To say we’re fans of The Leftovers would be an understatement. We love the show (now in it’s third and final season on HBO) and it’s stars, particularly Carrie Coon (aka Nora). She’s starred in so many of our favorite projects that it is hard to keep count: from her Tony-nominated role in Who’s Afraid of Virigina Woolf? to her part in Gone Girl, Coon has seen it all. We caught up with the actress and Broadway vet in advance of the Fargo Season 3 premiere (check it out this Wednesday) to talk about everything from her ideal food day to what makes Hollywood different from New York. Read below for her full interview; we can’t promise she’ll divulge any set spoilers, but we guarantee Coon’s advice will brighten your Monday morning. Happy reading, Potatoheads…
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
I’d start with Robie’s flapjacks with fresh fruit and coffee, then have lunch at one of our favorite taco spots. Dinner would be my husband’s grilled chicken finished with Stubbs Moppin’ Sauce and a fresh green salad with homemade dijon and shallot dressing, and I’d have popcorn on the stove and root beer for a late-night snack.
How do you practice beauty from the inside out?
Exercise alleviates my anxiety and keeps me sharp. I’m often living in three different places at once, and I get bored easily, so I try to choose a different activity in every city. In Australia, Ambrose Swindon at mind+body kicked off my post-knee surgery rehab. When I’m home in Chicago, I work with Brian Donovan on overall fitness and maintenance for my new ACL. In Calgary, I’m taking classes and private lessons at Calgary Pilates, and when I’m in New York, I go to Church Street Boxing. On the weekends, if the weather is nice, I’ll explore whatever city I’m in on foot. In the last year, meditation has become a very important part of my daily routine and my preparation on set. It’s free and you can do it anywhere, even if you only have 5 minutes.
What are your morning and nightly beauty routines?
If I have time in the morning, I’ll do a round with my NuFace; I use their plain conducting gel that I buy online. I have sensitive skin, so I wash my face with First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser and then I mix Intraceuticals daily serum with a few drops of SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic treatment, Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre if I need more moisture, and finally eltaMD UV Clear sunscreen every day.
At night, I’ve been using Jane Iredale’s Magic Mitt to remove my makeup with warm water; it’s like magic. I almost never wear make-up if I’m not working. Then I use Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA and her RESIST Intensive Repair Cream for dry skin. If my rosacea flares up, I’ll run my Baby Quasar over trouble spots beforehand.
What is always in your handbag? What beauty products can’t you live without?
I must have chapstick in some form. My husband knows that if we leave the house without it, we’re going back or stopping somewhere to buy some. My latest obsession is Lansinoh Nipple Cream, which is just pure lanolin. Several companies have repackaged their nipple creams and rebranded them as lip moisturizer, but I just go straight to the source. And it’s great for hands and elbows in a pinch!
What’s the biggest difference you’ve noticed between working in Hollywood and working on Broadway?
When you’re on Broadway, it feels like the best, nerdiest after-school club because you’re bound to run into all of the other artists on the season as they go about their pre and post show routines in and around Time Square. Hollywood is more spread out, and everybody has their own car so there are fewer joyful chance encounters.
Do you prefer one over the other? Why?
On stage every night, there’s no director to gauge my performance and there’s no editor curating the viewer’s experience: I’m the arbiter of taste. The theater is my touchstone because it returns me to my own voice, which in turn makes me a stronger collaborator across mediums.
What are some restaurants in Times Square that aren’t so square?
Green Symphony is the actors’ quick, healthy lunch place. Joe Allen and Bar Centrale are the social clubs for Broadway insiders. Orso and La Masseria are places I take family members when they come to town to catch a show.
We are huge The Leftovers fans – can you share any secrets about season 3 with us?
No. I’ll be murdered in my bed.
Have you ever been surprised by response the show has received?
Constantly and pleasantly. The critics have certainly been champions of the show from very early on, and we wouldn’t have survived without them. As for viewers, I’m rarely recognized, but when I am, it’s usually by a fan who has a very deep connection to the show’s depiction of grief. They often recount how the show brought them solace as they were recovering from some very personal tragedy. Those encounters are very meaningful to me.
What is your go-to lunch on set?
Apples and peanut butter is my favorite snack. If it’s a long day, I go for the protein, load up on vegetables and indulge in an Arnold Palmer.
How do you start your day? What is your typical breakfast?
I always travel with my hand-grinder, an Aeropress and my stovetop milk frother because I have one, maybe two cups of coffee a day, and they must be good. Then I’ll have oatmeal with greek yogurt and maple syrup or wheat toast with avocado and a fried or hardboiled egg.
You’ve graced some pretty incredible sets, was there one in particular you looked around and thought “I can’t believe this is happening?” What was it? How’d the project turn out?
One of the final scenes in Leftovers (no spoilers!) required an intricate set with a complicated function and it was rendered with such loving care and detail by our craftspeople in Australia. As an actor, it made my job so easy because I didn’t have to imagine anything–just walk in and marvel at my surroundings. It was such a gift.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
Other people’s blessings. Andre de Shields told me that, when he was playing the Stage Manager to my Emily in Our Town at Madison Repertory Theatre. An actor’s life is a life filled with rejection. If someone gets a job you wanted, it was their blessing. Yours is coming, but that wasn’t it. Don’t covet other people’s blessings.
If you could host a dinner party with any five people living or dead who would you have over? And what would you serve?
This is an impossible question, but today I choose: Jane Goodall, Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, Gloria Steinem and James Baldwin (my best friend, Tona Boyd, a Civil Rights Lawyer and fabulous entertainer doesn’t count against my five, but she would obviously be there). I would plan an easy spring pasta followed by a beautiful plum tart, but we’d never get beyond the wine and cheese because the conversation would be so stimulating!
What issue do you feel most passionately about right now and why?
Excuse me while I take a break and go meditate.
In the same vein as what is the new black in fashion, what’s the new potato right now?
*Carrie Coon, photographed at Smith & Mills in New York, NY by Danielle Kosann