‘Extraordinary’s’ Máiréad Tyers on Returning for Season 2 and Jen’s Missing Superpowers: ‘I Enjoy Seeing the Speculation’

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Máiréad Tyers’ first on-screen role straight out of drama school was in Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast.” “You don’t really see me in the film at all,” she says. “[But] I’m so proud of it.” A year later, she wrapped her first leading role in U.K. Disney+ original comedy “Extraordinary.” In the show — basically a flatshare sitcom with a twist — Tyers plays 20-something Jen, who is messy, funny and the only person in the world without a superpower.

But Jen can also be selfish and occasionally obnoxious – mostly to her flatmates Carrie (Sofia Oxenham), Kash (Bilal Hasna) and, erm, Jizzlord (Luke Rollason) — and Tyers’ superpower is making her not just relatable, but likeable. So much so that the show, which was created and written by newcomer Emma Moran, has been renewed for a second season, which drops today on Disney+ and on Hulu in the U.S.

More from Variety

Despite coming to prominence via comedy, Tyers is not worried about being typecast. “When I got ‘Extraordinary,’ it was something that was said to me. You know, ‘Make sure now that you also do dramatic stuff and that you don’t get pigeonholed in comedy,’” she recalls. “It’s almost as if comedy is lesser than dramatic parts, which I completely disagree with.”

For her next role, in period dramedy “My Lady Jane” opposite Dominic Cooper, Tyers is donning a corset and she’ll soon be seen in short film “Meat Puppets,” which debuts next month at SXSW. “I’d also love to do a dramatic series as well,” she says. “I want to do it all.”

How did you react when you first got the script for “Extraordinary” ahead of your audition?

I think I actually was quite sick at the time. I had a cold and when I saw the [self-tape audition] come through I was like, “Oh God, this is not the right time. I feel so ill, how am I going to get this out?” I think a testament to a good script is when you can learn your lines like that and I remember being able to learn the lines very quickly. I think Jen’s voice — and Emma’s voice that comes through Jen — felt like something aligned and I was able to pick up quite quickly. Our humor is very aligned.

Speaking of humor, what does it feel like saying “Jizzlord” on Disney+ all the time?

I know! It feels quite mad doesn’t it? In the self-tape originally there was nothing about [Jizzlord]. For the next round, I was sent the first episode and had a read of that — and obviously you don’t meet Jizzlord in that first scene either. But you have the cat being named Jizzlord. And I think then in my chemistry reads is when I read with a couple of different Jizzlords — [Laughs] It’s the maddest thing to say; I feel like I’m insulting the different lads who came into read for that part — but yeah, I had different guys come in and then I remember [reading] it with Luke and it just felt so right. Same with Bilal and Sofia. That was later on in the casting process, but as soon as they came in, it just felt completely right.

“Extraordinary’s” Luke Rollason, Mairead Tyers and Bilal Hasna (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
“Extraordinary’s” Luke Rollason, Mairead Tyers and Bilal Hasna (Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)

Do you know what Jen’s power is?

I can’t say anything about it!

Have you seen any of the speculation online?

Yes. I like looking on Reddit sometimes. A lot of people have said she can almost dull people’s powers. I know that Emma has read it and she’s gone “Oh, that’s a good idea.” I enjoy seeing the speculation. I would love it to be something that’s completely useless to her. It’s such a typical thing that we do every day: you think that once you get a certain thing that you desire so badly, and something especially that it feels like everyone else has and you don’t have, then your life is going to be complete and you’re going to be a different person and happier as a result. And of course, life goes on and you realize it doesn’t work like that.

What was it that you liked about Jen as a character when you first read the script?

I’ve heard people comparing Jen to Sharon Horgan’s character in “Pulling” or even Aisling Bea’s character in “This Way Up” and [Phoebe Waller Bridge in] “Fleabag” and all these kinds of, I guess, messy female characters. And I think what drew me to Jen is that she has that messy woman character in her but also she is a lot more complicated than that. Women on TV and female characters haven’t really been allowed to be angry or defensive or anything other than maybe attractive and pristine. And I think Jen is the complete opposite — maybe she doesn’t necessarily want to be — but she is the complete opposite of that. And she’s just hilarious but isn’t actually trying to be. I think there’s something really funny about a character who doesn’t realize she’s very funny.

And I was drawn to what Jen doesn’t say. In Episode 4 of Season 1, she finally reveals that the reason she doesn’t want to go to the consultation for the clinic [to help her get her power] is what if she gets her power and then realizes that she doesn’t like who she is with it, and she doesn’t like who she’s become? And she doesn’t like analyzing herself. I think that’s very relatable.

What has been the reaction to the first season?

It’s really funny because we all hang out quite often, the four of us together, and I think people really get confused when they see us together because it’s like, “Oh, you’re those people from that show?” But it’s lovely. I think what’s fantastic recently is whenever people have recognized me, they immediately say “When’s Season 2 coming out?” There’s so much to be watched nowadays and there’s so much to consume, that it can feel quite overwhelming. So to feel like people are having that reaction toward the show — and the fact that we obviously have Season 2 coming out and that was commissioned before Season 1 had come out. Disney were so right when they predicted that the show would do well, and that people would want a second season.

Will there be a third season?

We don’t know yet. Fingers crossed! I’d love for there to be another one. I feel like we’re only just getting going.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.