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TNT CLAWS Q&A w/ Niecy Nash, Karrueche Tran, Judy Reyes, Carrie Preston + Episode Guide & More!

Maj Canton - June 11, 2017

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Move over Cookie Lyon… there’s a new badass in town and her name is Desna and she’s fabulous! On Sunday, June 11, 2017 at 9pm ET/PT, TNT premieres the wickedly funny one-hour dramedy CLAWS, set in a Central Florida nail salon. CLAWS follows the rise of five diverse and treacherous manicurists working at the Nail Artisan of Manatee County salon, where there is a lot more going on than silk wraps and pedicures. At the center is salon owner Desna (Niecy Nash), who lives with and cares for her mentally ill twin brother, Dean (Harold Perrineau). Desna's staff includes best friend Jennifer (Jenn Lyon), a tenuously sober ex-party girl raising two children from previous relationships; Quiet Ann (Judy Reyes), Desna's enigmatic driver who also provides security for the salon; Polly (Carrie Preston), a mild-mannered preppy who recently served time in prison for identity theft; and Virginia (Karrueche Tran), who makes no effort to hide her boredom and impatience with her job. Adding chaos to the Nail Artisan mix is Roller (Jack Kesy), a gangstered-out redneck who runs a barely legal pain clinic and uses Desna's nail salon to launder their obscene profits; Bryce (Kevin Rankin), Jennifer's husband who is also newly sober and trying to stay legit by working as an abundance coach; Dr. Ken Brickman (Jason Antoon), a bona fide doctor at a decidedly un-bona fide drug clinic; and Uncle Daddy (Dean Norris), a dangerous Dixie Mafia crime boss who is deeply Catholic and actively bisexual. Here’s a series that hits the nail on the head -- enjoy!

 


 


 

Q&A WITH 'CLAWS' CAST: NIECY NASH, CARRIE PRESTON, KARRUECHE TRAN, JUDY REYES, JENN LYON

This past January at the Television Critics Association (TCA) Winter Press Tour, TNT presented a CLAWS panel that included Nicey Nash, Karrueche Tran, Carrie Preston, Jenn Lyon and Judy Reyes. Here are a few highlights (edited for clarity and readability) from that panel.

 



Question: What do your nails say about you?


Niecy Nash: (Joking) Well, my nails say I'm promoting CLAWS at TNT. I like things that are very ornate anyway. So, they definitely say I'm happy to be a woman.


Judy Reyes: I like to keep them short, to the point. I'm a mom; I have a seven year old. You know what I mean? Dark, interesting, mysterious, control, you know? I take care of my girls. Kind of like to speak to the character as well. You know, don't mess with me kind of thing.

Jenn Lyon: On the show my nails are very, like, cheetah, hot pink, purple. And I think it speaks to the fact that she is sort of tenuously sober and trying to be good, but she's still got that party girl inside of her.


Carrie Preston: On the show I play a person who's kind of an illusionist --she's pretending to be this preppy socialite from, you know, Hilton Head or the like, but inside, she's got a lot of stuff going on. There are a lot of layers to be peeling to get to my character. So, they kept me in the, sort of, baby pink, plain, that's my front, but I think underneath it is something more like what Carrie Preston is got going on.


Karreuche Tran: My nails are very plain and basic for what Virginia usually wears. Virginia is very over-trendy and very full of attitude, and her nails on the series show it. They're neon green; they glow in the dark; they're very long; they're pointy; I've got a charm. So, it's a lot of this going on.


Question: Jim Gaffigan, the comedian, got in a lot of trouble because he tweeted something about how women are crazy to get their nails done; no man has ever cared about what women's nails -- all which is true, but then people responded to that by saying, "Who cares what men think? We're not doing it for men."


Karrueche Tran: Exactly.


Niecy Nash:It's the kind of thing that doesn't really have to be explained. We want to do what we want to do.


Carrie Preston: And that's part of the show. That's the show. And we're going to support each other.

Jenn Lyon: When you get your nails done and you watch yourself open a doorknob or, drive, it feels good.


Niecy Nash: Not to mention the fact that when you go to the nail salon, that's where we gather. That's our sports bar. That's where we go to hang out and enjoy one another.


Judy Reyes: We pamper each other; we pamper ourselves.


Question: The actual nails seem to be their own special effects. And did you find it difficult to actually maneuver, like, your scripts or tablets or actually doing the nails on set?


Karrueche Tran: I have the longest nails. I had a charm. So going to the bathroom, showering, it was hard to do it because my hair would get stuck and then I would poke myself, but I think I learned.


Niecy Nash: I've been getting my nails long since I was probably 16. The roles that I take require me to make them shorter, but in my real life I think I've always had them kind of long, so I didn't really struggle too tough.


Question: Can you talk about these roles? You don't normally see many female-centric shows like this on television, and I'm sure that was part of the draw, but can you talk about coming into this?


Niecy Nash: Well, the one thing I will say is we all had a similar reaction when we first read that script, which is,"Say what now?" We devoured it. We absolutely love the script. And we all collectively, I think, agree that we had not seen this show on television. So, we were so happy to be a part of telling this particular story about women in this very weird way, and intense way.


Carrie Preston: It’s about these women who are prevailing in whatever way. Today, women are trying to prevail as much as possible. It was excitng to read a script like this that's about women, a tribe of women who are not after each other. These four characters are true sisters, and they're family and they've created this situation where they can prevail together. They don't have to do it alone.

Jenn Lyon: I was also attracted to it that they were, real women. I think any time you can, eat food and also be on TV --it's like a win for all of us.


Judy Reyes: And not wear makeup and be on TV.


Niecy Nash: And be a woman of a certain age and still have sex on TV. Come on.


Question: Neicy, the character you play is very morally conflicted. She does a lot of things that live in the gray. And outside of the ShondaLand of shows, those opportunities don't really seem to be available for women of color to really play in what makes people so interesting. Could talk a little bit about sort of the appeal for you in this world?


Niecy Nash: Well, I was excited to play Desna because she was so different from every woman I've ever played up until this point. And the other thing was that there are so many layers to her. On the surface, you might think here is this, you know, rough and tumble hard woman, but there are so many points in the writing that shows you all of her sides and all of her colors, and it was a blessing to play. I know some women who don't look like me at all, who wanted this role. I consider myself a very blessed woman to be able to be cast in this role and then to have these ladies with me. I mean, literally, when we were filming in New Orleans I’d wake up and go downstairs and I know I'm going to see them in the van and I instantly get happy because it's going to be a good time from the rooter to the tooter.


Question: Karrueche, did your experience as a personal shopper (at Nordstrom) help you in any way with the role you got?


Karrueche Tran: Yes, Virginia is very trendy. She is not like myself, so I was able to create a character from Virginia. She wears a Kangol hat, a netted shirt, boody shorts, socks, and slides-- just so ridiculous, but just so Virginia.



Character Descriptions

 

 

"Desna Simms" (Niecy Nash): the owner of the salon, a gangster stuck in a moll’s body, a discerning curator of the female oddities who make up her crew. Desna will throw down and fight to the death but also eats Lean Cuisines and worries about getting fat.

 

"Polly" (Carrie Preston): a mild-mannered preppy who works as a manicurist at the nail salon. Polly has recently been released from prison, where she did time for identity theft on seniors. Beneath that southern gentility beats the heart of a con artist and master manipulator.

 

"Dean" (Harold Perrineau): Desna’s autistic brother, a male Blanche DuBois, a hothouse flower and budding outsider artist who lives in a hermetically sealed world maintained by his loving, overprotective sister.

 

"Jennifer" (Jenn Lyon): Desna's best friend and co-worker, a hard woman with a filthy sense of humor, used to be wild but has settled down a lot. Tenuously sober, loves her kids more than anything but sometimes feels trapped.

 

"Quiet Ann" (Judy Reyes): a woman of few words, an enigma who discovered women in prison – and discovered is an understatement, mastered is more like it. Now her thing is macking bored Florida housewives and being Desna’s driver and muscle when necessary.

 

"Virginia" (Karrueche Tran): our troubled ingénue, in a strippery kind of way. What you see first in Virginia - the bored hotness, the attitude, the bluster - disguises her truth, which is that she’s desperately looking for a place to belong.

 

“Uncle Daddy” (Dean Norris): a larger-than-life, dangerous, deeply Catholic bisexual who runs go-go joints up and down the Gulf Coast. He raised Roller and Bryce when their father was shot. This is a man who lives his numerous contradictions right out in the open.

 

"Roller" (Jack Kesy): a gangstered-out redneck who runs his uncle’s barely legal pain clinic and uses Desna's (Niecy Nash) nail salon to launder their obscene profits. A swaggering man-beast who thinks he owns the world. Roller's outrageous lifestyle just might be his downfall.

 

"Dr. Ken Brickman" (Jason Antoon): a bona fide doctor with a decidedly un-bona fide job, working at Uncle Daddy’s illicit drug clinic.

 

"Bryce" (Kevin Rankin): Jennifer’s husband, also tenuously sober, Roller’s less flashy older brother, an abundance coach and motivational speaker with $37 in his bank account.

 


Episode Guide

 

 

If you want to know nothing about the episodes at all, skip this section. Provided by TNT, this episode guide includes general episode descriptions and specific plot details.

 

"Tirana"
Debut: SUNDAY, JUNE 11 at 9pm ET/PT
Desna (Niecy Nash) and her girls take pride in doing nails at the Nail Artisans of Manatee County, but amidst painting hooves and dreaming of a better life, she finds herself entangled in a money laundering scheme with the Dixie Mafia. As New Year’s Eve approaches, Desna’s promise of getting out and going clean is complicated when things go south with Roller (Jack Kesy), leading her and newcomer Virginia (Karrueche Tran) to take matters into their own hands, changing their lives forever.

"Funerary"
Debut: SUNDAY, JUNE 18 at 9pm ET/PT
Following their entanglement with Roller (Jack Kesy), Desna (Niecy Nash) and Virginia (Karrueche Tran) desperately prepare a cover story to tell the girls and the Dixie Mafia. Meanwhile, Desna's dream salon is falling out of her grasp. Virginia suddenly goes MIA, only to return with a concocted story that sends Desna on a journey she never thought she would have to take.

"Quicksand"
Debut: SUNDAY, JUNE 25 at 9pm ET/PT
As Virginia's (Karrueche Tran) lies deepen, Desna (Niecy Nash) plays catch-up covering their tracks. Desna still has a small shot at her dream salon, and with the help of her crew, she is determined to get it. Something goes awry at the clinic, putting Desna and Bryce (Kevin Rankin) in danger of Uncle Daddy’s (Dean Norris) wrath until they can figure a way out.

"Fallout"
Debut: SUNDAY, JULY 2 at 9pm ET/PT
Desna is haunted by recent events with Roller, which motivates her to try to spring from Uncle Daddy's control. Also, Bryce falls deeper into the Dixie Mafia; Polly reconnects with her former gold-digging friend; and Quiet Ann gets into a lady-mess.

"Bats**t"
Debut: SUNDAY, JULY 9 at 9pm ET/PT
Desna and Jennifer may be Dr. Ken's only hope, as Bryce wrongly accuses him of a heinous crime. Dean sees a disturbing billboard ad that hits too close to home, leaving Desna to cope with the dark aftermath. Meanwhile, Virginia and Desna are forced to go to Polly for help to rid the world of two horrible birds from Desna's past, with one well-aimed stone.