For some, Rose Byrne’s new series Physical might be a tough watch. The ‘80s tinged Apple TV+ drama might seem like glamorous fun from the trailer, what with its big hair and aerobics plot line, but there’s darkness underneath all that glitter. Byrne’s character, Sheila, underwent childhood trauma and suffers from severe bulimia. She’s also in a downright dismal marriage—one that’s making her realize more and more that she could have some issues standing on her own two feet. All the while, Sheila’s inwardly berating herself, calling out her self-perceived obesity issues, her lack of control, and her lack of personal skills. It’s not great—especially for viewers who might be suffering from their own issues—but it’s that monologue that gets viewers to realize that, even though Sheila might look perfect, in fact she’s deeply, deeply troubled.
For Byrne, that monologue was all about letting Physical viewers know that nothing is ever as it seems. As she told us:
It’s about appearances. Sheila does look perfect, so why would she have any problems? She’s a skinny, pretty woman who has a seemingly pretty good marriage. And then you slowly realize none of that matters. She has an illness and there is a deep, deep problem with her. She has an addiction. And like any addict, she says, “This is the last time. I’m never going to do this again. I just have to do this one more time...”
Her inner monologue is uncomfortable and it’s very harsh and it’s ruthless and it’s awful. But it’s her illness and hurt people hurt people.
More from Byrne plus co-star Rory Scovel’s thoughts on why he’s not on the wall at his tenant and friend Sara Schaefer’s tiny comedy club, The Ha Ha Hole, are in the video above.
Image Credit: Apple TV+