Sutton Foster, Nico Tortorella, Peter Hermann and creator Darren Star preview the Paramount+ series' seventh season.
The Younger ensemble is getting ready to say goodbye. As they prepare to launch the seventh and final season on April 15, the first four episodes of which will drop April 15 on Paramount+ (with subsequent episodes premiering weekly), the cast and creator Darren Star (Sex and the City, Emily in Paris) are taking a moment to look back on their time on the show as they approach the end of an era. Bittersweet, it turns out, was the word of choice.
"It's so bittersweet. The overwhelming feeling I think is gratitude. I feel incredibly grateful to have had an amazing job for seven years, to work with this amazing cast and I'm just going to miss it," series star Sutton Foster told ET's Lauren Zima in March. "I'll miss being with everybody. Not only will I miss doing the show, but it was really the stuff behind the scenes, just being with everyone. It was a very special group of people and these past seven years is substantial; it's a long time. A lot has happened in a lot of our lives in the past seven years: marriages, babies, engagements, deaths -- all of these things. It's almost like this little time capsule of time. So I feel sad that it's over and we won't be able to all come back together, but we'll just have to have reunion parties."
"It's emotional for sure. It's a bittersweet moment. The world has been so crazy, not that it ever has not been crazy, but it's been exponentially more unhinged this past year and the fact that we were all able to come together and pull this off amidst everything that is happening is a feat," said Nico Tortorella, who plays Josh, and wrapped his scenes a month and a half earlier than everyone else to film The Walking Dead: World Beyond. "We've been doing this for a long time, seven years is a real run, and these characters have been fleshed out and they're multi-dimensional in relationships this way and that way. My last day on set was a lot. I could barely get through the scenes to be honest with you... They had to wrap me out quick so there was still a month and a half of shooting after I left and I have a hard time saying goodbye in general, but in my heart, I don't believe that there is an end to these characters quite yet -- both in a literal sense and in a spiritual sense."
Peter Hermann, who plays Charles, recalled his final scene on Younger. "We wrapped in front of the Bowery Ballroom at 5 a.m. It was Sutton [and] me in the last scene. We were all out in the street and it was cold and beautiful and the garbage trucks were going by and the feeling that you could just feel -- everybody, cast and crew, Sutton and I were the only cast members still there -- was gratitude. We were so thankful to have been a part of this and to have been able make this show for seven years. And that's still the feeling."
Ending any television show is a tall order, much less one with seven seasons of history and fan investment wrapped up in it. Star promised that the writers have created an ending that does the characters justice. Season 7 picks up moments after the season 6 cliffhanger when Charles proposed to Liza (Foster), whose uncertainty over whether to accept his marriage proposal remains one of the biggest looming questions.
"It's definitely bittersweet to end this series, but I'm so happy with this season [and] with the final episode, which is actually an hour. I think it gives all the characters such great, satisfying conclusions to seven years of Younger," Star said, promising that the ending -- which was "exactly what [the writers] talked about a year ago," before the pandemic -- is one that fans will be content with. "I want to make the audience happy and as writers, we're the audience too and so we're writing it for ourselves in a way and we want to give the characters that we care about endings that feel right for them and satisfying and I think we did it. I really do. I'm really happy with this final episode that has twists and turns until the very, very last moment."
"When I read the final episode, which I read on my phone in a corner while we were filming another scene, because I didn't know how they were going to end it, it felt incredibly satisfying to me. And it felt incredibly satisfying to the character and to the show. Once I read how it ended, I went, 'It could not have ended any other way,'" Foster shared. "I feel like the writers nailed it. That's how I feel. I'm sure people are going to have lots of opinions, but for me, it felt incredibly true."
"We got the script for the last episode the day before the table read, if not the day of the table read. I'll say that in an amazing way it is weighted and there is this wrap-up for every single character in a way that is fulfilling," Tortorella echoed. "We've all been through so much and there is this bow on the each of our characters that is really like a tip of the hat to the writers. They have accomplished so much in such a long time, in a genre of television that is not the easiest to write. A 22-minute rom-com, s**t has to move fast, and by the end of it, there were a lot of series regulars, there are a lot of stories on this show that existed simultaneously and what they were able to accomplish [in the final episode], fans will be thrilled. That's all I'm going to say about that."
One exciting, unplanned wrench in Star's plans during season 7 was Hilary Duff's real-life pregnancy. Duff gave birth to her third child, daughter Mae, on March 24 (Younger co-star Molly Bernard flew to Los Angeles for the birth) and sported a growing baby bump while filming the final episodes of Younger. Star revealed they strategically placed "bigger and bigger things" for her to hold or have people standing in front of her to hide the bump. In some ways, Duff's pregnancy was a major factor in ensuring that production on season 7 stayed on track.
"I thought, 'Now we have to do it.' When I told her we wanted to get back to work in October , she said, 'That's great because I'm having a baby in March.' And I thought, 'Oh my god, we really have to stick to this schedule because otherwise I don't know what we're going to do this season,'" Star revealed. "The baby was calling the shots. She gave us the right kind of pressure to make this season happen."
"I have this amazing video of my daughter holding [Duff's 2-year-old daughter] Banks when she was a little baby and then when Hilary was pregnant this season, my daughter, Emily, was asking her questions about the baby in her belly," Foster recalled. "We've all become like this family and it's beyond what we do on set."
Said Tortorella of her friend and co-star's newest addition to the family: "I've gotten plenty of pictures [of Mae]. Hilary is such an incredible woman and the ways in which she has brought these children into this world are incredible. They've inspired how we want to have babies at home right in the little bathtub in the master bedroom with everyone else around. There is something so special about how she lives her life and how she carries people, quite literally."
But back to Younger. With Liza toying with the idea of marriage again -- to Charles or not -- the series-long romantic question about whether she ends up with publishing guru Charles or her young ex-beau, Josh, continues to be one that doesn't have an easy answer. The cast, of course, played coy when asked about the chances of either man ultimately winning Liza's heart in the end.
"With this season, it really is about Liza not settling, not compromising, really thriving and claiming her role and her career. Of course, there's room for love and all of that, but it's Liza choosing Liza. I think that's what the season is about," Foster said. "Trust me, there's romance in this final season. It's not Younger without it, but I really love that the writers kept it true to the show." Hermann, meanwhile, skirted the question, only to say that the answer to that question "was so earned" and "came out of what has come before," calling it "beautifully done."
"I have always said [I'm] Team Liza. The love triangle makes sense, right? It sells television. It is a trope that has existed since the beginning but the show is not about Josh and Charles, the show is about the female characters and their own relationships that they have with each other and the world. Peter and I are accessories to a much more interesting storyline to be honest with you and I am OK in celebrating that," Tortorella thoughtfully said. "It's important today to tell those stories in the most authentic way possible. It's always been important but Darren has continuously done an incredible job of driving women and I'm Team Liza. I've always been Team Liza."
As for whether season 7 is actually the end, Tortorella seemed to think there was room for more exploration with the characters down the line.
"I just think that these characters, there's still more story to tell," he said. "Who knows? Maybe there is a movie. Darren has been known to make movies and shows come back years later, so we'll see what happens."
"Anything is possible," Foster agreed. "I mean, hey, we got to [The] Secret that s**t out there, right? But I feel like there's more. Anything is possible and if they call me and say, 'We would love to continue these characters,' I'm there. This is a role of a lifetime and a dream job and I would love to tell more stories with these people."
The first four episodes of Younger drop Thursday, April 15 on Paramount+ with subsequent episodes premiering weekly. For more, watch below.
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