Fresh off his role as Desi, GIRLS' resident OxyContin-addicted, Pacific Northwest knit-a-man, actor Ebon Moss Bachrach recently starred as Sebastian in HBO's new short, Tokyo Project. Directed by Richard Shepard (read our interview with him here), the short also stars Elisabeth Moss as fellow traveler Claire, with whom Sebastian embarks on a whirlwind affair. We caught up with Bachrach to find out what it was like shooting in Tokyo, as well as to dish on life after GIRLS.

How did you get involved with the project? Richard Shepard called me one day and said he'd written a short movie with me in mind that takes place in Tokyo and would I be interested in reading it. I tried to play it cool, and said, "I'll give it a read, Richard." Between Tokyo and Richard, I was pretty much already on the plane, ready to go. And then I read [the script] and I was deeply moved by this short piece. That was even more exciting. And then a few days later, Richard said, "What do you think about Elisabeth Moss? She wants to do it." And I was like, oh my God, dream come true, you know. Luckiest guy in town.

What was the experience like shooting in Tokyo? It was very confusing, kind of kaleidoscopic, between the jet lag and how quickly we were shooting, and the hours that we were shooting. And the nature of the shoot. It was a very small crew. We'd all jump in our van and go tot the next location and jump out, and quickly get what we needed, and pile back in. It was a very hallucinatory and very dreamy experience. "Dreamlike" is the word.

Is it harder to get into character in a short film versus in a TV show, where there's more room to explore? You obviously have a pretty limited timeframe to create a whole persona. Yes. I did have a lot of time before we started shooting to think about the character, to figure out who this guy was and what he was. You're right, in the shooting of it, it's quick strokes. You don't get this small, novelistic building of a character that you'd get in a series. That puts a lot of a burden on the director to execute that. And Richard's' very deft at that. He's really good at creating a whole cinematic experience. He directed "The Panic in Central Park," and that other [GIRLS episode] in the last season with the writer and Lena. He's really good. I don't really know how he does it or why, but he's great at slamming a full experience in a short amount of time.

How does it feel now that GIRLS is done? It's so sad. I miss GIRLS so much. It was always such a treat to go to that shoot. I still talk to people about it a lot. People come up to me a lot all the time and want to talk about GIRLS. In that way, it doesn't feel like it's gone away, just the experience of working on it has gone away. And the experience of working on it was so much fun. I always really looked forward to going to work. Hopefully I get to work with some of those guys again.

In Tokyo Project, you play this very laid back, emotional but even-keeled character, while Desi is... a lot of personality. Is it more fun to portray someone who's really wild or someone who's a little bit, I guess, like everyone else? It's fun to play someone very wild, who's got the impulse control of a baby. Maybe it's as fun to play somebody who's more straightforward and a bit more, living in the world where everyone else lives. I couldn't choose one over the other. I feel lucky that I get to do different kinds of parts.

Desi was a very polarizing character. I wrote a lot of GIRLS recaps, and I think I wished death upon him several times. Was it discouraging to have that kind of audience reaction to a character or was it fun? I don't know. It's like good days, bad days. But I wanted him to be out there and push it. So much of GIRLS is about, "Oh my god these people are driving me so fucking crazy." So I can't imagine that I was the only character that people wished death upon.

I mean that in the kindest way possible. Don't I know it.

It's fun to be polarizing and it's fun to push it. You're always in your person's corner. You try not to judge the characters too much, because I do think he had a lot of struggles and a lot of real issues. But it's also fun to say, how can we step outside and say, "Okay, how much can we push this," and, "Oh my God, this guy." When it ends in Season 4 with him on the outs, and then Season 5 begins with a wedding, people can't even wrap their heads around it. That's thrilling.

They did try to peel back Desi and give heart to the character in the end, which I thought was pretty effective. A little bit of redemption is always nice. Was it enough for you? Did it feel true to you?

Yeah, I mean, all of the characters on GIRLS were ridiculous, obviously. Desi definitely pushed it so far to the limit I wondered how this person could get up and brush his teeth in the morning. But I think the addiction plotline, and also how he was able to show how awful Marnie really is, was very redeeming. In the end he wasn't the antagonist, she was. He was a fun character to be annoyed with. I'll take that, sure. Great.

Going back to Tokyo Project, can you talk about the food in Tokyo, and what part it played in the film? The ramen shop and the sake bar were a couple of really fascinating sequences. I think that the ramen shop that we shot at was like 400 years old. What a treat. We'd go to this place and try this thing from here and then drink this. I had a list of things I wanted to do once I got to Tokyo, and I threw that list out the window immediately. I was just like, I'm going to do whatever Richard tells me to do. Eat whatever he puts in front of me, drink whatever he puts in front of me. Wear these clothes. And just take the Richard Shepard ride.