At last night’s gala celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, we spotted Debra Messing and Will Chase. The real-life couple play estranged lovers on ABC’s new hit show, Smash. The series, which chronicles the making of a Broadway musical about Marilyn Monroe, is packed with A-list stars including Uma Thurman, who made her TV debut this week. Smash was just picked up for a second season, but Messing’s looking forward to stuffing her few months of free time with adventures and good deeds.
ELLE: There’s barely a month left of Smash’s first season! How do you feel?
DM: It has been such an adventure. It’s required 90% of the cast to relocate from Los Angeles, so there’s been a great amount of emotional investment put into the show. I believed in it from the first moment I read the pilot. I still feel incredibly blessed and grateful to be a part of that show and that world. I feel like there are just a lot more stories to tell. I’m so thrilled that we’re going to have another season ahead of us.
ELLE: What’s going to happen in the next season?
DM: I don’t know, that’s the brilliance of it. Every week we would be called together as a full cast to read the next week’s script, and every week inevitably I would exclaim in the middle of the reading, “Oh, my God, are you kidding me,” because there would be some revelation that was completely unexpected, and everyone would laugh, and it became like a running joke. That’s kind of one of the wonderful things about television, the thing that makes television terrifying. It’s something that Uma Thurman and I spoke about because it was the first time she had done television. She was like when you’re in a film, it’s a finite thing, it’s a two-hour story, you know how it ends, and you can craft your character, you have all the information. In television you only have the information that’s been given to you so far, and at any moment your character can become something completely opposite from what you thought it was. That requires a completely different kind of muscle, and I think it’s exciting.
ELLE: What are you up to now that season one has wrapped?
DM: I’m a global ambassador for YouthAIDS, a non-governmental organization under the umbrella of Population Services International. AIDS has been something that I have been focused on for a very long time. The last trip I made was to Zimbabwe. My next trip is in May and I’ll be going to Zambia. When I went to Africa it was an epiphany for me, it changed me. I’m going for twelve days.