With the season finale of Schitt’s Creek on the very near horizon (it airs Tuesday, April 7.), Annie Murphy sat down with Variety for a look back at her time on the hit comedy series and how her co-star and show creator Dan Levy changed her life.
From the very beginning, Murphy says Levy knew she was perfect for the role of Alexis. There was just one small hurdle. Levy’s father, veteran comedian Eugene Levy, had always pictured Alexis as a blonde in his mind. Fortunately, the younger Levy was still able to get Murphy in to audition for both Alexis and surly hotel clerk Stevie, which she managed to pull off despite having to fly to Toronto from Los Angeles where she was knee deep in pilot season and not having much luck.
But then came the wait. Murphy knew that if you don’t get a call back after two weeks, it usually means you didn’t get the part. By the time Levy eventually called her, it had already been three weeks, so she was naturally prepared for the worst. In fact, she ignored the call at first before working up the courage to call back and face what she just assumed was going to be another rejection:
Dan picked up the phone and proceeded to say, “Hey, I just wanted to let you know that we loved having them come in, and we really loved what you did.” And then just left me hanging — like 45 years of my life went by. It was the worst. I was trying to put on a brave face, and be like, “Honestly, I grew so much as an actor,” putting the tears back into the duct. Right before he hung up, he was like, “Just one quick question. How would you like to play my sister on the show?”
It was a life-changing moment. My apartment had burned down; it was a bleak time. It really just 180-ed my life, to go work with two people I had admired so much growing up.
Obviously, things worked out, and Murphy’s portrayal of Alexis became a fan favorite and the launcher of a million GIFs. In fact, her viral fame is still going strong thanks to her pop spoof “A Little Bit Alexis” becoming a pandemic anthem for hand-washing, which Murphy never saw coming. She was allowed to both write and choreograph the song, and she genuinely had no clue it would take off:
Even though we knew that it had to be a spoof and not very good, we secretly all wanted to write a banger of a song. I wrote the lyrics, and then the other two did the bleeps and bloops and put the melody together. I sent it to Dan and just waited and waited and waited, and he wrote back, “I am obsessed.” We ended up recording the full song. It gets played at clubs now. It’s crazy.
As for the finale, Murphy says to expect lots of very real tears from her and Levy. Although, she does offer hope for Schitt’s Creek fans who aren’t ready for the show to end. “Write a strongly worded letter to Dan, please.”