After wrapping the first season of ABC’s Cupid, Sarah Paulson and Bobby Cannavale stepped almost immediately into the play The Gingerbread House, running through May 10 at the Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. It’s much darker than their TV show; here, Paulson is a mother who gives up her children and Cannavale’s a seductive schemer. Although they’re not together offstage—Paulson is in a relationship with actress Cherry Jones—you’d be forgiven for thinking so based on their talk with Emma Rosenblum.
Did you plan to work together again so soon?
CANNAVALE: It was a total coincidence. We were shooting Cupid, and I said to Sarah, “We gotta work together again, like, right away.” And the last day of Cupid, I got sent this script with Sarah attached.
PAULSON: We really like each other. I think the fact that we had sex helped. That’s a joke.
And how did you both get hired on Cupid?
SP: There is such a thing as a Bobby Cannavale vehicle—that happens more than the Sarah Paulson vehicle. So Bobby was cast in Cupid way before I was.
BC: I liked the idea of playing somebody with a positive spin on everything.
SP: You are so that way. Like a giant golden retriever, or a Newfoundland—what do you want to be?
BC: I am a Rhodesian ridgeback. [Both laugh.]
SP: I loved playing a career woman who had her own aspirations and goals and thoughts, and not a lot to do with a man. Though Bobby was a big, big piece of why I signed on. A ridgeback-size piece.
It’s a mini–romantic comedy within each episode, and that’s very satisfying—you know that at the end a couple is going to kiss.
SP: Exactly. And I think there is a real place for something where people can come home and turn on a show where people gaze at each other and make out and fall in love and resist.
The Gingerbread House, on the other hand, is not a love-fest.
SP: Sometimes I think on television, you use maybe a tenth of what you are able to do. So it’s nice to go, Well, I’m gonna take two months and reinvest in acting and storytelling. You don’t get to do that on television. I am not saying anything disparaging about that but … it’s easy to forget about that stuff when you are getting your extensions put in.
BC: It’s fantastic that we clicked, [because] I work for fourteen, fifteen hours a day, and at the end I’m going home and memorizing lines. I am quieter than I normally am [in interviews], because this is the time every day when I want to sleep so bad.
Are you getting sick of each other?
BC: Not at all. When I memorize lines, I do an impression of Sarah’s voice in my head.
SP: You do?!
BC: Yeah, I hear you in my head.
What does it sound like?
BC: You say my name a lot.
The Gingerbread House
By Mark Schultz.
Directed by Evan Cabnet.
Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. Through May 10.