Sofia Black-D'Elia & Ally Sheedy Talk Freeform's Single Drunk Female - Exclusive Interview

Freeform may be known for its binge-worthy dramas — it spawned such series as "Pretty Little Liars," after all — but it's about to be known for its comedy, too. The latest series to hit the network formerly known as ABC Family hails from Simone Finch, who previously worked on "The Conners," "Madam Secretary," and the "Roseanne" revival (via IMDb), and it's set to be a lot of fun. Titled "Single Drunk Female," this series follows Sofia Black-D'Elia as Samantha, a writer who moves home to Boston from New York City after losing her job in a drunken stupor-turned-violent episode. Ally Sheedy of "The Breakfast Club" fame portrays her mom, Carol, who has her own demons and who isn't sure how to handle her daughter living at home again at 28 years old. 


Luckily, we at The List had the opportunity to chat with Black-D'Elia and Sheedy about everything "Single Drunk Female," including their character arcs in the premiere season, how they brought their characters to life, and how their past projects influenced their acting in this series.

How Sofia Black-D'Elia and Ally Sheedy brought their characters to life

What can you both tell us and tease about the first season of "Single Drunk Female"?

Sofia: "Single Drunk Female" is a show about a gal in her late 20s who has to start her life over at a time when she really didn't expect to have to do that. I think it's a story of recovery and reconnection. And at its heart it's, for me at least, this amazing mother-daughter relationship played by Ally and I. And it's a messy, hopefully funny, relatable show that I think ultimately is quite hopeful.


Yeah, absolutely. Sofia, with you specifically, is there anything maybe from your upbringing that helped you really bring Samantha to life?

Sofia: Sure. I think that Sam felt really familiar to me. The neighborhood in Boston where Simone, our creator, grew up is, I think, culturally quite similar to the neighborhood I grew up in Northern New Jersey. So the dive bar scene, the drinking buddy of Felicia, that homey, familiar feel I recognized immediately. I'm a daughter. I love mother-daughter stories on TV. My relationship with my mother is the most special thing in my life. So yeah. I used a lot of things from my own experience, but I also really like invention and collaboration. And I tried to find a new version of Sam that's obviously inspired by Simone and little pieces of myself, but definitely somebody outside of that. I don't like to play myself. I really like acting and playing different people. So I did try to make her feel like her own special little entity.


That's amazing. And it definitely shows. With Ally, I wanted to ask you, because I'm very fascinated about how roles inform one another: How have your past roles influenced how you portray Carol?

Ally: I don't think I've ever played a role as quite like Carol. What influenced Carol for me was my experience as a mom, as a mother, and my relationship with my mother, right, so as a daughter. That's where Carol was coming from. And then the dynamic I have with Sofia was shaping the Carol-Sam relationship. So it was all coming out of all that messy stuff. Do you know?

How they see their characters' relationship

How did your relationship between the two of you as the co-stars for ["Single Drunk Female"] ... how did you guys come together?

Sofia: So we met when we made the pilot in Chicago, and I've been a fan of Ally's for a very long time and was so thrilled to have the opportunity to work with her. And lucky for me, she's also a really rad person on top of being an incredible actress. And we just got on really well right away. And I think saw this relationship in the same way and agreed on so many early decisions that the rest just fell into place. And it was just really fun. I think our characters really snap at each other and try to push one another in these really slight, weird ways, which is really fun if you're working with somebody that you trust and you love, which we do. So yeah. It was really fun for us.


Ally: Yeah.

Both Samantha and Carol are very nuanced characters, so I wanted to ask, how did you both get into character to play them?

Sofia: You just hope that the writing, I think, takes you there. And so on this show, it really did. I think that these two women felt really specific and detailed. And I felt at least that you could see who they were on the page. This is such a weird analogy, but I really love F1. And so often in F1 they talk about the car and you can be this amazing driver, but if you don't have a great car that year, you're never going to place. I feel like when you're working in television that the car is the script that you get every week. So we can only do so much if it's not there. And we just got lucky. Jenny is an amazing writer, obviously. I think Simone did such a great job of telling her story and being really specific and generous with it. And so then we had the fun job of bringing that to life.


Ally, I wanted to ask you, Carol specifically seems to hold in a lot of anger, especially at the beginning of the season. So I wanted to ask you how that was to portray? And how you portrayed it? But also how that might affect her arc throughout the season?

Ally: Fun. Fun. It's always fun to be able to ... we all have our rage, right. So it's always fun when it can be there.

Sofia: It's the best.

Ally: Yeah. Now listen, Carol didn't get any less angry during the course of the season. It's just that things just got a little bit less tense with Sam at the end. But nothing but traps all over the place. We'll just see how long that lasts, the detente. Do you know? So no. Everything that was — everything about Carol came out of this dynamic I had with Sofia ... all of it did.

Sofia Black-D'Elia compares Single Drunk Female and The Mick

That's amazing. Were there any scenes for either of you that were especially difficult to film?

Sofia: The roller skating for me was brutal. I consider myself to be a fairly athletic person, but I'm not graceful by any stretch of the imagination. And I fell really hard on my butt and had to see the medic. It was very embarrassing for a grown woman to not be able to move in skates for more than two minutes consecutively. So that was definitely the hardest for me.


Did you have any, Ally?

Ally: No, I mean, I had not any, technically. There was only one day that was technically difficult and that was ... Sofia, remember the hot dog? It was roastingly hot that day.

Sofia: Oh my gosh. It was so hot that day. Wow. I've really –

Ally: What?

Sofia: I've really put that out of my mind until –

Ally: It was so hot that day and they had to have –

Sofia: And we were cooking hot dogs over a grill. Yeah.

Ally: Just technically because of the heat and the smoke. It was a difficult day but –

That definitely sounds like it.

Ally: Yeah. I loved it. I loved it. The whole show.

I wanted to ask you, Sofia, [about] your previous work on "The Mick." That show has similar themes to this show, so I wanted to ask you how maybe that role helped prepare you for this one.


Ally: Oh, it helped me enormously. That job was really life-changing for me for a lot of reasons. In the same way that I looked up to Ally, I really have looked up to Kaitlin Olson for so long. I think she's easily one of the funniest people that's ever been on television. And as a physical comedian especially, she's such a gifted actor. And I just learned so much from watching her and being around her. And it was the first time I did comedy. So it gave me the confidence to go more in that direction.

I think Sabrina, the character I played on "The Mick," is,  I think she's definitely ... that show is, I think, definitely a bit broader and a bit darker than our show in a weird way. It's like I viewed Sabrina as a true sociopath. I think she was capable of murder. Sam is not like that at all. So Sabrina blames everybody else for anything that goes wrong because she genuinely believes that to be the case, whereas Sam blaming everybody else because she doesn't want to take any responsibility because deep down she knows she's a s**thead. So they're on opposite ends of the spectrum to me. But I loved working on that show so much and the Chernins ["The Mick" creators Dave and John Chernin] are two of my best friends. And I actually called them a lot during the making of this show for support and guidance and reassurance. So yeah. I don't think I ever would've been able to do this job without them.


You can catch Sofia Black-D'Elia and Ally Sheedy in Freeform's "Single Drunk Female" on Thursday, January 20, at 10 p.m. ET.