She may be a bit of a klutz in real life, but Amanda Crew plays a market-savvy venture capitalist on HBO’s Silicon Valley, which returns for its third season on April 24. And while the British Columbia-born beauty, whose first acting job was on YTV, moved to Los Angeles eight years ago, she openly admits to still cheering anything Canadian.
As for her character Monica, who works with Thomas Middleditch’s Richard and his Pied Piper tech startup, she says, “I love her, she makes me feel like the woman I’m not.” But she also suggests audiences don’t have to “have an extensive knowledge” of Silicon Valley to watch the charming dramedy. Amanda gives us the inside skinny on the series, her top hobby, what she has in common with grannies and why she never forgets her Canadian roots.
What should we expect from Silicon Valley’s new season? There’s always challenges with startups. So look for more challenges and problems in season three — some victories and failures, more ups and downs, and a roller coaster ride of fun.
Going into the third season, why does the series resonate with viewers? Silicon Valley is a place we know about because we’re all using the technology created there — the phones, apps, software. I think it’s super interesting because we pull back the curtain on what the industry looks like. It’s sort of the Hollywood of the tech world. And I think our show’s hilarious and it’s like peeking behind that curtain, like on TV’s Shark Tank.
Your character is a venture capitalist but how much do you personally know about techy stuff like compression algorithms? Oh, gosh, I don’t know much. But VCs may not know that much detail about a project. It’s more about, ‘Is this marketable and does it work? You guys know all the tech stuff and you figure that out, we’ll just make sure we can sell it!’ I’m about as tech savvy as anyone who has an iPhone. But I did build my own website.
What do you like about your character Monica? You’re dealing with these highly intelligent people, like Thomas Middleditch’s character Richard, but because they’re so intelligent their social skills aren’t so developed. She’s a little more socially adept than them, and is kind of like the audience’s way into the show. I also love Monica as she’s a cheerleader for these guys and she’s all in for them. And she’ll sometimes put her job in jeopardy to fight for them, as she leads with her heart.
What’s up with so many Canadians succeeding in Hollywood, like your co-star Thomas Middleditch? We have a good work ethic, and we’re nice people and we look and talk like Americans! A lot of friends here in LA are Canadian, and we do celebrate national holidays together. Another thing is that it’s totally necessary that any time a Canadian appears on TV or in a film, you have to yell out, ‘They’re Canadian!’ I do it every time, I can’t help it, and it’s like a weird twitch.
Tell us about the Granny Girls blog you and your best friend ran. It was super geeky, about DIY stuff, crafts, lifestyle things, cool fun recipes, and dorky, quirky things, and it was called Granny Girls because we were like grannies. We didn’t go out on Friday nights, we liked to make cookies and crafts like grannies. It was a lot of work but people really responded to it. I really admire bloggers who are consistently coming up with new cool ideas and content. It was like a full time job, on top of going out for auditions and acting.
You have a thing for photography! Tell us about it and could it lead to directing? I love photography. I use both old school film and new digital cameras. Actual film is my favorite but it’s really expensive, of course, to work with. And, it’s all about the lens, and I like to put a film lens on my digital camera, so it has a filmy feel about it. I just created a fun new photography site called Frank, where I interview different people and take their photo, like a visual diary. I did one with my actress friend Mary Elizabeth Winstead — Frankbefrank.com. As for directing, I’d like to try it eventually but maybe I’d first direct some music videos.
Is it true you were obsessed with Canadian songbird Alanis Morissette? It’s true. I was obsessed. I wrote a fan letter to her when I was young because I thought I looked like her. I included a photo of myself, and I actually asked to be in her next music video. I thought she was amazing, that dark, edgy Alanis, not the pop version. But my mum didn’t send the letter, which was probably smart.