‘Maid’: Nick Robinson & Anika Noni Rose Preview ‘Layered’ Roles in the Netflix Series
Netflix’s Maid might focus its spotlight on Margaret Qualley‘s Alex, but the characters around her serve as a driving force behind her actions, many of which stem from Nick Robinson‘s Sean and Anika Noni Rose‘s Regina.
Inspired by Stephanie Land’s 2019 memoir, Maid follows Alex as she tries to build her own life after leaving an abusive relationship with Sean, the father of her daughter Maddy (Rylea Neveah Whittet). Driven by a desire to build a better life for Maddy, Alex meets several angels in disguise over the series — even if she might not think so at first — which is the case for her initial interaction with employer Regina.
As viewers follow Alex on this roller coaster ride, Robinson and Rose deliver moving performances that they both credit showrunner Molly Smith Metzler for facilitating with fantastic writing. “She wrote an incredible character that was well-realized and fully-formed,” gushes Robinson. “So it made my job much easier. I didn’t have to make anything up or try to find something that wasn’t there. It was just all on the page.”
For Robinson, who is known for roles in A Teacher and Love, Simon, he was eager to take on this part that is quite different than any he’s had before. “It was a departure from other roles that I have done in the past,” the actor shares. “Sean is not always a likable character. Most of the time he’s unlikeable and it was fun to play the villain, but also deal with some very heavy and pressing issues.”
Among those heavy and pressing issues is the abusive behavior Sean exhibits towards Alex, which stems from his own personal demons. “I hope people come away [from the show] with a better understanding of the different layers of Sean and the reason that he is what he is,” says Robinson. “None of this is an excuse for his behavior, but gives him a full picture of being a human being and not just a villain.”
Rose’s Regina is tough on Alex when she starts working as a maid in her home. Over time as they peel back details about each other’s lives, the women become more connected. “They’re both lucky to be able to give and take to each other, which makes a friendship beyond somebody being someone’s employer and being their worker,” Rose says. “I think that Regina is able to step outside of her own pain and see someone else’s journey, and it allows her to open up in a different way and be her true self, which is a generous person who cares for others.”
Like Sean, Regina is a fully-fleshed character in the story who viewers learn more about over time. “What I liked about this character is how layered she is and how we really get to peel her back as we go along,” shares Rose. “It seems like she’s one way and stuck in that particular space. And then you learn bit by bit that this is a woman has gone through a lot.”
Adding another layer to the mix is Robinson’s past work with Qualley, including Native Son and Strange But True. “I was excited to take on a different character that I felt had something to say and also work with Margaret again,” the actor said of reuniting with the actress. “We’ve been friends for a long time, so I feel like we just already had a shorthand built-in,” he adds of collaborating for their roles. And it shows onscreen.
Don’t miss the limited series — catch Maid when it arrives on Netflix this October.
Maid, Series Premiere, Friday, October 1, Netflix