When Nasim Pedrad joined the second season of People of Earth, she (and everyone else) had no idea what was to become of The New Girl, the beloved Fox sitcom where she also made regular appearances. The broadcast network ultimately renewed it for a seventh and final season, but with Pedrad’s new series commitment, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether or not she will return as LAPD Officer Aly Nelson. With her debut as FBI Special Agent Alex Foster on People of Earth, however, she’s proving herself just as memorable in her role as a hyper-committed, foot-shooting agent riffing on a character from one of the series’ strongest influences, The X-Files. “Maybe I’m not a model agent, and yeah, I shot myself in the foot,” Foster declares in an early scene reminiscent of Gillian Anderson’s first appearance as Dana Scully. “I was born for this job. So you can ridicule me, demote me, make me file meaningless reports until I am blind in both eyes — but you will never break my spirit.”
As viewers (and Foster) discovered, her case would bring her to Beacon, New York, where the members of StarCrossed have reassembled. In tonight’s episode, the agent will finally meet the group members for the first time — a prospect that excited the Saturday Night Live alum. In an interview with Uproxx, Pedrad spoke about the joys and challenges of joining an established ensemble cast, as well as the terrifying delight of auditioning for Curb Your Enthusiasm‘s upcoming ninth season with Larry David himself.
Between Ana Gasteyer and Greg Daniels, there’s a lot of SNL heritage on this show. Was that a part of how you got involved?
I was so excited to just be a fan of season one, to appreciate it as a fan. Of course I knew Ana a little bit. She had popped in a few times during the five years I was on SNL, so we have met before. I just adored her and loved her work while she was on the show. But the opportunity itself came about when I met with Greg Daniels and Norm Hiscock, and they offered me the role of Alex Foster. The first season was such an interesting, weird and wonderful story, so of course I was excited to join it for season two.
Joining an already close-knit ensemble like this must have been a challenge, though one you successfully navigated previously with New Girl.
I feel like what my character is going through, in terms of coming into something that’s already happening. Foster is coming in and meeting everyone for the first time, trying to educate herself on what’s going on. That whole thing sort of mirrored what I was going through as an actor, joining a cast like this in season two, which can be a little overwhelming at times. You feel like a kid who switched high schools somewhere in the middle of things, and you’re like, “Oh my God, I hope I get along with everyone.” But I could not have joined a more warm and welcoming group of people. We’re really like a little family, and because we shoot in Toronto — which most of us are not based out of, as we’re all either from Los Angeles or New York — it was really nice to have each other for those long days.
When I spoke to the cast at New York Comic Con, a few them talked about doing escape rooms with each other. Did you do anything like that this time around?