'A Teacher': Nick Robinson and Kate Mara on What Eric and Claire See in Each Other

Nick Robinson and Kate Mara currently star across from one another in the controversial new series A Teacher, which explores a sexual relationship between a high school English teacher and her student. The series confronts grooming, abuse of power, and taboo attraction while contemplating the gender stereotypes surrounding victims and sexual predators in society. 

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Robinson and Mara discussed the show, explaining why they believe the characters are drawn to one another. Robinson’s character, the student, makes the first move, complicating their once plutonic-yet-laden-with-sexual-chemistry dynamic. 

Nick Robinson on why Eric is drawn to Claire in ‘A Teacher’

When asked, “What is it that Eric and Claire see in each other?,” Robinson was quick to note the escapism at play. He said: 

They both see a sort of escape in each other, in different ways. Eric sees Claire, in a weird way, as his ticket to adulthood and real love and manhood. Also, things happen really fast and he doesn’t have the emotional toolkit to deal with what’s going on. But I think there’s also the level of where he’s just attracted to her and you wouldn’t necessarily look twice seeing them walking down the street together, so in his mind it’s not such a bad thing, at least at first…

Robinson explains that the two characters, visually, would not raise eyebrows. The “it looks OK, so it is OK” thought process is enough to qualm Eric’s concerns…at first. Later, he realizes “the manipulation that was happening unbeknownst to him,” as Robinson goes on to note. Yet, his teacher presents the fast lane to “manhood,” which he can’t resist. 

Kate Mara on Claire’s attraction to her student 

Mara explains that some of what Robinson’s character feels is true for Claire, yet she notes the pleasure that comes from the attention as a vital catalyst for her character. Claire is not satisfied in her marriage, making the possibility for infidelity even greater. Mara said: 

Some of those things are also accurate for Claire… the feeling of someone giving you all this attention, and it’s exciting and new. It’s interesting, the lies that she tells herself to justify her behavior. But the thing I like so much about our show is that the more you watch, the more you see the consequences of these choices for both people and how it affects their lives so intensely.

Mara explains that her character “lies” to herself to justify inappropriate behavior, which takes the show down a long road of immense consequences and introspection. 

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