When Lola Kirke was in middle school in the early 2000s, she bypassed boy-band idolatry and specifically set her sights on a Mexican actor having his breakout moment in films like Y Tu Mamá También and The Motorcycle Diaries: Gael García Bernal. “I had a schoolgirl crush on him in eighth grade,” the now-26-year-old says with a laugh. Kirke’s preteen dream was realized when she landed the role of Hailey, an oboist in the fictional New York Symphony opposite García Bernal in Amazon Studios’ Golden Globe–winning drama Mozart in the Jungle. Just before the show’s third-season release on December 9, García Bernal called Kirke for a cross-continent catch-up.
GAEL GARCÍA BERNAL: I want to talk about the relationship between our characters, orchestra maestro Rodrigo and Hailey. What the hell is going on with us?
LOLA KIRKE: I think being in a truly romantic relationship would jeopardize what their partnership is actually about, and that’s creativity and friendship. I don’t think either of them wants to sacrifice the artistic bond, and I’m happy I get to play that out onscreen. It’s generally not the narrative we see on TV.
GGB: Do you think it’s hard to create similarly meaningful male-female friendships in real life?
LK: Well, we’ve been friends for a long time now, and I think one of the reasons is that you make me feel incredibly safe as an actor. Being surrounded by people who are as brave and thoughtful as they are talented makes what we do even more special.
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GGB: At the end of the day we’re trying to give people a broad-strokes depiction of the music world too.
LK: Sure, but most importantly, it’s about making art. While music is the specific art form we’re exploring in the show, the same things are true of any creative endeavor. It comes down to passion.
GGB: There’s a beautiful spot where Mexico, my home country, borders the United States. Artists are flocking there to paint murals, and it’s a similar form of expression.
LK: [If I were doing a mural there] I’d want to show a scene that depicts people loving one another and working together.
GGB: I read somewhere that your goal for 2017 is to learn Spanish.
LK: I have no clue where you heard that, but maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea! I think we’re at a moment in this country where we’re all feeling awake, so I do want to be a citizen of the world to help make change. People spend so much time trying to brand themselves on social media rather than teaming up to make an actual difference.
GGB: Our characters care so much about self-expression, but do you think they put a lot of thought into getting dressed every day?
LK: Hailey is kind of in tune with what others around her are wearing. I like that because it’s fun to play a character whose sensibility is different from mine. Personally, I dress in a way that reflects the freedom I want to feel as a woman. Lately I’ve been wearing sheer everything and putting my legs and armpits on full display. I’m not saying that all women should do specifically that, but it’s important for us to express ourselves however we want. Some days I don’t care at all what I put on my body, but some days I like to honor the sacred art of self-decoration.