Alex Karpovsky

Alex Karpovsky Talks HBO’s ‘Girls’ And Films ‘Rubberneck’ & ‘Red Flag’ [Exclusive]

Alex Karpovsky is quickly proving he’s one of the best talents to emerge out from under wunderkind Lena Dunahm’s thumb. A Boston native, the actor was cast in Dunham’s first film Tiny Furniture, which garnered Dunham the attention of Judd Apatow and the powers that be to create HBO’s most talked about show Girls.

In Girls, Karpovsky plays Ray, a brassy, but sensitive barista that takes on a more observant role in the lives of the 20-something Brooklyn characters that orbit his world. Unlike most of the characters on Girls, Ray wasn’t introduced to the audience with half the contents of his life out on the table. He has slowly been introduced to us in a slow burning, unfurling process that Karpovsky and Dunham have fostered quite admirably.

Proving that he has more to say outside of the 20-something spectrum, Karpovsky has been turning out a diversified body of work as a writer, director, and actor for the last seven years . With his recent Tribeca release, Rubberneck, Karpovsky brings forth a suspenseful story, that opens itself up to unpredictability as it does to the slow-burning character driven pieces the actor has a penchant for. In the film, Karpovsky plays an emotionally stunted scientist who can’t scratch an infatuation with a co-worker. The tension-filled atmospheric film is just one of several that Karpovsky has released over the years. His second film in the double feature running through Tribeca Film is Red Flag, a semi-autobiographical piece that plays with the elements of Karpovsky’s image and love life in the same vein of Larry David’s work.

Alex Karpovsky spoke with The Inquisitr’sNiki Cruz two weeks ago about last week’s episode of Girls, the Golden Globes, and his recent double feature release.


THE INQUISITR: Are you from New York?

ALEX KARPOVSKY: No. I’m from Boston; the suburbs of Boston. What about you?

THE INQUISITR: Staten Island.

KARPOVSKY: Oh yeah? We have an episode on Staten Island coming up on Girls.

THE INQUISITR: Oh, do you? I can’t wait to hear what you guys have to say about us.

KARPOVSKY: Yeah, Staten Island is very much featured in it. It’s very much a supporting character in the episode. We were shooting close to the ferry. We were near the water.

THE INQUISITR: That would be the place to film. You’re getting all this mainstream recognition now by being on Girls, and your role prior in Tiny Furniture, does that change your perspective on what kind of films you want to make?

KARPOVSKY: No it doesn’t. I’m still interested in sort of obscure, character driven stories. Maybe the opportunity to make films with a little more resources will broaden but maybe it won’t. I think the type of story I want to tell won’t change, or it hasn’t changed yet. I hope it doesn’t change, but maybe the way of telling it might change.

THE INQUISITR: Were you there for Girls‘ Golden Globe win?

KARPOVSKY: No, I wasn’t. I was there for the Emmys, which we didn’t win!

THE INQUISITR: It must have felt nice though, to go through the award season for the first time.

KARPOVSKY: Of course! It’s my first time by a long shot.

THE INQUISITR: I had a conversation with director Daniel Schechter about the film you starred in [Supporting Characters], and he asked Lena for notes when he was making his micro-budget. Do you ever ask her for notes on your own films?

KARPOVSKY: I haven’t asked her for advice yet. It’s only because of timing. Rubberneck and Red Flag were congealing by the time we started working together on Girls. If that weren’t the case I probably would have, definitely. I trust her judgment so much; I would have asked her at some point what her opinions were.

THE INQUISITR: The last episode of the show that aired was a huge Ray-centric episode. It was perfect. We really got a look into how he views himself, and his place in the world.

KARPOVSKY: Oh, well thank you. I watched it once, just so I know what to say in interviews. I’m also curious how things translate from our table read to our shooting, and the edit. As a filmmaker I’m curious about the translation of it all.

THE INQUISITR: When you started on the show, was there ever any discussions on Ray’s background?

KARPOVSKY: I didn’t have any that I remember. It was pretty clear to me what they wanted from Ray from the beginning. The writing on the show is very clear. I feel like I got it, I liked it, and we didn’t really need to have too many conversations. Also Ray was sort of brought in very gradually. They introduced him subtlety and I feel like I got to know him slowly.

THE INQUISITR: The scene between Ray and Shoshanna [Zosia Mamet] in the train station is probably one of the most vulnerable scenes we’ve seen thus far from you and Zosia. How did you prepare for that scene?

KARPOVSKY: Well, that was already halfway through season two, so at that point I felt like I had a pretty good understanding of who Ray is, what Ray’s underpinnings were, what his issues are regarding romance and love, and what some of the demons he’s fighting. I have some understanding. I know Zosia [Shoshanna] has probably a much greater understanding of her character just because we’ve seen a lot more of her. I think what I try to focus on, now that I feel like I have that foundation, is just to be present, be focused, and be able to listen and respond to her.

THE INQUISITR: Working with Zosia must be a blast. She has a real effervescent energy about her. How is it feeding off of that?

KARPOVSKY: She’s an incredible improviser. She’s an incredible actor. She’s incredibly subtle, and present, and if I can keep up with her, it should be a good scene. Her character is so raw and exposed, and sincere, and I think that’s a lot of the reasons why Ray likes her. She’s such a counter weight to these sort of ironic, hipsters that he seems to work around and see every day at Greenpoint. Here’s this sort of vibrant, effervescent injection of honesty. For him to try to tap into that and ride that wave is not only engaging for him, but it’s cleansing for him.

Alex Karpovsky