Mary Holland On The Woman In The House, Kristen Bell, And The Wild Ending - Exclusive Interview

"The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window" has shocked and delighted audiences since its Netflix debut. The series' satirical play on the thriller genre is so expertly done that some fans didn't even realize that they shouldn't take it seriously. Kristen Bell leads the series as the jaded and traumatized former housewife who spends most of her time down wine, imbibing copious amounts of narcotics, and living in a land of delusions. She's joined by her best friend Sloane, played by Mary Holland.


While Holland has deep roots in the comedy scene, she's also starred in movies like "Happiest Season" and "The Package." She's also guest-starred in popular shows including "The Mindy Project," "Hoops," "Parks and Recreation," "Brooklyn Nine-Nine," and "Duncanville."

During an exclusive interview with Mary Holland for "The Woman in the House Across the Street From the Girl in the Window," she dished on what it was like playing Kristen Bell's bestie, the fate of her character, and the series' explosive finale. She also revealed how she feels about the ending of "Happiest Season" and teased her new film "Senior Year" with Rebel Wilson.

The mostly well-adjusted character amidst a sea of satire

Your character is one of the few in the series who isn't dramatized or part of that satirical nature a whole lot. So what was it like playing the typical best friend character in a series when everyone else was exhibiting some pretty outrageous behavior? And do you wish that you got to dive into that a little bit more?


Oh my gosh, yes. It was a joy to get to witness it in the table reads — watch everyone really fully dive into the drama of the show. That's an actor's dream, to get to do a comedy where the characters don't know they're in a comedy. That's so juicy. I would love to step into that genre a bit, but I also think there were tropes of that genre that Sloane did sort of unknowingly play into, which is, in these types of stories, the best friend seemingly doesn't really have her own life or really her own boundaries — or she doesn't respect the boundaries, at least, of her best friend. She shows up out of nowhere. She always assumes, "Hey, it's an open door policy between us."

I really love that with Sloane, and I love that she would do it and then realize in the moment, "I probably shouldn't have done that," and then wouldn't learn a lesson and do it again. Even though Sloane is definitely a source of levity and playfulness in the show, in her behavior, there were still tropes that she got to play with.


BFF goals

I love seeing positive female friendships play out on film and TV, and Sloane has steadfastly stood by Anna through all of her drama and bad choices. What was exciting to you about playing a character like this? What do you think that fans can learn from Sloane's BFF goals?


Something that I find very admirable about Sloane and Anna's relationship is that Anna went through one of the worst things a person could possibly go through and is mired in a darkness of grief. Even though there's the absurdity of her child being eaten by a cannibal in a span of ten minutes when her husband was taking a meeting right outside the door — the grief of it is real. That's part of what is so great about this show is that it really does speak to the intensity of a grieving process like that.

With Sloane and her relationship, it's challenging, as a friend, to witness another friend go through something so horrible — but also, especially, when they can't get themselves out of the darkness, when there's this seeming hopelessness to her ever being her old self again before this happened. What I love about Sloane is that she is not giving up on Anna being able to move through this. That's something we can all really learn from, is sticking with your friends when they're in the good place and when they're in the bad place, and especially when it feels like the bad place is never-ending, the importance of being there.


Spa days with Kristen Bell

Speaking of best friends, as Kristen Bell's on-screen best friend, you get to hang out with her and get your nails done, which is basically life goals for anyone.


[What] was it like working with Kristen and having a spa day with her, and do you have any real life spa days planned in the future?


I adore Kristen Bell. I was a fan of her for years before getting to do this show with her ... I could talk to her for hours. She's so lovely. She's so generous. She's so smart. It was a dream come true getting to get pampered in a spa with her. Right before we did that scene, and this speaks to what a kind and loving person she is ... I didn't know what I was going to be wearing for that scene until I showed up for work that day. I hadn't shaved my legs in a while, and I saw I was going to be wearing a skirt and that our feet were going to be [onscreen]. 

I was like, "Oh my God, I haven't shaved my legs," so she was like, "Okay, we'll get you some shaving cream." She managed to wrangle me shaving cream and a razor and then just sat beside me while we were waiting for the scene to get set up and while I just shaved my legs with no water. She is the greatest.


The ending of the show is absolutely wild, but you're not a part of those battle scenes. Did you get to read those scripts in advance, and how did you react to that plot twist? Did you see it coming?

Oh my God. No, I didn't see it coming. I thought for sure, leading up to it, it was going to be Buell, but no, I did not see that coming at all. I found out when we did the table read, we read all the episodes back to back. I wish I could have taken a screenshot of the Zoom of all of our faces when that moment happened. We were all like, "Ah!" When you see the fight happen, it is a pretty extensive fight, but reading the stage directions of what happens, it was so funny. It goes on for so long, and it's hilarious. Yeah, it really shocked me, and then it shocked me how brutal that fight was.

Sloane's future in the series

Sloane is heading off to New York with a fancy new job, but the show leaves off with Anna on a plane to visit you, where she may or may not have just witnessed another murder. So how do you think Sloane will tie into a possible Season 2? And what are some of the things that you'd like to see happen for her? Who [do] you want to see or interact with that maybe she didn't?


Yes. Oh my gosh. I would love it if Sloane became the Watson to Anna's Holmes. I think that would be really fun because I also think Sloane has no instincts — there's no part of her that's investigative. That would be very funny to see her in that role being totally useless to Anna. But, oh my gosh, I'd love to get to interact with Christina Anthony's character, the detective. I'd love to get a sense, because I have no idea what [Sloane's] life in New York would be like. Is she seeing somebody? Is she totally failing at the art scene out there? There's a lot of places she could go, but definitely being Anna's sidekick and solving crimes and being terrible at it would be [a fun] storyline.

The fan reaction to this show has been both incredible and wildly varied. Were you at all surprised by the reaction to the series and how it's inspired such adverse opinions?


I was, actually. It's always great when you can make something, and this goes for "Happiest Season," too, where people really engage, people really care, and they have thoughts, and they have opinions, and they have ideas about it. That is the best feeling as a creator, whatever those thoughts and feelings are. It's like, "Oh great. We made a story that people are invested in." I also understand the tone is so unique. It's so different in this show. The comedy's very subtle, but it's really there. It's going to hit with some people, and it's going to not hit with others, or they'll want it to have gone further into the comedy. It's very special. It's a really unique show, and I'm so glad people are engaging with it.

I was thinking about what scenes I thought would be cool for your character to have, and I really wish that we had Shelley [Hennig], Kristen, and you [have] a passive-aggressive moment with all three of you.

I would've loved that. The interactions with Shelley and Kristen were so smiley, and the tension underneath was so palpable. It would've been a joy to get to smile along with the rest of them and pretend like nothing's wrong.

Looking to a possible Season 2

Are there any other scenes from the first one that you wish you had been a part of? Anyone who probably won't be in the second that you wish you could have had some scenes with?

I have no idea what would be in store if there's a second season, but all of those actors and those characters, it was so wonderfully performed across the board. I hope I get to play with all of them again in a Season 2 or in something else. It would be interesting to see Sloane interact, but maybe that's part of her game is that she doesn't interact with any other characters besides Anna. Maybe she's been a figment of Anna's imagination this whole time.


What was the most exciting thing that you got to do on the show or a favorite scene that you were a part of?

Oh God, all of those scenes with Kristen were so much fun. Any and all of my scenes were with Kristen. I walked away any time I got to do a scene with Kristen and was like, "That was the best." I really love this scene where we're getting our nails done. We played around a lot in that scene when we were shooting it and just had a great time. I think the one that really made me laugh when we were doing it was when I show up outside her car, for some reason, when she's backing out. Yeah, that was really fun to do. I love that one.

The Woman in the Window meets The Woman in the House

Is there an actor that you'd love to see appear in the next season, maybe, a character you could think they would be really good at playing?

I would love Christina Anthony's detective character to come back. I think that she's very funny. The way Christina played her was so smart and so funny, and it would be great if she came back and continued to try to rein Anna's character in.


Any actors who aren't in the show which you'd like to see come onto the show?

Oh boy. There [are] so many phenomenal comedy actors that would be fantastic on the show, but it would be really cool to see people who mostly do dramas or have done this genre but the serious version of it, like Amy Adams or Emily Blunt or like these characters who have played the Woman in the Blank. To see them come on and do something fun would be really satisfying.

That would be so cool and meta if Amy came on because she was in the inspiration [movie "The Woman in the Window"].

I know!

That's a good pitch. I like that. Netflix, if you're listening...

Okay, cool.

Is there anything else about "The Woman in the House" that you wanted to talk about?


I hope people keep watching it. It's very exciting that people are responding to it the way they do. And gosh, is it easy to binge! You could watch all eight episodes and not even realize. I hope people tune in if they haven't already.

Hanging out with Kristen Stewart and Aubrey Plaza

In the movie "Happiest Season," you played Jane, who was even more satirized than your "Woman in the House" character. What was it like working alongside Kristen Stewart and Aubrey Plaza, and do you have any fun stories from on or off set?


Making that movie was a highlight in my life. Everybody on that movie was so fantastic. That was my first time working with Kristen. I had worked with Aubrey a couple times and know her from the comedy scene, so it was great to get to play with her again. Every single person in that cast loves games, including Mary Steenburgen. We'd have all these group scenes and then in between takes, relentlessly playing games. We played so many word games. We did every Escape Room in the Pittsburgh area. We had a really great time playing with each other ... very special memories of making that movie.

A lot of people were rooting for Kristen and Aubrey's characters to end up together in the end. Do you stand by the ending of the movie, and what would you say to fans who wanted Abby and Riley to be end game?


I do stand by the ending of that movie. Relationships are hard, and seeing somebody go through the very personal and very intense process of stepping into their authentic selves and sharing that with their family, it was important to show Harper's journey in that, and then also show the strength of the love that Harper and Abby had for each other. It [was] a difficult moment in their relationship, but their love was true and it was strong, and it was important for them to come together in the end. 

Aubrey and Kristen, yeah, they're wonderful together. They had such an easy chemistry with each other, but just because you have a chemistry with someone, and you get along with someone, it doesn't necessarily mean it has to be romantic. There's something really beautiful about their relationship being a very tender friendship and not necessarily going in the direction of romance.

Back to senior year

Do you have anything coming up that you want to talk about?

Yeah, I'm actually in a movie. They just announced the release date. It'll be on Netflix [on] May 13th — a movie called "Senior Year" that is a big, fun comedy. Rebel Wilson is starring in it, and it's got this wonderful cast of great characters. It's cheerleading, high school, dance, prom. There's so much going on. So I hope people watch that.


What was it like acting with Rebel Wilson?

Oh my God, she is so funny. She's somebody who really likes to play and riff and find it, and as an improviser, I love that too. That helps you as an actor. I feel like, even if none of that stuff gets used, it really helps you find the scene and find the dynamic. She was always game for that, always playing, always trying to find moments and jokes. She's so cool.

The first season of "The Woman in the House Across the Street from the Girl in the Window" is now streaming on Netflix.