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Interview: Amanda Crew talks ‘Silicon Valley’

Amanda Crew in Silicon Valley 2

By Tim Lammers

Since her debut in 2005, acclaimed actress Amanda Crew has benefit of doing both film and television, and better yet has had several opportunities to play across the spectrum of genres. Lucky for Crew, her latest gig — the hit HBO series “Silicon Valley” – continues that winning streak in that at heart it’s a comedy, but has some wicked dramatic edges as well.

Season 3 of the series, which debuted last month, picks up with the momentous firing of Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) as CEO from his own company, a storyline not unfamiliar in the landscape of the real Silicon Valley. Crew is back as Monica Hall, the assistant to the main investor of the company, who still has a soft spot for Richard and his cohorts even though creative control has been wrestled from them.

Crew thinks her fascination with the tech industry and part of the reason “Silicon Valley” has resonated so much with viewers is that, while not all of us are a part of the industry, most of us certainly are an extension of it through the devices and applications they produce whether we realize it or not.

“We’re all consumers – we’re all users of it,” Crew said. “Before I started on the show I didn’t know anything about it, but now I’m so fascinated by it. You hear about these headlines, like ‘Snapchat was offered $3 billion but turned it down,’ and you’re like, ‘Who is this Evan guy and what the f—?’ or read about Steve Jobs getting kicked out of his own company and wondering how could that happen. Getting to explore this world and see all this money thrown around — to see how people can one minute be the hottest thing and they’re like God and the next minute they’re nothing — is fascinating.”

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In an odd sort of way, Crew, 29, said she can also relate to the tech industry because the film and television industry is just as fickle.

“It makes me think of these big franchises and how you can be part of this huge movie that pops out of nowhere, where yesterday you were nobody and today everybody wants a piece of you,” Crew said. “That can mess with your head, because a year later, the heat can fizzle out no one will care about you anymore and you have to deal with those feelings.”

Crew said that real-life narrative actually mirrors Richard’s dilemma in “Silicon Valley.”

“Everyone was throwing money at him and everyone wanted to work with him, but then all of a sudden, no one could touch him because he was being sued,” Crew said. “It’s like, one minute you’re being offered millions of dollars, and now you might not be able to keep your company afloat for another month.”

While Crew ultimately can walk away from the set of “Silicon Valley” at the end of each day and thank the heavens she’s not a part of the cut-throat tech world, part of her heart remains with Monica, because she’s a person you can aspire to be.

“I really the love character of Monica because she’s such a great role model. She’s really an intelligent, well-spoken, educated and successful businesswoman who has a moral compass,” Crew said. “A lot of business people are just sharks. They’re just after the money and they don’t care if people hate them or if they damage someone’s life … What I really like about her is that she’s not this shark who has no heart. She really genuinely cares about these guys. I think that’s why she’s successful, because she really fights for what she believes in.”

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