RB: How are you able to write a female character so well?

DW: It's not about getting into the brain, it's about getting into the feelings. My granddaughters, my daughters, any female friend I have, they have this need to be loved and appreciated. So if you know the overall objective is to be loved and appreciated, what stops it? What prevents that? Then I start breaking it down like I would any character I'm going to perform. I think, "Okay, what are the obstacles?" Because the obstacles are counter to the overall goal. With Alma, she's bitter, she's abrasive, she's an angry woman. Those things stop her from being loved, from being lovable, actually. Then it's like, all right, how do you strip her? How do you heal her? And as part of friendship you've got to confront all these different emotions and feelings, and you know, it's almost like the story of Job—all these things she loses to get to rock bottom so she has to depend on other people.

RB: You mention you approached Alma as you would any of your characters. So much of your career has been watching and observing and telling the truth of things. Was it hard to create your own story when you're usually observing what's around you?

DW: It's the same thing, really, except without the punch lines. I had to really wrestle my pen to not put in jokes because my nature is to fill that void with humor. But what happens when you tell a joke is sometimes you forsake the character. It's like, this character really wouldn't say that or shouldn't say that because it compromises, you know, that belief system.


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