The kids of And Just Like That… have made just as much of a splash as their on-screen parents. In particular, Charlotte York is learning to grow with her children as they come of age— a crucial part of her parenting journey when 12-year-old Rose changes their name to Rock and comes out as nonbinary. As the Sex and the City revival series approaches its finale, LA Confidential caught up with Alexa Swinton about joining the infamous HBO series, the importance of playing Rock and her love of sitcoms.
What was it like to have Kristin Davis and Evan Handler as your on-screen parents?
They are great to have as on-screen parents. Evan is a very devoted father, and he is always talking about his own real children when we have a chance to chat on set. Kristin is wonderful. The first day of production was a table read. Kristin came up to me to introduce herself and told me how when she saw my audition, she knew they had found their Rose/Rock. She was so warm and open and supportive. She made me feel immediately welcome into this new family.
And in fact, coming into the production was like joining a huge, welcoming family. It has been the case with everyone I have the fortune to work with – from Molly Rogers (the costume designer) to Michael Patrick King (the showrunner) to the producers and writers – Julie Rottenberg and Elisa Zuritsky – to Sarah Jessica Parker, Cynthia Nixon and of course Kristin. MPK is impressive as a showrunner – he is on top of everything from the big creative vision to the smallest of details! He and I worked closely on figuring out Rock’s haircut; it was a real collaboration. Cynthia Nixon directed an episode, and she was so thoughtful. It was inspiring. And SJP, she is awesome. She’s so focused and also kind. I feel lucky to be a part of the AJLT family!
Richard Burton is quite the cute family pet. Was it ever difficult to film with a bulldog?
OMG I love, love, love Richard Burton (whose real name is Myrtle) so, so much. Every single time she was on set she would get everyone to stop because she was so cute. Only the cast was allowed to pet her because of COVID and so that she wouldn’t get overwhelmed. But she would come for pettings and give very lovely licks.
She was such a lovely dog. She would be such a good listener to her trainers. If they asked her to sit or do whatever, she would just do it. There were never any production issues because she wasn’t paying attention.
Rose Goldenblatt— who now goes by Rock— has a pretty important story. How did you prepare to play a kid who explores their gender identity?
I have had a number of peers have the same kind of experience as Rock and it brought me to the role. Rock doesn't have a lot of angst. Rock is thoughtful and wants to get on with things. Their identity is only important as their colors choices – what to wear, how to decorate a room, etc. But Rock would be skateboarding regardless!
I was first introduced to trans and nonbinary people when I went to a rock music camp when I was six years old that was specifically for anyone as long as they were not a cisgender male. They asked everyone to introduce themselves with their pronouns. I hadn’t done that before. I remember telling my mom about it, but it also wasn’t a big deal. It just became something that people do.
In your own words, how would you describe Rock? What did you enjoy most about the role?
Rock is a cool 12-year-old. They love skateboarding and gaming. I loved playing a character that was just so comfortable in themselves, even though they aren’t the child their parents had in their mind. I was so excited to play a character that was 12 years old and gender non-conforming because there aren’t any characters like that on TV. It was just so heartwarming to hear that my friends were happy that they finally saw characters like them on screen because they never had previously.
Do you have a favorite scene or episode? Why?
Episode 10 is my favorite, so wait for that one! It's fantastic! I can’t give out any clues about the episode, of course. My favorite costume for Rock is in that episode and just make sure you check out my shoes! And everyone’s costumes are just so, so, fun!
The very first episode is my next favorite one. It was so fun to meet all the cast on the first day of the shoot. It was a big fashion show with all the cast in the most beautiful costumes! And then it was even more special as we were shooting late at night and with all these New Yorkers lined up on the street to watch what was going on. And that’s when I got to introduce twelve-year-old Rose/Rock to the world!
We hear you’re a big fan of Friends. Do you want to do more sitcoms in the future?
My favorite thing about Friends is probably the relationships between all the characters. It makes me want my own six-person friend group who all live in apartments just down the hall from one another. I also love that Monica and Chandler get together. And FYI, Rachel and Ross were not on a break!
There is one sitcom that I would love to work on. My mom, Inna, is a standup comedian, a writer and an actress too and she has written an amazing new comedy that I would love to work on! Watch for more on that soon!
As an actor and fan, what do you love about television?
I love that there are so many different stories available from everyone – now from around the world! You can watch a show about a teenage girl from a small Connecticut town trying to get into Yale or a show about people who got in a plane crash stuck on a tropical island where they get attacked by polar bears or somewhere in between, like an animated show that is about all the things we see on Facebook being true. Or – most recently – a Korean story about people in a compromised economic situation fighting to the death for a lot of money. That’s what is super cool about it. There are so many different things you can watch, so many different things you can act in. or just enjoy. And down the road, I look forward to creating my own stories to share!
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Photography by: Brandon Leger