We had a chance to catch up with Good Trouble’s Constance Zimmer, who plays mercurial lawyer Kathleen Gale and Callie’s mentor, to chat about the character’s relationship with Callie and directing Good Trouble Season 3 Episode 12.
Because if you thought that we already knew all of Kathleen’s secrets, you were wrong.
Read on to find out what Constance had to say about her new mentee, acting while directing, and what lies ahead for the rest of the season.
Kathleen has all these secrets, and that affects most of her relationships. Can you talk to me a bit about that?
I will say yes. That’s how much I will talk to you about my secrets. What makes some of the best characters are the ones that are a little bit mysterious and a little bit left up to the viewer’s imagination. I pride myself on trying to always keep a little twinkle of that alive at all times.
Because sometimes, I don’t know. It depends if I have talked to the showrunner and said, “Am I good? Am I bad? Am I lying? Am I not lying? Is this real? Is this fake?”
Sometimes, I don’t want to know either, but working with [showrunner] Joanna [Johnson], I would choose my moments, and I would say, “I have to know what’s behind what I’m saying at this moment.
I have to make sure that one, I’m not revealing too much, or two, I reveal just enough. So yeah, she’s got some secrets up in there that we’ll see how do they get revealed.
She also has this interesting relationship with Callie, taking the young lawyer under her wing.
That, to me, feels very much like the daughter that Kathleen never had or mentorship she didn’t think she wanted. What Kathleen sees in Callie — her strengths and her weaknesses — she takes it upon herself to be the teacher and to guide her.
Some of that guidance might be a little harsh, but I believe that’s what makes her excited about this new journey. I think she truly thinks she’s going to teach [Callie] something.
It’s wonderful how much they care about each other underneath because it makes those scenes that much more important. Now, with Callie being her lawyer, that’s gonna open up a whole can of worms.
Some might say that having Callie represent Kathleen is a bit of a risk. However, Callie just passed the bar and didn’t have much experience. Does Kathleen have faith in her, or is Callie just a puppet for Kathleen to essentially representing herself?
I think that Kathleen saw it as fun. Kathleen sees it as a challenge to teach Callie in a way that cannot be taught unless you are on the other side.
You can tell people things and give them advice from over here, but you learn more and understand more in ways that you might not have wanted once you were in the actual seat. So for Kathleen, it isn’t so much about winning or losing; it’s about teaching Callie how to play the game.
You mentioned this isn’t about winning or losing, but Kathleen’s future does hang in the balance.
Well, yeah, there’s that. There’s that.
Her freedom comes down to this one case.
It’s between a rock and a hard place. It keeps the tension high, which is good storytelling. Yeah, it’s really funny. This character has been so much fun to watch unravel because even the actors on the set are like, “Is she telling the truth?”
I’m like, “I don’t know. I’m not going to tell you. It’s called acting.” There’s a lot of stakes, that’s for sure. But I think it’s why people gamble. Some people like to be at a level of risk. That’s what Kathleen thrives on, and now she’s got somebody else who’s going to help her hopefully.
Tony and Rowan like to call Callie an impulse buy. In this episode, Kathleen hires Mariana for the secretary position two seconds after meeting her, who’s been answering the office’s phones for fun.
By the way, that was so much fun to do direct, and then to walk into the scene and act in it because I was laughing at [Cierra] so hard. Then I had to come in and be super serious and stern as Kathleen.
Those are the times when directing and acting is like, you have to shut off one type of emotion and skill and go to the other one. But how could you not? When anyone sees that scene, it’s like, “Why would you not hire her?” You’d almost be dumb not to have her in your office.
What are your thoughts on the episode you directed?
Every single character goes through a big shift in this episode. It’s a wonderful episode of growth and understanding. That is what made me so excited about directing it because I knew there were going to be some amazing performances from the actors. It’s a good one. I might be biased, but I think it’s a pretty great episode.
What was it like balancing directing and acting at the same time?
It’s a challenge. This one wasn’t as challenging as directing UnReal because, on UnReal, I was in almost every single scene, compared to Good Trouble, where I’m more of a secondary character. I’m not a lead, so for that, it was great because I was able to focus on being a director for most of my days in that episode.
But it’s a fun challenge. It doesn’t make me think about my acting, which is a nice break because I’m more concerned about the directing than I am about my acting. So it’s nice to take it off of me and focus on everybody else.
As a director, what did you want to come through in this episode?
Being an actor, who was also a director, it’s very much focused on the storytelling and the performance because that’s what I come from. That is what I am good at, helping form and develop for others.
Every character has such an incredible journey that I wanted them to know it was OK to take those beats or take those moments or take that space for themselves. They all have such big things happening to them. So it was about the performance more than anything. We focus on our strengths, and my strengths are in storytelling in general and getting the best performances out of other actors.
Did it help to be so familiar with the show, cast, and crew when you were directing?
It was definitely is a bonus. But again, it’s a different muscle, especially during COVID times. So many obstacles are different when you direct than when you act. So it was just trying to figure out all of those things and working your way around it, but everybody could not have been more supportive and helpful.
There’s a lot of scenes that I’m not a part of and a lot of actors I never got to work with yet, so it’s always helpful when another actor can say, “Oh, we did this scene last week, and I was in that same chair.” And I was like, “Oh, we don’t want that. I don’t want you in the same chair.” I do that as an actor for directors, and I always appreciate it.
I asked for it. I’m like, “You guys, last time you were in this room, where were you set up? Were you set up over here because I don’t want you to be in the same place you were in the last episode.” You have to engage with a lot of that, and it becomes a wonderful collaboration.
That’s all I ever wanted: when I have somebody directing me as a collaboration. I want to give everybody a voice because we’re all in this together. As a director, it’s about taking all those pieces and making them all work. It’s not like one goes over here and one goes over here. No, it’s like, we’re all in this together.
New episodes of Good Trouble Season 3 will air Wednesdays at 10/9c on Freeform. And if you missed the Season 3B premiere, remember you can watch Good Trouble online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.