Sutton Foster & Hilary Duff Give Us The Scoop On Younger Season 4

Photo: Courtesy of TV Land.
TV Land's Younger is many things: a sharp parody about the world of book publishing, a romantic comedy, and a testament to how far parents will go for their children. But at its heart, Younger is about the power of female friendships.
With that in mind, the sitcom's season 3 finale was its biggest cliffhanger yet. Liza (Sutton Foster) finally came clean to Kelsey (Hilary Duff) about her true age. While their friendship will overcome the lie eventually, there's a lot that needs to be repaired in their relationship. And according to the stars, it will take a good chunk of the season to reach that point.
"I was so relieved and excited when the big reveal happened," Duff tells Refinery29. "Kelsey is so hurt about being lied to and being betrayed that she really does not go easy on Liza... That's the first time for this show to really have conflict and stick it out, not slap a Band-Aid on it."
Still, Duff also says that "there would be no show" if Kelsey and Liza weren't friends anymore. So while it hurts to see Liza and Kelsey's falling out, it sounds like we can take comfort in the fact that they'll make peace with each other before season 4 is over.
Below, our conversation with Sutton Foster about her character and what we can expect when the show returns next week. (And yes — she told us whether she's Team Josh or Team Charles!)
Refinery29: What drew you to the role of Liza?
"When I first heard about the concept of the show, and Darren Star, and how witty and smart and funny it was... it just all seemed very appealing to me... She's messy, she makes mistakes, and she often doesn't choose wisely. But I think she's relatable in that way too. Because we all do that, you know? And if she were making all the right choices, it wouldn't be as entertaining... she is definitely the antihero.
"Nothing is malicious, she's not trying to hurt anybody. This whole thing started because she wanted to support her daughter, and it was the only way she could do it. So, therefore, she had to put on this mask and play this role to survive. And then she got swept up in it... Debi Mazar's character [Maggie], she’s always saying, 'You're more authentic now, as this person, even though it's based in this lie, than you were living in New Jersey and playing this other character,' basically. So it's like, we all play parts in our lives. So finally, she found one that fits, in a backwards way."
As an actress close to Liza's actual age, does the role takes on a personal feel for you? Have you seen ageism in your own industry?
"What's been interesting is, I started, the show started when I was 39. I'm 42 now... it's an interesting time to be in a show that deals with it and also, myself, sort of navigating it.
"As far as how I feel about my career, I haven't experienced ageism head-on. I know that that might come, but I also feel like I don't need to go backwards. I'm really looking forward to what’s ahead. And I'm looking forward to what my life opens up for me as I get older. In many ways, my career's never been more exciting... I'm very content with getting older. I think!"
For as much as we talk about Team Josh and Team Charles, female friendship really is at the heart of the show. How will Liza and Kelsey's relationship change now that Liza's told her the secret?
"Season 4, at least the first half of season 4, really deals with the fallout of Kelsey just feeling betrayed. It's less about the lie, and more about the lie. Like, the fact that she lied...
"The heart of the show is that relationship and, basically, how do Kelsey and Liza find their way back to each other and redefine their relationship? And the writers have done a really great job in navigating that. Because I think without that friendship and that relationship, the show would suffer. So it really is, how do they find their way back?"
Do you think she made the right decision in coming clean at that time?
"Definitely. I think she needed to redeem herself in some way. It was like she was a steamroller. I felt like all the wheels were coming off. And between Josh and Charles and the book, she needed to redeem herself in some way. And she realized that the one person that she's the closest to of all is the person she couldn't keep lying to. I mean, even as an actor, I felt that way. I was like, I can't believe you don't know! It just felt like, this thing, it didn't feel like it was worth it anymore. And so I think it was the perfect time for her to tell her."
I always like to imagine how Diana would respond if she found out.
"I feel like Diana's always known. Either she's always known, or it would just make her respect Liza more. I don't think she would be mad, though... There's a part of me that thinks that she would somehow come clean, and Diana's like, "I've known from Day One. What do you think I am, an idiot?"
You could really imagine the two of them being friends in a different world.
"I know, maybe! I think Liza understands her, and so, therefore, has immense patience and empathy. She gets who Diana is. Anyone else, I think, would not be the right fit for Diana. But Liza's like a perfect fit and can kind of put up with all of her shenanigans, because she knows where they're coming from."
What is it like to film those difficult scenes, like when Josh sees Liza kissing Charles [as he's about to propose]?
"When we read it, we were like, Oh my god, you know? And I think what's fun is that we all are so super-invested in our characters, and so super-invested in the storylines. So it was actually really hard. I remember when we filmed it, I had to go and hug Nico [Tortorella, who plays Josh]. It's like, 'Everything's okay! We're okay!' But it is, it's hard. We all genuinely care about the show, and each other. And we have relationships, obviously, on the show, but we have relationships off[screen], as a cast. And so it's super fun, because it's drama, and you're excited for audiences to see stuff. But there's real emotion involved in it."
Are you on one side or the other, Team Josh or Team Charles?
"Let me think about this. It's hard to say. I think right now — I can't believe I'm making a choice... The only reason I'll say it is because I feel like it hasn't been explored, is Team Charles.
"I feel like we need a little Team Charles. I love me some Josh, though. And I don't think Josh and Liza are done. I don't think their story is done. But I think Charles needs some...we need to see what that is. There's just a lot of stolen glances and smooches. It hasn't had a chance to be explored."
And they've set it up, with her getting along with his kids, too. There's so much potential.
"There's definitely a lot of potential. But I also feel like there are more complications that come into play. So it's not this easy road."
In the first three seasons, we've seen George R.R. Martin and Marie Kondo parodied on the show. Can we look forward to another well-known author being parodied in season 4?
"We definitely have some... there's a lot of nods to what's going on in our world right now. In our very first episode, we have a fantastic guest star playing a pretty topical role."
Are you a Game of Thrones fan? I'm really curious about filming those Pam-Pam scenes.
"I'm a huge Game of Thrones fan. And my husband's a writer, and he's really good friends with the creators of Game of Thrones, Benioff and Weiss. We were trying to get them to come and do a cameo on the show. But I'm a huge Game of Thrones fan, so all the Game of Thrones stuff was super fun."
What other shows do you like watching?
"We just finished watching Feud, which I thought was really fun. And then we just started watching Big Little Lies. We just watched the pilot last night, which I loved... I watched Stranger Things, which I really enjoyed."
Are there any good books you've read recently?
"I actually have a really cool story. I was traveling, I think to Los Angeles, and I was at the airport early in the morning, like six in the morning, and I was looking for a new book to read. And someone walks up to me and says — a guy, actually, like maybe in his 30s — he's like, 'I have to say, I love your show, I work in publishing, and we all watch it. Everyone in our office watches it.'
"And I was like, Oh my gosh! So I asked him, I said, 'I'm actually looking for a new book, will you recommend something?' And he recommended Ready Player One, which I loved. So that was the last book I read. But I thought that was really cool, that it was a dude who worked in publishing who said he loved the show."
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Season 4 of Younger premieres June 28 on TV Land.
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