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Merritt Wever Breaks Down Filming Romantic Comedy With A Live Duck For Apple TV+'s Roar

There's a new addition to Apple TV+’s catalogue of great shows, and it's the anthology series, Roar, from the creators of Netflix’s GLOW. Each episode follows a new female character who's placed in a unique, and often funny, narrative that speaks to the struggles of womanhood. In what's arguably wildest episode of the season, Merritt Wever’s Elisa finds herself getting swept away in a romance with, yes, a duck.

The story, titled “The Woman Who Was Fed By A Duck,” serves as the high point for the series because it’s truly where Roar’s concept works best. It takes the topic of modern dating and turns it on its head, going a couple steps sideways into the peculiar to commentate on the common struggle from a new perspective. In the episode, Elisa spends a lot of her free time alone studying at a duck park, until one of them walks up and strikes up a conversation with her. The duck, named “Larry,” is not like the other guys she’s dated, because he actually listens. And from there, the story progresses.

CinemaBlend had the chance to speak to Merritt Wever about “The Woman Who Was Fed By A Duck” and she shared what it was like to film the rom-com satire opposite the fowl. In her words: 

We had the live duck in every scene and I would just talk to it. I assumed my experience of shooting was going to be like acting to a piece of tape for most of it, which I personally hate as an actor or maybe we'll grab a couple of lines here or there, but the duck I'm sure will be like walking away or talking and we'll never get a whole take. And instead it ended up being like a really great experience. The duck was attentive. Like it was watching me, it was listening, it was moving its head depending on what I said and how I said it, it was very, very alive, which is strangely what you want from a scene partner. And I didn't know what it would do moment to moment if it would start talking, if it would hop off the toilet and squawk away, which added this energy and made things very unpredictable, which was helpful.

While the star didn’t have high expectations for her scenes with an actual duck in the episode, she found the animal to be an especially great scene partner on set. Ducks are apparently great at being “attentive,” as humans speak to them, from the actress’ experience. In terms of her reaction to some of the especially wild moments in the episode, here’s what she said: 

I didn't get to encounter the script without context. It got sent to me with a note that said, it's about a woman who's in an emotionally abusive relationship with a duck. So, I never had the experience that you got to have, which is just starting to watch this thing and being like, oh, it's a woman, it's an animal, the animal talks, oh, now they're dating now. So, I'm very curious to hear what people's response is because it's an encounter with the material that I didn't get to have.

The installment definitely takes viewers on a journey, especially when it settles into some of the off-color moments of that truly run the course of typical romantic comedies. Though Merritt Wever had been brought up to speed right away regarding the more dramatic themes of the episode rather than going in blind. Our experiences as viewers are certainly different from hers, and she seems very intrigued to see how we react to it. 

Merritt Wever’s episode is one of eight stories, which are packed with other talented actresses including Issa Rae, Nicole Kidman, Cynthia Erivo, Alison Brie, Betty Gilpin and Fivel Stewart. CinemaBlend also spoke to Stewart about her episode, an “empowering” western “The Girl Who Loved Horses” and the series’ creator about Kidman’s episode “The Woman Who Ate Photographs.” 

You can stream all of the Roar episodes with an Apple TV+ subscription

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