Diana Bang on Why She Loves Playing Dr. Mann


From showrunner/executive producer Eliza Clark and adapted from the DC Comics title by Brian K. Vaughan and Pia Guerra, the drama series Y: The Last Man is set in a post-apocalyptic world after an event has wiped out every mammal with a Y chromosome, or so it seems until one cisgender man, Yorick (Ben Schnetzer), and his pet monkey inexplicably turn up alive. While the survivors in this new world are struggling to figure out what comes next, Agent 355 (Ashley Romans) suddenly finds herself in the unique position of being by the new president’s side, as she tries to get answers for why her son didn’t meet his demise.

During this 1-on-1 interview with Collider, Diana Bang (who plays Dr. Allison Mann, a brilliant scientist that 355 and Yorick seek out with the goal of uncovering why and how he survived) talked about what she loves about her character, how she got to know her co-stars, exploring the dynamic Dr. Mann has with both 355 and Yorick, and what it was like to film a show about a cataclysmic event during an actual pandemic. She also talked about playing Claudia’s mother on The Baby-Sitters Club and why she wanted to be a part of that show.

[Editor’s note: This interview was done prior to the recent announcement that Y: The Last Man has been canceled by FX on Hulu and will not be moving forward with any further seasons there.]

Collider: This is a property that has been in development for quite some time. It was going to be a movie, and then a TV show, and it’s been evolving as a show in different iterations for a while. When this came your way, were you familiar with it? Did you know anything about the comic, or did you dig into the comics along with the script?

DIANA BANG: I had no idea. I’m not a comic person. I got the audition script, the sides, and the breakdown, and if I’m being completely honest, I read it and I was like, “This is really confusing. I don’t know what’s going on.” I definitely had to look stuff up and figure out who Dr. Mann is and what this world is. The deeper I dug, the more and more I was super interested in it and the more I could bring to the audition.


Image via FX

Did you find yourself interested in the scientific aspect of the show that your character plays into, or were there other elements of the story that most appealed to you personally?

BANG: I’m not a science person. I did study social science, so I’m somewhere in the middle. But I think the thing that drew me most to the project was the humor. The comic series and the script that I read was so funny, and I think Dr. Mann is hilarious. I think she’s really prickly and cantankerous, and I just love that. I love that I can bring parts of myself that are like that to the character. For me, it was digging into the humor, especially bringing levity to this post-apocalyptic, grim world. That was really exciting.

Your character joined this series a bit later into the season, so what was the vibe on set like, coming into it? What was your first day like? Did it feel like everything had this life before you got there?

BANG: I was actually cast super early, at the beginning of 2020. They were supposed to go to camera in March or April of 2020. [Showrunner Eliza Clark] set up these Zoom meetings, so I actually got to meet the cast and we hung out on Zoom, once a month. That was cool, but obviously it’s different than being on set. And so, when I was on set, I felt like a bull in a china shop. My character is a little erratic and very energetic. For me, as Diana, as well as Dr. Mann, I felt like I was coming in and ruining the vibe that both Ashley [Romans] and Ben [Schnetzer] had established with each other, which was perfect for the show, but I definitely felt like that too. I came in and was doing my thing, and was trying to get with them like, “Hey, how’s it going?,” which I’m sure they appreciated. I will say that the vibe on set was wonderful, overall. Everyone was so open, so kind, and so collaborative. I felt very welcome when I was there.


Image via FX

When I spoke to Ashley, she had some really nice things to say about you. She loved the unpredictability that your character brought to the show and she loved how you switched up the vibe when you came in. What was it like to work with Ashley and Ben throughout this? Once you were actually on set together, what was it like to explore the dynamic for that trio?

BANG: It was great. They’re both very generous actors. On my first day there, we were all sweaty and we were tired. It was the very end of the day and I had my coverage, but he was all done. Just to be there for me, he did these pushups and pumped himself up and pumped me up for the scene. I was like, “This is the best, to be working with someone like him.” It was the same with Ashley. She’s the type of person where I could go to her and express how I was feeling, and I’d feel really comfortable being like, “I feel a little bit scared right now.” She’s just such a generous, open person and is very curious to learn about other people. She’s so smart. She’s one of the smartest actors I’ve ever worked with. It’s an amazing dynamic.

RELATED: ‘Y the Last Man’ Review: FX’s Long-Awaited Adaptation Survives Development Hell to Deliver an Engaging Apocalypse Tale

How much were you told, going into this? I know there’s source material, but anytime you adapt anything, it changes, so were you given a pretty clear roadmap for where the season would go, or did you learn that along the way?

BANG: I mostly learned it along the way. I was given a small hint, but I actually had no idea. It’s interesting because I feel like I’m allowing myself to learn about Dr. Allison Mann as I go, and it makes sense, especially because the show is really questioning and exploring themes of identity. After such a cataclysmic event, you lose parts of yourself and you’re questioning yourself and who you are now. With Dr. Mann, she probably railed against the patriarchy and hated all the guys who gatekeep because they kept her out of the things that she wanted to be a part of and they prevented her from getting funding for the research that she wanted to do. So, who is she now? Who is she, in relation to this new dynamic and this new purpose in her life. I’m allowing myself to discover as Dr. Allison Mann discovers herself.

What do you think she feels about somebody like Agent 355? Here’s this person that shows up and is a supercharged, deadly secret agent, so what does Dr. Mann make of her?

BANG: I do feel like 355 and Allison are quite similar. Maybe they’re two sides of the same coin. 355 is so good at her job and also has a lot of secrets, and I think it’s the same with Dr. Allison Mann. She’s got a lot of secrets and she’s also amazing at her job. They’re both loners. Allison doesn’t trust her because she doesn’t know who she is, but she’s so similar to Allison as well. It’ll be interesting to see where the relationship and the dynamics go, as the season comes to an end.

There’s a very big contrast between Y: The Last Man and The Baby-Sitters Club.

BANG: I know.

What made you want to be a part of that and what have you enjoyed about telling that story?

BANG: It’s so well-written and so funny. I’m just attracted to humor. Anything with a little bit of humor and some pathos, that’s my jam. I loved working with [Momona Tamada], who plays Claudia. It’s been a recent thing, where I’ve been playing parents of teens. The Baby-Sitters Club is something that I grew up reading, so I was like, “Yes, I’m in!” When I was young, I wanted to Claudia, but now I’m like, “I get to be Claudia’s mom? That is so cool.” I enjoyed being a part of that show and that set. They were all very kind. It was really funny because the kids would all be making fun of millennials and I was like, “I’m a millennial!” A couple of them were like, “Oh, I’m sorry. I wasn’t talking about you.” Anyways, it was such a good experience.


Image via Netflix

The “Claudia and the Sad Goodbye” episode was so heartbreaking and so beautiful. What’s it like to read a script like that, and then shoot that. Were there moments that were stand-out moments for you?

BANG: It’s funny, I feel like with that show, every time the parents showed up, or at least with Claudia’s parents, it was a sad thing. At least for my character, I feel like she’s there to show Claudia that it’s okay to express emotion and to be sad. When I was reading the script, I did weep a little because it reminded me of the book and it is sad. Death is something that we all experience, in one way or another, in our lives. I love how they approached that with the show… I love all of the family dynamics and how everyone deals with death differently, and then how they reconcile in the end.

What have you loved about Dr. Mann since day one of this show and how has she most challenged you?

BANG: I love everything about her. She’s really complicated and Eli and the writers wrote such beautiful stuff for her. There’s a scene at the end of Episode 5 that I absolutely love. It speaks to her character and she’s also teaching because she’s a professor and an academic. In that scene, she’s trying to wake Yorick up out of his narrow view and explain the diversity and variety of our own biology, and how vast and beautiful that is. That’s what is actually at stake for them. Her main interest is really about bringing back all of the world’s biodiversity, and not just cisgender men. Yes, it’s about bringing back cisgender men, but also trans women, non-binary people, people with an intersex trait with a Y chromosome, and also mammals and all living things with a Y chromosome. It was such a beautiful scene that spoke to what really drives her and how what was lost is so much more vast than people like Yorick.

It seems like when you do something like this show, there are so many things that it would make you think about. You’re telling a life-altering story during an actual pandemic. Was there anything that it made you think about personally, that you were actually surprised it made you think about or re-evaluate in some way, in your own life?

BANG: We were filming while we were in a pandemic, so I feel like there was a conversation between the two. I got the first six scripts before the pandemic hit and it was officially a pandemic. And then, once we got into the COVID pandemic, a lot of the script made even more sense. There was a deeper sense of it because we were living it, and I could imagine more how Dr. Mann would be dealing with some of this stuff, on a day-to-day basis, because I was dealing with it myself. It was very interesting. They both spoke and fed each other.

What can you say about where Dr. Mann ends up, by the end of this season? How much of a better sense will we have of her? Will we still have many questions left to be answered about who she is?

BANG: I think there will still be a lot of questions about who she is. You’ll see her relationship with the other two, 355 and Yorick, expand and deepen. You’ll see what that actually looks like. I think that’s all I can reveal. I can’t reveal too much. Everyone has to keep watching.

Y: The Last Man is available to stream at FX on Hulu.

KEEP READING: Olivia Thirlby Discusses ‘Y: The Last Man’ and Her Very Unusual Journey to Getting Cast as Hero Brown

Exclusive ‘Castle Falls’ Trailer Reveals Dolph Lundgren-Directed Action-Thriller

Scott Adkins also stars in the film that is guaranteed to keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

Read Next

About The Author



Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! TechCodex is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.


This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More