre where the tone is just so out there that it could, within someone else’s hands, just flop. But he really knows how to do this better than anyone. And then I love Josh Gad. I’ve always wanted to work with him. And it was shooting in Australia while we were there for COVID, so it was all kind of perfect. Everything just seemed to fall into place.
How unique of an experience was it to shoot this project in Australia?
There are so many brilliant Australian filmmakers and actors and stories, and there is so much amazing content coming out of Australia. But, logistically, you know my husband has a big career, we’ve got three children, and obviously their education comes first, and it’s very hard to just wrangle everything over to that side of the planet, so I felt very lucky to get to shoot there. I love working with Australian crews. Everyone’s attitude is just so down-to-earth; there’s no hierarchy, everyone just mucks in and helps out. It’s a lot of jokes and it’s very relaxed yet everyone’s very hardworking.
Abe Forsythe told THR there was something “fascinating” about your energy that made you right for the role of Mary. Do you see any parts of yourself in her?
It’s interesting because I don’t feel like I’m similar to Mary. She’s someone who’s so lonely and that’s the opposite of my personality. I’m super gregarious. I love to socialize and hang out with people, and Mary’s someone who’s not really comfortable with others. She has this baggage and shame so she has all these eccentric hobbies, and she can’t really communicate or be emotionally vulnerable. Whereas I’ll tell everyone my life story when I meet them. So I feel like, in a way, Mary is sort of the furthest from me of anyone I’ve played recently. I really had to hold back.
Wolf Like Me is a fantasy comedy-drama in a long line of comedies that you’ve done over the course of your career, what do you enjoy most about the genre?
I think drama and comedy do come from the same place from a performance perspective, because you’re trying to keep it real and grounded and present in the moment, and you have to access your emotions for both. But what I like about comedy is, well, two things. One, I moved around a lot as a kid. I went to a different school every year for lots of reasons, but I kind of have a complicated cultural identity. I was born in Oman and then I was raised in Cambridge, and we lived in Brunei in Iran and then we moved to Australia, so I went to lots of schools, and I think the way that I learned to make friends and feel comfortable about myself was by making jokes and tapping into my inner idiot.
On a deep level, I feel the safest when I’m being funny, because I feel like it’s easy to make friends that way. That’s the kind of psychological excuse for loving comedy, but also, I think it’s really challenging because if you’re not funny in a comedic scene, it’s a very visceral reaction that the audience has and they really can’t connect to the story, they’re pulled out of it. Whereas if you’re watching drama and the performances aren’t working, you can kind of overlook it and still enjoy the story if the writing’s good. So I think it’s just more of a challenge. And honestly, I love dramatic roles, but sometimes it can all get very serious and I’m just somebody who enjoys taking things lighter, I suppose.
Are there any new projects on the horizon for you? How are you feeling about getting back to work this year with the end of the strike?
I’ve got a few things. One or two I can’t mention because it’s a secret that I’m coming back to one and then the other is still in the works, but I’m looking forward to working this year. It’s funny, I’m someone who, I think because, you know, having kids has been so transformative in every sense, physically and emotionally and psychologically, it just fills up every space in your life. I’m not someone who misses work when I’m not working, because I feel like I’m so overwhelmed with life. But now that it’s come back around and I’m reading stuff that I was attached to and things are coming together for the year, I’m super excited. I really love being on a set. I love being part of a community, being part of a team. I love the structure of breaking down a scene. It’s really fun and creative and it’s nice to sometimes not wear your mom hat and wear your actor hat and have someone do your makeup and hair. It’s quite a fun escape.
Thinking about motherhood, has it been difficult being able to keep your family life private and out of the media?
I set a precedent really early on not to talk about motherhood or not to put my kids in the public eye, unless they chose to one day go into the business. I wanted them to have a completely normal childhood like I was lucky enough to experience without any pressures of being related to someone famous. So I think that because I haven’t ever changed my position on that, people have really respected it, and actually over the years it’s been very rare that journalists have ever asked personal questions or tried to get information. In fact, I think everybody’s got kids and they get how special having kids is. It’s been pretty easy.
Any word on a season three renewal of Wolf Life Me?
Right now, we don’t know if we’re going to get to make Wolf Like Me 3. But it’s such an exciting time to be on Peacock. And when we do make it, they really let us push the boundaries and create the series we want to. I think that, given the feedback and how entertaining and relatable and funny people have found season two, I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll get to make a third, particularly because we ended on such a cliffhanger. It would be wonderful to work with Abe Forsythe again because he’s just so inspirational; he’s such a brilliant creator. It’s such a wonderful team, Josh and Ariel, who plays Emma, we all get along great and, honestly, there’s never been a bad moment on set on either season one or two. It’s just nice people that care. The only ego in this is the project, and it’s so fun.
Wolf Like Me season two is streaming on Peacock.
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