Allison Williams is keeping a sense of humor about her still-young acting career, and she gets it in part from a proven source.
The daughter of “NBC Nightly News” and “Rock Center” anchor Brian Williams — who also is known for his occasional slow jam on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” or guest shot on “30 Rock” — makes her weekly-series debut in the decidedly frank HBO comedy-drama “Girls,” premiering Sunday, April 15.
The brainchild of writer, director and fellow star Lena Dunham, the show revolves around several twentysomething female friends. As Marnie, an ambitious art-gallery worker struggling with adjustments to her personal life, Williams tackles very adult material that she admits being “nervous” about … but not because of what her parents and younger brother might think.
“I think my family is very clear about the fact that I am an actress,” she tells Zap2it. “They knew from Day One that my job is to portray other people. I am not Marnie, so that’s not me doing those things; that’s the character I’m playing, and they’re very good at knowing where those lines are. I have to give them credit, because it’s very hard not to take it personally.
“The two of them (parents Brian and Jane) bring so much perspective and wisdom to the table, I could not have a better set of advisers and confidants and supporters throughout all of this,” Williams notes. “They’re just happy and proud that I get to do what I love for my living, and they understand how it all works. I’m not sitting them down and explaining to them, ‘This is a television show. It’s on HBO.'”
Williams knows that could go otherwise, based on an experience her father had in his youth: “His mother was an actress where he grew up, and he always tells the story of how a good family friend had her at gunpoint in a play. And my dad came running down the aisle to save her, because he thought she was going to get shot.
“She was very convincing, and he took it seriously, but I think he’s learned how to delineate. Now, if only my performance can be as convincing as Grammy’s.”