Sara Amini Interview: Meg Quigley on Lucky Hank, Academia
Lucky Hank actress Sara Amini spoke to The Natural Aristocrat® about portraying adjunct professor Meg Quigley opposite Bob Odenkirk on the AMC TV series.
This Sara Amini interview contains spoilers for AMC’s Lucky Hank Episode 3 (“Escape”).
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT (NIR REGEV): According to a 2020 study on adjunct professors by the American Federation of Teachers, 25% rely on public assistance. One-third make less than $25,000 a year. What does it mean to you to give representation on-screen to this exploited economic labor force?
SARA AMINI: That’s a great question, it’s insane to hear those stats! I think that’s why when we meet Meg, she’s incredibly frustrated with where her career is. She wants to be taken seriously.
Meg knows that she can achieve tenure and how passionate of a teacher she is. While these other professors are arguing about things like parking spots and things that are seemingly so petty… Meg’s over here having to work at a bar to try to make rent because she can’t make enough at her own vocation.
The thing that she’s really dedicated her life to. Meg’s presumably got a lot of student loans.
She’s given the intro classes at seven in the morning that none of the other professors want. Then driving over to her shift at the bar and maybe coming back for a night class… And she’s also working on her dissertation. It’s a frustrating life.
I think that’s what is so relatable about Meg. She’s not a wide eyed 20-year old. She’s in her mid thirties. When you’re in your mid thirties and you’re still not where you wanna be in your career, it’s really maddening.
You’re looking around and going, ‘Wow, man, I worked so hard for this!’ I just find her so relatable in that regard.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Do you feel Hank is right or wrong to lie to Meg to stop her from potentially wasting her youth & potential at Railton College?
SARA AMINI: I think Hank had his reasons for doing it. He was obviously projecting and he feels stuck himself. So when he looks at Meg, he’s like, ‘You’re young, you’re bright, and I don’t want this life for you.’ It’s sort of like he’s a pseudo-father figure in that regard.
Meg doesn’t have a father in her life, so he makes a decision, sort of in a parental way. But I don’t think it was his decision to make it, Meg is an adult. She can make her own decisions.
I’m not saying she makes the best ones, especially in her personal life, but those are her decisions to make, you know? And I think if Meg wants to stay there, if she wants tenure, Hank shouldn’t get in the way of that.
Meg’s already explicitly told Hank what she wanted, that letter of recommendation. So Meg can get to the next part of her career that she’s been longing for.
It’s tough because I think that Railton is all Meg knows. I don’t disagree that maybe she should leave the nest, you know? She’s also got a mom who’s an alcoholic, and feels a sense of duty to.
She’s like, ‘Can I leave my mom? Is she gonna be okay without me?’ It’s really complicated. But no, I don’t think it was Hank’s call.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: According to a 2018 study by the American Association of University Professors, 73% of college faculty positions have no tenure track. Knowing this, do you feel Hank was telling more truth than lie to Meg?
SARA AMINI: I mean, he might have. There might have been truth to that. But I think it was more of him just wanting Meg to not follow in his footsteps.
Hank’s looking at his own life and going, ‘How am I here? And why am I here?’ When he sees Meg, he’s cautioning her, ‘Don’t make the same mistakes I did.’
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Why do you feel is Meg strongly attracted to Hank? Is it who Hank as a person, his silent position of power over her, both?
SARA AMINI: I never looked at it as a power dynamic. I think that Meg grew up with Hank, she was probably Julie’s babysitter. She was raised alongside Julie (Olivia Scott Welch), and she’s known Hank all her life.
And because Meg doesn’t have a father figure, I think that Hank probably took some stock in her in the way that she developed her interest and passion for writing. Because he’s also a writer.
I imagine that Meg looked to him for advice from a young age, and they kind of speak the same language. I think that they’ve always had a great rapport. She can bust his balls and be forward and playful with him in a way that she’s not with her own mom.
And so I think that there’s been an attraction there ever since she was young… But because he’s older, married and her boss, it gets very complicated, you know?
She doesn’t quite understand the role Hank fills in her life. If he’s her mentor or her father figure, or a potential lover. It’s a very complicated dynamic and one that I hope is compelling to watch. Because it was really fun to explore all of those layers.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Was it awkward to go topless in front of Bob Odenkirk?
SARA AMINI: (laughs) The more awkward component of it was acting drunk! Because I think acting drunk is very hard to do, and it can be very bad, very fast. So that was actually what I was the most worried about.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: What are your thoughts of Meg Quigley as a potential ‘other woman’ in an affair?
SARA AMINI: I don’t think that they’re gonna explore that much further. You know, for people who’ve read the book, they know where the book is headed.
The attraction with Hank is more so on Meg’s part I think, it’s a little bit unrequited. I think Hank doesn’t wanna go there. He wants to set boundaries with her, which is the right thing to do.
I don’t foresee it going the way of an affair. We’ve already seen that before. I’m glad that we’re not going there with with Meg and Hank.
I think that it’s exciting because it opens up the opportunities for season two for Meg to really define who Hank is to her. Maybe have to let go of those feelings and be like, ‘Okay, he’s just gonna be my friend or my mentor, and that’s it.’ She’ll have to grow up a little bit.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: A 2021 Elle article cited adjunct professors working part time at places like Trader Joes to have health insurance. How do you feel about Meg being forced to divide her time as a bartender on the series in order to be an educator?
SARA AMINI: What resonated so much with me about Meg specifically is it’s so relatable to your career as an actor before you “make it”. Because every actor wants to be on set all the time and working on as many fulfilling projects as as possible.
But when you’re first starting out, you have to work at a bar, or you have to work at a restaurant, or you have to nanny. You have to do all these other side jobs that are taking away your energy and your dedication to your craft.
That was very, very relatable to me. As I explored Meg, I felt, “This is so true! I remember when I used to have to work at a restaurant, and I had an audition the next morning. I was like, I can’t, I’m gonna go get home at 1:00 AM and this audition is at 10 am and I’m not gonna have any time to work on it.”
It was so frustrating because you’re not doing the thing you wanna do. So for Meg having to split her time between writing a dissertation, a book, teaching, and working at this bar… I imagine she’s always tired.
I imagine her car is filthy, her house is a mess. She doesn’t have time for herself. I think she has to find ways to balance all of that. But it’s not easy.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Hank’s speech about knowing his students weren’t talented enough to make it big because they go to Railton College… Do you believe in that concept?
SARA AMINI: Oh, man, that’s a really good question! No, I don’t think I do. Fundamentally, I think it’s the person, not the environment.
I went to a very public high school in a lower income area of Houston. But the teachers there were so incredibly passionate and engaging that so many of us came out of that successful, bright, and dedicated to having flourishing careers.
I have friends who are engineers and doctors. I don’t think that if you go to a “mediocre college”, that means you, yourself are mediocre. I think maybe Hank’s at fault too. He’s gotta be a more engaging teacher, and then maybe he can, maybe Jackson Kelly’s character, Bartow will become the next Chaucer.
You never know! So I really attribute it to good teachers and also your own sort of personal grit as a human being.
THE NATURAL ARISTOCRAT: Thanks Sara!
SARA AMINI: Thank you!
– Check out part 2 of our interview with Sara Amini on voicing Glitch in Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart!
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Have a professional inquiry? You can contact Sara Amini’s management at Vault Entertainment, Adam Griffin ([email protected]) and Samir Karar ([email protected]).
For theatrical specific work, check in with Danielle Schoenberg and Kent Ochse at The Gersh Agency ([email protected]). For literary specific inquiries, check in with Auri Maruri ([email protected]) and Katy McCaffrey at The Gersh Agency. Gillian Mackenzie for Books.
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AMC’s Lucky Hank Episode 3 Cast
Bob Odenkirk as William Henry Devereaux Jr (Hank)
Mireille Enos as Lily Devereaux
Sara Amini as Meg Quigley
Anne Gee Byrd as Mrs. Deveroux
Olivia Scott Welch as Julie Devereaux
Suzanne Cryer as Gracie Dubois
Cedric Yarbrough as Paul Rourke
Nancy Robertson as Billie
Shannon DeVido as Emma Wheemer
Haig Sutherland as Finny
Oscar Nunez as Dean Jacob Rose
Alvina August as June
Arthur Keng as Teddy Washington-Chen
Jackson Kelly as Bartow Williams-Stevens
Lucky Hank Season 1 Episode 3 Episode Description:
“Hank spirals when a storage pod full of his father’s belongings is dropped in his front yard. The professors spiral when rumors of budget cuts threaten their tenured jobs.”
You can stream Lucky Hank Episode 3 on AMC+ or watch the replay on TV based on your local schedule.
Lucky Hank Episodes are typically posted to the AMC website post-airing, you’ll need a cable provider login to watch.
New Lucky Hank episodes air on Sundays on AMC at 9:00 pm ET/PT and available to stream on AMC+ on Fridays.
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