“Girls” Stars Then and Now, from Lena Dunham to Adam Driver

Girls Main ImageGetty Images

 ends its six-season run on HBO this Sunday night, and I can’t lie… I’m going to miss it.

created a show that was painful to watch at times, but honest in its heartbreak and hilarity, which were doled out in equal measure. With the help of trusted collaborators Judd Apatow and Jenni Konner, as well as numerous talented writers and directors, Dunham gave voice to a generation of young women eager to see themselves on the small screen, and it’s hard to quantify how many others she has inspired to write and create on their own.

Girls may not have been for everyone, but it was definitely for me, so to pay tribute to this special show (and its characters) that I will miss dearly, let’s take a walk down memory lane to back when it all started in April 2012, and take a peek at what the future has in store for this impressive ensemble.

Lena Dunham GirlsGetty Images

LENA DUNHAM – Dunham was given the opportunity to create Girls on the strength of her low-budget directorial debut Tiny Furniture, which found a fan in Judd Apatow. She could’ve stayed in her indie comfort zone, but instead, she pushed herself to create a TV series worthy of HBO, filling the void left by Sex and the City. In bringing a new perspective to television, she became the voice of a generation, or at least a certain subset of it. While Dunham plans to take “a break” after Girls, she’s still overseeing her Lenny newsletter, which has spawned a book imprint and an upcoming series of short films for HBOGo. In addition to writing her own book (Not That Kind of Girl), she’s writing a collection of short stories about female friendship titled Best and Always, and she’s developing female stories with her fellow Girls EP Jenni Konner. The sky’s the limit for Dunham, who has certainly come a long way over the past five years.

Allison Williams GirlsGetty Images

ALLISON WILLIAMS – Best known as Brian Williams’ daughter when she booked Girls, Williams has shed that limiting label and made a name for herself in Hollywood without her father’s help. She starred in the live TV musical Peter Pan and landed the female lead in Jordan Peele’s Get Out, which will go down as one of the most successful films of the year. In addition to landing her an MTV Movie Award nomination for Best Villain, that film will surely open doors for her at studios across town.

Zosia Mamet GirlsGetty Images

ZOSIA MAMET – Like Williams, Mamet grew up with a famous father in playwright David Mamet, but she has spread her wings and soared on her own since Girls. Prior to the HBO series, she had booked a few roles on TV shows such as Mad Men and The United States of Tara, but now she’s lining up roles in cool indie movies like David Robert Mitchell’s upcoming crime noir Under the Silver Lake and last year’s Todd Solondz film Wiener-Dog. Mamet has also proven her acting chops on stage and is set to star in Hamish Linklater’s new play The Whirligig.

Jemima Kirke GirlsGetty Images

JEMIMA KIRKE – Kirke co-starred in Tiny Furniture, so she goes way back with Dunham. She never struck me as someone who really set out to become an actress — after all, she tried to bail on Girls after the first season — but rather someone who stumbled into it and proved to have a knack for the craft. We hope the free-spirited painter continues to act because she’s a natural who’s always interesting on camera. Coming up, she’ll be seen alongside her sister Lola Kirke in the indie Untogether, which stars Ben Mendelsohn and Jamie Dornan, as well as Jeff Baena’s convent comedy The Little Hours, which bowed at Sundance.

Adam Driver GirlsGetty Images

ADAM DRIVER – Driver is the Girls star who made a quantum leap since joining the show, and that’s largely thanks to J.J. Abrams casting him as the villain in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Driver gets offered a ton of feature work but he prefers to pick his spots, working with acclaimed directors like Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Jim Jarmusch, Jeff Nichols, Noah Baumbach and the Coen brothers. There are numerous Oscar-winning actors who would be envious of that list of collaborators. The character of Adam changed a lot over the years and it was impossible to take your eyes off Driver throughout that evolution. I always knew he had something special, I’m just grateful that Hollywood’s A-list directors saw it too. Up next is, of course, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Steven Soderbergh’s heist movie Logan Lucky and Terry Gilliam’s The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, which is finally coming together at Amazon Studios. Driver may have been an unlikely movie star, but he has done a great job of growing into the part. Of all the Girls cast members, he has the brightest acting career ahead, which is well deserved.

Alex Karpovsky GirlsGetty Images

ALEX KARPOVSKY – Karpovsky was already an up-and-coming indie filmmaker when he booked Girls, which introduced his work to a much larger audience. Since then, he has worked with the Coen brothers twice, appearing in both Inside Llewyn Davis and Hail, Caesar! Though he feels like a misanthropic character actor, Karpovsky has positioned himself as a charming indie lead, and he has a starring turn opposite Wyatt Russell in Folk Hero and Funny Guy on deck. He’ll also pop up in the indie movies Rosy with Nat Wolff and Sidney Hall with Logan Lerman and Elle Fanning.

Andrew Rannells GirlsGetty Images

ANDREW RANNELLS – Rannells has been the secret weapon behind Girls, which beefed up his role in later seasons. He arrived at the show a certifiable Broadway star thanks to his Tony-nominated turn in The Book of Mormon, and yet he’s still awaiting a major movie role — which he 100% completely, totally deserves. Sure, he popped up in the studio comedies Why Him? and The Intern, and film executives may still see him as little more than “gay best friend” material, but he’s capable of so much more. More importantly, he knows he is, and I don’t think we’ll see him settle for less than that following Girls.

Christopher Abbott and Ebon Moss-Bachrach GirlsGetty Images

CHRISTOPHER ABBOTT and EBON MOSS-BACHRACH – These guys weren’t on Girls the entire time, but they each played a key role in the show’s success. Abbott played Marnie’s boyfriend Charlie during the first two seasons, after which she moved on to Moss-Bachrach’s sensitive singer Desi. The latter actor had a solid acting career in place when he joined Girls, which he has since parlayed into a regular role on Netflix’s upcoming Punisher series. Meanwhile, Abbott used the exposure from the HBO series (which he returned to for a great Season 5 episode) to carve out a career as a serious actor. He was excellent in Josh Mond’s directorial debut James White and has several intriguing indies on the horizon, such as A24’s horror movie It Comes at Night with Joel Edgerton, Nicolas Pesce’s Piercing with Mia Wasikowska, and Sebastian Silva’s Tyrel with Michael Cera, Jason Mitchell and Caleb Landry Jones. Expect him to be a familiar face at film festivals for years to come.

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Still quiet here.sas

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