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Sarah Shahi got candid about Sex/Life’s second season on Netflix and how it was more challenging for her than the first one was.
In an appearance on the Not Skinny but Not Fat podcast, the Black Adam star said she didn’t want to put the show down but that she struggled with the material and the people involved in the show.
“I definitely did not have the support that I did the first season,” Shahi said. “It became a much different thing for me, and I’m not afraid to say that. I struggled with the material.… I mean, I’m never going to work for Netflix again now after saying all this. I just can’t lie.”
Despite her struggles on the show’s sophomore run that debuted last month, the actress explained that a lot of the show’s themes — second chances, romance, divorce, co-parenting — still really resonated with her.
“It was just challenging, but that’s part of what I do,” she said. “I’m not always gonna get along or agree with a filmmaker. I’m not always gonna like what I have to do or say, but that’s my job, is to make it believable.”
One of the things Shahi wishes would’ve been different was her character, Billie, spending more of her time single; she knows that the streamer putting a six-episode cap on the season made that difficult. The Hollywood Reporter reached out to Netflix and a rep for showrunner Stacy Rukeyser.
“Stacy had such a hard job with only six episodes and telling all these fast-moving stories,” the Person of Interest alum said. “That’s hard to do, and I get that, but yeah, I don’t know. Things just felt different for me this year, and I had a hard time because of that.”
She went on to explain that she hasn’t heard anything about a third season, but she knows that for Netflix, it’s all about viewership. If a lot of people are watching it, it’s in the streamer’s best interest to renew it for another season. If people aren’t interested, then neither is Netflix.
Rukeyser is prepared if they do get another season, with several ideas for where they could take the characters in season three — one of which includes exploring a similar question from the first season.
“Now she’ll be back in that situation again of being a new mom and, even if you’re with impossibly sexy Brad, is there a way to be all parts of yourself at once? And to get everything from one person?” the showrunner previously told THR. “It’s that whole Sex/Life dilemma that I think is really interesting.”
As for season two, audiences were disappointed not to see more of Adam Demos’ Brad, who had a scaled-back role this season, in order to allow Billie to explore a new relationship.
“In the second season, it was a bummer,” Shahi said on the podcast. “I was bummed that I wasn’t able to work with him as much because I really liked our stories. And I liked working with him. And he was a brilliant scene partner.”
Shahi and Demos have been in a relationship since December 2020, when they first posted together on social media. The actress noted that it was hard for them not to have as many scenes together in season two because she was working so much, and he didn’t have a lot of screen time.
She also explained that the reason she feels people fell in love with Billie and Brad in season one was because they were falling for each other in real life, too.
“I had never done a character where I was in love with somebody, and then in real life, I’m in love with somebody,” she said. “And I think that’s what made Brad and Billie so popular was because people really felt the real sparks between us. They just shot through the lens, and it infiltrated the screen.… There just is a level of comfort that you can’t fake.”
Another issue Shahi took with season two of Sex/Life was that some of the scenes felt like a ploy to try to become another TikTok sensation, she shared.
“There were more moments that felt very gimmicky,” the actress said. “And those kinds of things for me are always really hard to read and do and stuff like that, but I didn’t have to do them. The boys did. I thought they did a great [job]. I thought Jonathan Sadowski did a great job with that, just trying to make it as real as possible. Adam, he does a great job being Brad. But yeah, so it’s a little bit more gimmicky for me.”
Despite her conflicting feelings about the show’s sophomore run, Shahi truly relates to Billie and even said she’s working on writing a book about how the role “seeped” into her skin the way that it did.
“If I could be Billie Mann for five seasons, I would,” she said. “I feel her struggle so much in life, and it’s like therapy for me to play Billie.”
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