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Busy Philipps shared her thoughts on Seth Rogen’s distancing from James Franco while reflecting on some of the less savory parts of her early years working in Hollywood during a recent appearance on The Daily Beast‘s The Last Laugh podcast.
While speaking about her current series, Peacock’s Girls5Eva, Philipps was prompted to reflect on some of her early-career experiences — specifically, Freaks and Geeks.
While Philipps said she’d reconsidered some of the things that had happened to her, she didn’t really see Freaks and Geeks — the show or the people who worked on it — as the source of early bad experiences. For the actress, the “messaging wasn’t really coming from within the house.”
“It was more really the industry at large,” Philipps told host Matt Wilstein.
In fact, the actress said, creator Paul Feig and executive producer Judd Apatow shielded her from some of the more unsavory elements of the industry at the time. That included reviews, Philipps recounted, that contained things like, “This isn’t Dawson’s Creek or The WB; you won’t find any pretty faces here,” pushing the notion that she wasn’t thin or “traditionally pretty enough.”
“I do think that Paul and Judd tried in their way to protect Linda [Cardellini] and me from a lot of the insidious nature of the messaging that gets sent to young women and teen girls on network television shows,” Philipps said. “Because I do remember Paul talking to us about like, ‘I don’t want you guys to think that there are any diets or anything.'”
This was in contrast, Philipps said, to the body shaming that occurred when she worked on Dawson’s Creek.
“I mean, when I got on Dawson’s Creek, there was this whole discussion about the moles on my neck and my face,” Philipps shared. “And they tried to cover them with makeup. It was a directive from the network. I guess they found them offensive. My skin offended them. But it was so wild to me.”
In recounting her time on Freaks and Geeks, the conversation wound back to the revelation from Philipps’ 2018 memoir, This Will Only Hurt a Little, that co-star James Franco had pushed her to the ground on the set.
Around the launch of her since-ended late night show, Philipps told The Hollywood Reporter, “James and I have talked about it over the years. At one point he apologized to me,” she said. “I was always acutely aware of my expendability, and so I felt I needed to never complain, always show up on time and not be difficult.”
In the year that followed, multiple sexual harassment allegations surfaced around Franco, with a settlement deal reached earlier this year. Since then, longtime friend, creative partner, and former Freaks and Geeks co-star Seth Rogen has said he has “no plans” to work with Franco again.
When asked whether that surprised Philipps, she said she “guessed” she was surprised but, “I have to say, I mean, it’s interesting. They were super close, and they had a very tight relationship. And so I don’t have any information,” she told Wilstein. “I haven’t spent my days doing deep dives into what it all was. I didn’t work with James past age 20, so I can only speak to the horrible behavior I experienced.”
She also stated she wouldn’t “speculate about their friendship,” but in general, she “wouldn’t want to work with someone who has multiple allegations of predatory behavior.”
Philipps was also hesitant to say either way whether #MeToo had actually changed Hollywood.
“I think at this point, I’m not at risk,” Philipps said. “I’m an almost-42-year-old woman who wrote a book where I named names of the people who were fucking dicks to me. So I don’t think that I’m the person to ask about whether the industry has changed. Because I would assume that people are going to be smart enough to not fuck with me.”
But, she added, young actresses are in a different position than her and may still be running into predators.
“I’m not an ingenue coming onto the scene or a young woman coming onto the scene wanting to work and make it happen,” Philipps said. “The predators, I’m sure, still exist, and a few of the big ones have been rooted out, thank God, but whether there’s a reckoning, I don’t know.”
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