A Word With: Alia Shawkat on Growing Up and Gaining Control

Now that she has located Chantal, where should we expect to find Dory?

The most interesting shows are when you watch an evolution of the character. Dory started off very lost. Her kindness was misinterpreted for weakness. Then she discovered something that she was good at, that she cared about because she thought it was helping other people. She’s been so blindly self-obsessed that she didn’t realize she’d alienated those closest to her. So, in the second season, she’s unveiling that she’s not what she thought she was.

“Search Party” has been called one of the most realistic portrayals of millennials on TV.

Millennials definitely think that they’re doing something for somebody else, when it’s actually just a selfish act. The show’s main characters are kind of despicable people, and at the end, Dory realizes that she’s actually the worst off. And I think they’re relatable because the creators Charles Rogers and Sarah-Violet Bliss write as if they’re people they’ve known for a long time, where you know their worst qualities but still really care about them.

In Season 4 of “Transparent,” you play a sex addict in a three-way with Sarah and Len. You’ve said you like being naked onscreen.

Honestly, I don’t think it’s going to get any better physically. I’m at my peak. But yeah, if it’s right for the story, then it completely makes sense to me. In the work I’ve done, I’ve communicated what I want it to be and set up safe environments. There’s so much power in a naked woman’s body. And that’s how you reclaim being naked in front of someone — because it’s not about how people are going to look at me, it’s about how I feel in my body.

The season also takes the Pfefferman family to Israel, and Ali visits Ramallah in the West Bank.

Weirdly, art very much mimicked life with that show. I come from an Arab family; my father is Muslim, and so I have grown up always pro-Palestine. Right before reading the script for “Transparent,” I decided to visit Palestine, and I stayed in Ramallah. It was a lot of young, amazing, vibrant artists actively talking about the situation but then laughing in the next breath. When I got back and we read these scripts, I was like, “This is insane.” Jill [Soloway, the show’s creator] gives so much to Jewish faith, but she made such a beautiful point without demonizing Israel.

A fifth season of “Arrested Development” will come out on Netflix next year. You originated the role of Maeby Fünke half a lifetime ago.

Maeby is in many disguises this time around. And the whole family is back together a lot more, which has been fun. Michael Cera and I talk all the time about how we’re literally standing on the exact same sets, in the same position, as when we were 14.

You’ve acted since you were 8. What do you make of the allegations of sexual harassment against Harvey Weinstein and the subsequent ripple effect?

It’s not just a ripple effect, it’s an earthquake. It’s a restructuring so powerful and raw and upsetting. It feels like a personal war. I’ve looked back at times I thought I had under control, where I now go, “I should have said something instead of laughing it off.” Now I don’t feel nervous to call somebody out and say, “That’s inappropriate.” Especially in the comedy world, a lot of inappropriate things fly. And I was always the funny girl in the group, but still the girl, and never considered as funny or able to keep up. And I don’t care about the opinion of some guy, like Woody Allen’s let’s not make this a witch hunt. You say that as like, “Let’s be chill.” And I’m like, “[Expletive] be chill.”

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