[This story contains spoilers to the finale of season two of The Bear.]
Like so many people, The Bear was Molly Gordon’s favorite show of 2022. Unlike most people, she got to join her favorite show when it returned for its sophomore season. Gordon, who played Triple A in Booksmart and starred alongside Rachel Sennott in Shiva Baby, joined the Emmy-winning ensemble series as Carmy’s childhood friend Claire; the two reconnect after a chance meeting in a bodega and as they fall in love, Carmy questions whether he has the capacity to successfully open a restaurant and be happy. “I was very affected by it,” Gordon says of watching the second season for the first time. “I ate it up like candy, even though I was also sobbing. I’m so sad that it’s done, and between this and Succession being over, I don’t really know what to do.”
Here, Gordon — who, actually, is plenty busy readying her screenwriting and directorial debut Theater Camp for a July 14 release — tells The Hollywood Reporter about her fated journey to the FX drama and reacts to theories from a very impassioned fandom.
There’s been a lot of playing Six Degrees to figure out your connection to the show, but can you explain it in your own words?
I met Chris [Storer, creator of The Bear] through one of my first jobs, which was this Melissa McCarthy movie called Life of the Party. Gillian Jacobs was in it, and she and Chris are in a relationship. At the time, Chis was directing this new show called Ramy, and they needed an actor for a small part. Gillian recommended me, and after that, I would see Chris from time to time and he would be like, we’re definitely gonna work together one day — which people always say without ever following through. Working on The Bear felt like coming home to this space that I’ve always longed to return to.
What was it like filming the season finale, especially that gut-wrenching scene on opposite ends of the walk-in cooler?
When I first read episode 10 [the finale], the voicemail was never going to be in it. As I joined the season, Chris and Jeremy and I were talking through things. Jeremy and I had a connection — he’s such a wonderful person and so available as an actor and a beautiful scene partner — and what I think happened is that Chris wanted to make that part more meaningful and add more to the episode. It was heartbreaking for me, acting in the walk-in scene, knowing that Jeremy hadn’t heard that voicemail, knowing he would be listening to it while trapped in a refrigerator.
Logistically, how did you film that scene? Were you just talking to a door with no one on the other side?
Jeremy stayed around for that. He was shooting his side of things inside the refrigerator a couple days later, but he came to be on the other side to say those lines with me. I’m a woman who has gone through a couple breakups, so it felt both cathartic and sad. To hear someone way that they don’t deserve happiness, or deserve to give happiness, is a horrific statement.
What was it that felt cathartic?
I’ve stayed in relationships and tried to fix someone like that. So I was happy that Claire just leaves. She doesn’t go, “Oh wait, is that actually how you feel?” She just chooses to leave the situation.
Not to bring Succession back up, but a lot of fans loved hearing those stories about Matthew MacFadyen being available for Sarah Snook, off-camera from London, to help shoot Logan’s death phone calls…
I know, I listened to [director] Mark Mylod’s interview about that and couldn’t believe Matthew’s commitment. I think people don’t realize that most of the time when you’re having a phone call or something like it, you’re doing it with a PA or the director. Sadly, it’s a surprising thing when an actor chooses to stay. It was so meaningful to me, but that’s just who Jeremy is as a person. He’s so giving.
Do you have a character on the show that you connect with the most?
I think what I love about the second season is the way it becomes an even bigger ensemble show. You really get to live with all the other characters in addition to Jeremy, who I think is, like, the greatest actor of our generation. I also think Ayo Edebiri is the greatest actress of our generation. But I think episode seven, with Ebon’s character, is one of my favorite episodes of television.
Have you seen the Twitter fan theories that Carmy and Sydney (Ayo Edebiri) are secretly in love with each other?
I haven’t seen them, and I do think that Carmy and Sydney have an unbelievable dynamic onscreen, and it’s such a testament to Chris, Ayo, and Jeremy that they’re able to create something so passionate. I don’t know how it’s all going to play out, but we’ve all had those creative relationships that become sort of will-they, won’t-they. Sometimes they’re just people with whom you have everything but the romantic element. I’m interested, though. I’m on the journey with the fans. But I think it’s incredibly cool to have this dynamic onscreen that isn’t romantic but that feels charged and sexy.
Did you learn to cook anything during your time on set?
It’s the only thing I’m upset about (laughs). When I was offered the role of Claire, I was so thrilled I would get to be a chef. And then realizing I was playing a doctor was upsetting, because I did not learn one thing in the kitchen. I did get to watch Courtney [Storer] teach Jeremy how to make Bolognese. He makes Bolognese for me in episode eight. But I did love wearing the Figs, which is the most popular brand of scrubs, because they’re incredibly comfortable. I’m looking to be the face of Figs.
Do you have a favorite restaurant?
I grew up in Venice, and when Gjelina and Gjusta came on the scene that was a real game-changer.
I’m sorry, I’m going to name-drop, but I went to Gjelina a few weeks after I moved here permanently and Beyoncé sat a few tables over — I still think about that every day.
It’s funny you say that, because Ayo used to work at ABC Kitchen, and Beyoncé came in while she was working. And I sat her once too, when I worked at Balthazar, and I think that’s the most important thing that’s ever happened to me. I know I talked a lot earlier about being on Ramy, but it’s when I sat Beyoncé. I just think she’s the greatest living person of all time.
Interview edited for length and clarity.
The Bear’s second season is now streaming on Hulu.
Molly Gordon Found Catharsis — and Bolognese — on Set of ‘The Bear’s Second Season