Nurse Zoey: Five minutes with Merritt Wever
Merritt Wever is one of those unsung heroes of the acting world, someone who goes quietly from job to job, slipping seamlessly and brilliantly into roles but never becoming quite famous for her considerable talents. (Her resume includes roles in Michael Clayton, Into the Wild, and Aaron Sorkin’s TV drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip). Her relative anonymity may change now that she’s become the breakout star of Showtime’s new series, Nurse Jackie. In it, she plays Zoey, the apprehensive-but-perpetually-optimistic nurse protege of Jackie (Edie Falco). It’s not the first time the 28-year-old Manhattan native has received glowing critical praise (The New York Times dubbed her a “delicious newcomer”) but Wever’s hardly the type to let it get to her head.
What’s been the best part about making the show?
I have to say one of the most gourmet things about it was being picked up by a van and brought to the set in Astoria each day. I’m used to taking the train and when I got the role, I had been calculating the timing and how early I’d wake up. When I found out I was getting picked up—well for me that’s the height of luxury. My Metrocard would go unused for days!
And it must be nice to get to work in scrubs, with minimal hair and makeup?
It’s perfect for me. When I realized I’d be in, like, pajamas, I was so happy. No heels, and no Spanxx!
Did you do anything to prepare to play a nurse?
I went to an ER for a couple of half-days, but I quickly realized that all my inexperience and not knowing would serve my character, who’s brand new to nursing. I was able to go in pretty clueless and look around like a dazed bunny.
We read on IMDB that your mother raised you as “an active member of the leftist party.” What exactly does this mean?
Ugh, IMDB is dangerous! I have a feeling I know who wrote that—that sentence is not really correct, grammatically or otherwise. Basically my mother is a leftist liberal and I grew up going to Jewish socialist summer camps, but that’s all. That IMDB tidbit isn’t the only thing on my page that’s incorrect—I don’t speak three languages. Well, unless you count Pig Latin. Also, it says I’m married, which I’m not, though I do live with my boyfriend (writer/director Noah Buschel).
Filming for the next season of Nurse Jackie starts in the fall. Anything else you’re working on?
I have a few small parts in other things but I feel silly mentioning them because the thing about bit parts is that they can get cut and then I’d embarrass myself. I also have a small part in Noah’s new movie, The Missing Person, starring Michael Shannon and Amy Ryan, which is coming out in September.
So you have some free time right now. What do you like to do between jobs?
Are you asking about hobbies? Hmmm, I can’t really think of any. I usually spend my free time worrying about when I’m going to work next.
Photos: Ken Regan/Showtime.