‘Younger’ stars discuss returning to work on show’s seventh and final season

Moderator Taylor Strecker chats with Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, Nico Tortorella, Debi Mazar and Molly Bernard about Charles's proposal, Lauren's birthday party, and Josh and Liza's unbreakable bond. (Photo credit: "Younger"/Paramount+)

The first six seasons of “Younger” aired exclusively on TV Land. However, the seventh and final season of the TV comedy/drama is streaming only on Paramount+. Cast members discussed the series wrapping up and what it was like to return to work amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For those who don’t already know, “Younger” is about the personal and professional life of Liza Miller (played by Sutton Foster), a divorced 40-year-old woman with a teenage daughter and a failed marriage that collapsed due to her former husband’s gambling addiction. She decides to pass herself off as 20-something Millennial to re-enter the industry of book publishing. During that time, she befriends co-worker Kelsey Peters (played by Hilary Duff). 

Moderator Taylor Strecker: “It was one hell of a wait. But ‘Younger’ is back. All season long, I’ll be right here in my living room after each episode chatting virtually with cast members and ‘Younger’ insiders who can help us unpack everything we just saw and decide what it all means. This is your socially-distanced Getting ‘Younger’ after show.”

Q: You guys, I’m so happy to see you. It’s been forever. Before we get into tonight’s episode, let’s acknowledge what caused the extra long wait for the season and why we’re talking to each other virtually right not instead of being together. It’s the thing called the pandemic, I think we all know what it is. How have you guys been in the pandemic?

Sutton Foster plays Liza Miller, a 40-year-old divorced mother and is the show’s main protagonist. (Photo credit: “Younger”/Paramount+)

Sutton Foster: “I’ve been okay. My family, we have a house outside the city so we came up here in March right when it was all kind of going down. There’s been silver linings— spending a lot of time with my daughter. She’s three and a half, my family, my dad lives up here. We’ve been sort of hunkered down and sort of be together.”

Hilary Duff: “You know what, in the beginning it was really hard becoming a second grade teacher to my son and I had an 18-month-old at home. Then, we took on so many responsibilities in the house just being us. I think it boiled down to how lucky we all are to have each other. Our little family just found a way to operate and take on a new role. That was really sweet and challenging at times, obviously. I was very grateful to be in L.A. and have a backyard for my kids to play in. We got chickens which was really fun. We made a quarantine baby like half the rest of the world. It seemed like a good idea. Now I’m terrified that I’m going to be a mom of three.”

Debi Mazar: “It’s been a wild run, to watch my city shut down to everyone start wearing masks, how the mask revolution evolved. I got COVID early on, I survived. It’s just been crazy. I’m just really glad that 2020 is behind us all.”

Nico Tortorella: “It hasn’t just been a pandemic. In 2020, we’ve had a revolution, we’ve had an election. It has just been non-stop with all things considered. In a lot of ways, I was built for a quarantine alone in my house for weeks, months, years, potentially on end. I’m good girl.”

Nico Tortella plays Josh, a 26-year-old tattoo artist who owns his own studio. (Photo credit: “Younger”/Paramount+)

Molly Bernard: “I identify with every single one of you. Every surprise that’s has happened progressively  throughout 2020 like ‘Oh, its 2020, why would I be shocked?’ I have two moms, one of them got breast cancer. That was probably the hardest because It happened when we were shooting so I really couldn’t spend time with her because her job is a little too high risk to see someone immunocompromised. The brightest has been spending time in deeper love with Hannah, my fiancee. We got engaged right before the pandemic.”

Q: I’m happy that you guys are surviving during these times. I’m also really curious…What was it like to be on set and what are like the extra safety protocols? 

Sutton Foster: “A major leaning curve I think for everyone. No one’s had to work during a pandemic. It keeps evolving. Everyone is learning as we’re going. It’s a little scary at times, but in many ways, it feels the same because it’s us and we’ve all worked together for seven years and we have mostly the exact same crew. We’re on the same set. As soon as you get on the set, you say, ‘I know this. This is okay.’ But there are these extra things…we’re masked and googgled and now we’re in isolation tents. We all have our own little bubbles. We’re also really lucky that we get to work. I come from the theater world where a lot of my friends are not working. I feel very lucky that we’re working and we’re being as safe as we can.”

Hilary Duff plays Kelsey Peters, a 26-year-old book editor at Empirical Press who befriends Liza after they start working together. (Photo credit: “Younger”/Paramount+)

Hilary Duff: “I think we all really wanted this season to happen because it is our last season. I think we all really want to be there so all of the extra protocol that felt really weird the first week, we all just adapted to it and accepted it because we want to be there because we all want to finish this show because we’ve all put so much into it and spent so much time together and we love each other. We know this is going to be the last time we’re going to be doing this. We wear the shields and the masks in between takes. One thing that I think I struggle with sometimes is when we go on set we want to be really open for our job and it’s impossible to feel open all of the time when you’re like physically guarding your body from something that you can’t see.”

Molly Bernard: “I kind of been using the word when people ask, ‘how has it been going?’ I say, I dissociate on set.’ I have to cognitively trick my brain when we’re rolling. When masks are off, I have to pretend like there’s no pandemic. That’s not easy to do when our lives have been defined by it for essentially a calendar year at this point.”

Q: We’re so grateful for everything that you guys are doing to make this show happen. I’m so sad it’s the final season but I’m so excited for it. Let’s talk about the season premiere. We finally got some resolution from Charles’ proposal from last season’s finale. Things maybe didn’t go quite the way that Team Charles wanted. Sutton, what was your reaction to Charles’ all-or-nothing stance when it came to marriage?

Sutton Foster: “I just hate that it’s so definitive that it’s so rigid but then that is part of who he is. He is formal and it’s what he wants. They both have these strong feelings about it. I was very frustrated.”

Molly Bernard plays Lauren Heller, Kelsey’s 20-something friend. (Photo credit: “Younger”/Paramount+)

Q: Molly, Lauren was insanely invested in that proposal. Were you surprised by how things went down between Charles and Liza?

Molly Bernard: “Lauren is in for a real surprise about it which was ridiculous to shoot and fans will have fun with. Yeah, I think we’re all kind of on a unified front, I don’t know about Nico but the way Charles went all or nothing was so brutal. It’s like, what are you doing?”

Hilary Duff: “Charles has been making a lot of really bad choices. Even at the end of last season proposing at the wedding, approaching me at the wedding giving me the job opportunity.”

Q: Kelsey kind of got her world rocked in this episode. She turns down Quinn’s funding only to have the board ditch Millennial [Publishing] and go back to Empirical. Oh yeah, then Zane doesn’t tell her he’s quitting and breaks up with her on FaceTime. Hilary, how do you think Kelsey’s doing?

Hilary Duff: “Coming off a pretty brutal last season for her too, right? The whole boob thing that went viral. I love that they had me shoot that scene while I was nursing a baby. That was real cool. I think she keeps getting her legs swept out from underneath her. She’s still the youngest one so she’s in this world where she’s trying to respect the old way and really being open to learning and respecting the people who have given her a chance.”

One new episode will be released per week on Paramount+ until the final episode becomes available on June 10, 2021.

You can watch all seven seasons of “Younger” on the new Paramount+ streaming platform. Visit paramountplus.com/shows/younger

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