Nip/Tuck’s Roma Maffia :: Playing gay (and having so much fun)
In the world of the FX hit series Nip/Tuck, the envelope of good taste is often pushed as far as it could possibly go. When the first episode of the final season started last week, Mario Lopez (and his torso, which should receive it's own credit) returned for a few episodes, Sean (Dylan Walsh) was slipping into a world of drugs and Christian (Julian McMahon) split from longtime faithful (and gay) anesthesiologist Liz (Roma Maffia), whom he married when he wrongly suspected he was dying.
The complications between Christian and Liz is giving Roma Maffia some juicy scenes to play and, even better for the versatile actress, she isn't always seen in her scrubs. Edge's Jim Halterman talked with Maffia about the added spark to her long-suffering character and what her favorite storylines from the entire series have been.
Breaking up is so much fun
EDGE: I love what the show is doing with your character this season since this whole break-up with you and Christian has happened. How has that been to play?
Roma Maffia: Oh my God, it’s so much! So much fun! That and also I get to wear real clothes! I couldn’t be happier. It’s fantastic.
EDGE: In the course of the show, so many crazy things have happened over the years. Are you ever surprised anymore?
RM: Okay... the end of the series... there’s one thing that happens to Liz that totally surprised me.
EDGE: Which of course you can’t tell me, right?
RM: Of course, but I didn’t see that coming in a billion years but when I got to that part I was like ’Okay...’ I never saw it coming.
Favorite story line
EDGE: Through the run of the series, what is your favorite crazy storyline that Liz has been involved in?
RM: Going back, do you remember Sophia [played by Jonathan Del Arco in Season 1]?
RM: I loved that whole storyline with her.
EDGE: I think in the world of ’Nip/Tuck’ anything is possible and things are rarely just black or white.
RM: Exactly. That’s why I loved that storyline because it’s sort of the same thing. Sophia was a trannie getting ready to have her final operation and they sleep together the night before out of loneliness and out of caring and I wasn’t expecting that. That’s what I love about the show. There are so many since it’s been such a ride. I loved when she had to make the decision about having the baby or not. And the stolen kidney. That was so shocking.
EDGE: I know I didn’t see that coming!
RM: I thought Liz was finally going to have a good time... but not for long; it wasn’t meant to be.
EDGE: You and Julian have such a great chemistry and I know you worked together before this series but was that something you had to work at?
RM: Yes, it’s so funny. When someone has chemistry with someone else, you don’t really know it I think. It’s just there, I guess. It doesn’t feel any different than we are in life.
EDGE: What is it about working with him that brings it out in you?
RM: We have a kind of shorthand and we’re very comfortable with each other so I think that might have something to do with it. I didn’t know we had chemistry until someone else said it.
EDGE: Talking about the relationship of Liz and Christian, do you think there was always a deep connection between them?
RM: I think they always had a connection but I don’t think she ever imagined or wanted to be in the direction it took to be married. I think that just came about because she was so lonely and needed to be needed. There’s always been a connection but I don’t think it ever harbored in her.
EDGE: I read an old interview of yours and you said that Liz was not emotionally or sexually attached to Sean and Christian, but of course all that changed. How does that effect the rest of the season with her journey?
RM: What I can tell you is that she’s going to have to find a way to bridge it. Bridge the chasm so they can exist in the same room and work together, if that’s what they decide. They’re just going to have to work it out.
EDGE: Going back to the start of the series, did you know from the beginning that Liz was going to be a lesbian?
RM: It’s so interesting. I knew she was. There was a line in the pilot where she didn’t come out and say’ I’m gay,’ (but implied it). I forget what the line was but it was a clever line and we shot it. Then Ryan [Murphy, the creator] cut it out because he wanted her to be introduced before anybody made a judgment on her, which I thought was so smart. It wasn’t about her sexuality but it was about who she was and I loved that. But I knew from the very beginning.
EDGE: What have you heard from gay or straight fans regarding Liz falling for and marrying Christian?
RM: I don’t look at anything [online] so I have no idea. But when I first heard that that was the storyline, I asked some of my female friends and I went to them and asked and they said ’We love it! We love it!’ so that was all I needed. I didn’t know what the reaction would be but then it was ’Okay.’ I think it was about how dare we categorize anyone to be just one sexuality. I haven’t read any blogs but people that I have met have been complimentary but I’m sure there are other questions out there.
EDGE: Is there any hope that Liz might find love and be happy by the end of the show.
EDGE: Besides the show, what have you been working on?
RM: I just did an episode of Dexter that might be recurring. Very fun. I worked on Eastwick and I’m also working on getting a book that I bought the option for to produce. I think it would film and it’s called Girls of Tender Age. It’s a beautiful memoir by Mary-Ann Tirone Smith and I’m trying to get Jessie Nelson to direct. She directed I Am Sam and she also directed Corinna, Corinna and this story just lends itself to what I believe will be her direction. That’s what I’m really excited about.
EDGE: You’ve had a great career playing so many kinds of roles. Is there anything that you have yet to play?
RM: I would like to play something as simple as a woman who is just really sexy. I’d love to do a comedy. I don’t want to do anymore doctor/Indian chief roles. I’ve done that enough! I should get a degree.
Nip/Tuck airs every Wednesday at 10/9c on FX.