If you loved Carrie Preston in ‘True Blood’ and then as the brilliant but highly quirky attorney in ‘The Good Wife’ and ‘The Good Fight,’ then you better catch up with TNT’s new hit show ‘Claws,’ about 5 women working in a nail salon in Florida.
When you first see Carrie Preston‘s new character, Polly, in Claws, she seems bizarrely out of place among her tight group of friends who are desperately trying to make their dreams happen in the Nail Artisan salon in West Florida. That’s because most of the women stalk around in 5-inch heels with pushed up and out cleavage in skimpy clothes, while Polly looks like an escapee from a Palm Beach golf club. Polly, in her Lilly Pulitzer-esque dresses, pearls and cardigans tied around her neck with minimal makeup could easily slip into the lunch scene at Mar-a-Lago golf club. And yes, she looks like she could have voted for Donald Trump. But, Polly’s looks are deceiving as is so much about the Nail Artisan salon, which is renowned for its long, highly enameled and flashily-decorated nails. That’s what makes the series so engrossing.
It turns out that while the chief proprietor of the salon, Desna, played by Niecy Nash, is secretly fronting a money laundering operation for the pain med clinic in its strip mall while she’s also desperately trying to escape the scene. She wants to make her dreams of a high-end nail salon happen in a far ritzier part of town and bring along her tight-knit gang of girls, including Polly. Now Preston, 40, who has had an epic career playing richly layered characters on TV, tells HollywoodLife.com EXCLUSIVELY all about Claws, why she joined and what attracted her to playing Polly.
1) What made you want to sign on to Claws?
Carrie Preston: People want to watch TV that will surprise them. Despite the name, Claws, the show is about women who are finding strength with each other. It’s set in a nail salon, which is a traditionally female place, but what they’re involved in — money laundering — is usually perpetrated by men. Desna, the central character, has brought all the women together — she’s the center of their little storm, and she has brought my character, Polly, into her fold.
2) Why did the character, Polly, appeal to you?
CP: What I like to do as an actor is transform. It’s way more fun to play characters who are completely different than me. I like playing characters who appear one way on the outside but are actually very different from that. (Polly looks like a sweet, conservative Palm Beach matron, but in reality has just been released from prison, where she landed after being convicted as an identity thief). Polly is a duplicitous, manipulative person. She wants to have people think she’s a demure housewife, but she’s literally an identity thief and she steals people’s identities to present herself. She got along just fine in prison and apparently she can drink anyone under the table.
3) Did you actually learn how to give manicures to play your role in the nail salon?
CP: Yes, the producers brought in three nail artisans and we spent a whole day creating exquisitely decorated press-on nails that we apply in the salon. They also brought in nail artists who taught us how to hold the instruments and we got a crash course in gels. Each episode, an artist Gracie Joseph, prepared all the nails we’d wear. I actually perfected texting with my knuckles.
4) How do you wear your nails when you’re on your own?
CP: I like a round nail and not too long. I like to have control of what I do with my hands. I don’t want hands longer than my legs. I sure have a much higher level of respect for the nail technicians when I’m getting my own manicures and pedicures done now.
5) Why do you think viewers are loving Claws?
CP: Since the beginning of time, women have had to fight for what they deserve and it’s great to see a woman like Desna do that. People like Polly give her power. She gets power from the camaraderie of the women. The show is devining individual power from collective power. I’m proud to be a part of a wave of strong women on TV!
HollywoodLifers, you can watch Claws on TNT every Sunday at 9 PM ET!