‘Sex/Life’ Star Adam Demos Explains Scaled Back Role in Season 2
[This story includes major spoilers for Sex/Life season two.]
Sex/Life‘s second season brings to life the concept of two roads diverged.
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The Netflix hit ended its first season on a major cliffhanger that saw Billie (Sarah Shahi) run to Brad’s (Adam Demos) loft in Manhattan six months after she said she was going to strictly focus on her marriage. “Oh God, it’s not enough,” she says, as she leaves husband Cooper (Mike Vogel) at home in Connecticut with the kids.
When season two kicks off, Billie is in a new apartment of her own in the city and separated from Cooper. In flashbacks, viewers find out that, while Brad still clearly has feelings for Billie, he viewed her turning down his season one proposal as a sign to move on — and into bed with someone else.
The first episode of season two reveals Brad is going to be a father after starting a relationship with model Gigi (Wallis Day), and his new focus is creating a healthy home for his soon-to-be son, despite still being in love with Billlie. This leads the show’s leading lady to try to move on as well, and that she does. She meets Majid (Darius Homayoun) and the two enter into an honest, loving relationship — one that makes her feel like Brad and Cooper truly are her past, and Majid is her future.
As a result of Brad and Billie exploring separate paths, Demos had less of a role this season, only appearing for a fraction of each episode. But his presence is upped by the end of the season when Billie ends her relationship with Majid and Gigi leaves Brad. In the final minutes of the finale, Brad and Billie reunite — and they get married. And in another shock twist, the season ends with Billie telling Brad at the altar that she’s pregnant with their child.
“When you’re reading the scripts and knowing that you come full circle and they end up together, it wasn’t too bad to go through,” Demos tells The Hollywood Reporter.
In a conversation with THR, Demos opens up about working alongside his real-life partner Shahi [they went public with their relationship after season one], the viral reaction to his role, the one thing Brad truly wants in life (even more than Billie) and what comes next for the soulmates at the heart of Sex/Life.
I’m a sucker for happy endings, so I’m here for this finale.
That’s good to hear. It certainly was a happy ending fairytale kind of thing, wasn’t it? Well, it depends on what team you’re on, I guess.
Yes, but it makes me a little sad because … maybe we won’t get a season three?
Smarter people than me are in control of that stuff. If the viewership [is there] and there’s a demand for it, I’m sure they’ll come up with something and create more drama and chaos and heartbreak for another season. But yeah, we’ll see.
Fans didn’t know what to expect from Brad and Billie after the end of season one. But I have to say, I wasn’t expecting him to be with someone else, who’s now pregnant with his child. What was your reaction when you read that in the script?
They reference that it’s been six months, so I think it made sense just because Brad really did work through all of his past issues, and he wanted to settle down. He wanted to start a life and put that wild side behind him. And he said that to Billie, but they’ve always had a problem with timing. So, I think when he laid it all out on the line and proposed to her, and she said, “No,” he just had to move on, because you can’t just sit around and wait forever. So, I understood it. It was a shock that he was going to have a baby, for sure, but I understood why he moved on. You really do have to move on with your life at some point, even though that’s tough for his heart to do because he loves her more than anything.
There’s been some social media chatter about Brad being onscreen for less time this season, with him moving on and Billie starting a new relationship with Majid. Were there conversations going into the season about exploring other storylines more?
That’s more of a creator’s and writer’s question to answer, I think, just because those are the genius minds that come up with this stuff. But I think, maybe, in order to allow the Billie and Majid storyline, for you to buy into it, maybe Brad can’t always be there as much. But yeah, I’m not too sure. It’s nice to be missed, if people do miss Brad. But I did understand that in order for these storylines to work, you have to allow them to take their own form and have a life of their own. When you’re reading the scripts and knowing that you come full circle and they end up together, it wasn’t too bad to go through.
Were there conversations or questions you had about it?
They sort of crafted season two and were like, “This is how it’s gonna go.” I always say, a lot smarter people than me come up with these storylines and create shows; I certainly couldn’t do it. They were like, “This is why it’s happening.” And it made sense in order to allow the audience to follow Billie’s journey with Majid and her new experiences; sometimes you can’t have Brad there all the time. But you do have to sprinkle it in because they are each other’s true love in a sense. I think you have to allow each character’s own journey to have its own life for a while. I think that’s what they were trying to do.
Last season we saw Billie longing for Brad more than he longed for her at times, but it seems like the roles were reversed this season. How was it playing that reversal?
Because of all the stuff he worked through, it was nice to see that he was a man of his word. It was nice he ended up evolving. It was really cool to play that because he was trying to move on, and he did want to start that family. He got through his dad issues and his childhood trauma, and now he’s trying to create this life. But it’s the conflict of, “OK, that’s what I want, but I want it with someone else. I want it with my soulmate.” And then to have to play the guilt of starting this family with someone, knowing your heart’s somewhere else was a really cool challenge. I liked his evolution and for him to be challenged in a different way and try to pull that off, so the audience felt it as well.
Billie and Brad attempt to be friends at times during this season. Why can’t that work for them?
They love each other too much. They’re just not friends. They would never friendzone each other. I think it’s impossible. I think that is probably a story they tell themselves just so they can be close to each other again. It’s just an excuse. It’s undeniable, the love they have for each other. So I think just friends is never going to work for those guys.
Billie goes on this journey throughout season two, where she learns that she can be happy alone and she doesn’t need to be with someone. What was it like seeing her evolve, too?
I think it’s nice that Billie can be an example for a lot of people. It’s empowering to see someone who, in season one, was brave enough to question, can she have it all? I think a lot of people wonder that themselves. And then in season two, to say, “I’m going to find comfort and confidence within myself.” I think Billie is a great character; that shows a lot of bravery.
Brad goes on a similar journey where he loses his company, which at one point was the most important thing to him, and he loses Billie for a bit. But he sees that more than anything, he wanted to be a father. How was it playing that out?
It was nice because the company was a symbol of safety and success, and that was the way he protected himself. He built that up and that was also his feeling of self-worth. So to lose it and to realize that it actually wasn’t [everything], now he just wants to be a father and be present. He had so many issues with his own father growing up, but it turns out that all he wanted was a chance to be a father himself.
There’s a scene where we’re in the park, and he says to her, “It turns out, this is what I was meant to do.” I really wanted to play that with such a grounded sense of calming, just to know that he’s not worried about anything else. When he says it, he means it. This was what he was meant to do. The rest was just a mask, in a way. It was escaping from reality. So, I really liked that scene a lot. And the goal was to play it super grounded and calm, so you believe this is his dream come true right now.
He even says, “I’ll start another company one day.”
Yeah, it’s just the company. It’s just work. It’s just money. It’s just business. But, this is life. I get to help mold and shape a life, and that’s what’s real. I hear a lot of people with kids, it’s like, nothing else really seemed to be that important once they had children, everything else that you used to put such importance on. So I think that was a big thing for him, too.
In the final episode, when Billie asks Brad about Gigi, he tells her that she’s with someone else who has a company. What do you think that means?
I think it meant losing the company shined a light on a lot of things in his life, like what was really important to him, what kind of people he had around him and why. And I think it draws back to his love for Billie, that she always got him outside of all of that. She understood him. She understood the scared little boy inside of him. She didn’t care about the company. She cared about him. And, I think, when he was successful, he couldn’t see who was around him for the success or for him. So that’s what I think is beautiful, too. She just loved him for him. So that’s why he’s so sure of committing to her. She’s the only one. Ups and downs, she’ll always be there.
How would you say filming this season was different from season one?
New characters, new storylines. It’s different just from playing the character’s emotional arc. They’ve come further along in their journey. That’s basically it. Also, Toronto was open. So, that was different. We were the first show to go back in Toronto in 2020, so it was cool to experience that city. It’s probably my favorite place in the world. It was really cool to get to work there again and see it for what everyone spoke about, which is just the vibration on its own. Season one was the four of us — Mike [Vogel, who plays Cooper], Margaret [Odette, who plays Sasha], Sarah and I, and that was our little thing. So then to expand the world and have all these new characters, it was cool to have some new energy.
Season two seems to have less nudity than previous seasons. Was that something that was discussed ahead of time?
It wasn’t discussed to me, personally. I didn’t have to do much this year, I just think because of Brad’s storyline. So, I didn’t know if there was any less. For me personally, though, I knew there would be less because he wasn’t with Billie. Maybe it was with the other cast. So it’s a hard one for me to answer, but I barely had to do any this season.
You’ve spoken about your full-frontal scene in season one and the aftermath, can you talk more about what that was like for you?
It kind of became its own viral moment. It was interesting because I didn’t think it was going to be as crazy of a deal as what it was, and then all this speculation. So, it was a wild ride. But I think everyone knows it was a prosthetic by now. It’s been so long, but I think at the start, it was more just intrigue and funny. It definitely took me aback, but it’s part of the show. It’s fun.
Now, looking back, I get why there was a reaction to it. It was part of the storyline. It was a shocking moment. But at the time, you don’t think [it will be]. And I don’t even think TikTok was a thing when we were filming. Those viral moments are heightened with apps like that these days.
Even though Brad didn’t really have a lot of nudity this season, did that experience make you more comfortable with the idea of filming naked?
Yes, because of the fact on our show, they create such an incredibly safe set. We’ve got a really great intimacy coordinator, Casey [Hudecki]. They’re so important. They’re the people you go to when you’re concerned, [to talk about] what you do wanna do and what you don’t wanna do. You’re not forced to do anything. It still can be awkward and uncomfortable doing that stuff, but it’s safe and that’s the most important thing. Those sex scenes are incredibly choreographed so everyone feels comfortable. No one’s doing what they don’t feel comfortable with. I think the main thing is that we’re very fortunate they created an incredibly safe work environment. If there was anything that anyone didn’t want to do, you don’t do it. So it gets easier in the sense that you’re used to it, but it doesn’t change the fact that it’s still getting your clothes off and pretending to do these things in front of a crew. It’s not fun, but safety first.
My next question was actually about working with an intimacy coordinator. You beat me to it.
They are your place to go. Your safe space. The caring and consideration that she has for us and what we’re comfortable with, it’s just no pressure at all. I don’t know how sets didn’t have intimacy coordinators beforehand. It’s such an incredibly important part of our show, to make us all feel comfortable. Because the end goal is to make it look real, but you have to feel safe in order to do that. Netflix was incredible with the protocols and stuff they put into place for that and for us.
Sex/Life season one blew up when it hit the streamer. How did you handle the attention and fandom of that kind of overnight success, so to speak?
You know, it was kind of strange because I was in Atlanta, and there were still lockdowns, so I didn’t really see anyone for ages. You notice that the show is doing well because we’re getting sent numbers and stuff by our producers and everything like that, but I didn’t notice anything in interacting with people for a while because no one was allowed to go near each other, basically. But when I came back to Australia, it’s nothing crazy, it’s just that people are so supportive, and I welcome it all the time. It was nice to feel that people resonated and loved the show so much.
Reading the script, I had such high hopes and then shooting it felt really special. But you don’t know what’s going to hit with an audience. You have the best of intentions, but that’s out of your control. So, the fact that we had such a great experience — it was such a special show for me personally — and that it did resonate with a lot of people, it’s a win-win. It’s a dream come true, because I’ve heard stories where you can feel that and then it doesn’t do that with a mass audience. It was lucky.
Since season one dropped, you and star Sarah Shahi have gone public with your real-life relationship. How did that influence the way you two acted on set?
It didn’t influence the way we acted, because the thing is, we met as actors. So, we’re very well-aware that’s our job, and that we have a job to do. So what’s home is home, and once on set, you’d be professional and you do your job. The lines don’t get blurred like that. We’re both there to do a job and make sure we do it well. If anything, I find it easy to act with her because there is chemistry there, of course. Sometimes it feels very effortless. In some scenes, it can be easy to feel the heartbreak when I’m looking at her upset, because I know her as a person. But at the end of the day, we met as actors. We care too much about repaying the favor to these people who trusted us with these characters. But it does feel a little easier because there’s that connection that we have already.
People saw that chemistry onscreen, even before you went public with your relationship.
It’s cool that it translates. I remember doing scenes, and I’m like, “Oh, wow, this feels fun. This feels electric. I wonder how it’s translating, but there’s something about working with her.” The fact that people picked up on it is cool. It’s really good.
Season two sort of wraps up all the storylines nicely, but what do you think comes next for Billie and Brad?
They do wrap a nice little bow, didn’t they? It’s almost like they go and get a white picket fence house, and they live happily ever after, I guess. But I will go back to what I’ve said earlier. Netflix, Stacy [Rukeyser] and all of our writers, they’re pretty creative. So if there’s a demand for it, I’m sure they’ll come up with something we hadn’t thought of. I don’t know… maybe Billie wakes up and season two was all a dream, who knows?
Oh, no. That would be heartbreaking.
I feel like that was a pretty cool ending. Maybe they move into Cooper and Billie’s old house. (Laughs.)
How many seasons would you like to do with Sarah and this show?
I would work with her all the time, forever. Clearly, I love her as a person, as a human. She’s my partner. But as an actor, I think she’s incredible. She makes me better as an actor. She does raise the bar. So, any chance I get to be in a scene and learn from her, I’ll take that every day, forever. When it comes to these characters, if the audience wants it and the storyline makes sense, I’ll keep doing them until it doesn’t, because I would hate for audiences to just not care for Brad and Billie anymore. But as long as they care, and the writers can come up with cool storylines, I’d love to keep going for a little bit. That role is a dream for me, so the more the merrier at the moment for me.
Interview edited for clarity.
Sex/Life season two is now streaming on Netflix.