Anna Bennett (Sian Clifford) wears a grey turtleneck and dark blazer. I have no idea how to describe her expression — Amused? Confused? Skeptical? — but I’m sure Ellis Dragon is on the receiving end for one of his hijinks.


Sian Clifford keeps the peace as Anna Bennett in Unstable.

19 April 20232 min read

The halls of Dragon, the biotechnology company at the center of Unstable, are rife with invention, discovery, and the chaos created by its unpredictable founder, Ellis Dragon. The genius yet ego-driven inventor (Rob Lowe) is destabilized following the death of his wife. When he returns to work after the tragedy and begins exhibiting more-bewildering-than-usual behavior, his chief financial officer Anna Bennett is left wondering if it’s too soon for him to be back in the office. Anna, played by Sian Clifford (Fleabag, See How They Run), quickly realizes it’s up to her to save the company and its founder. Part co-conspirator, part babysitter, Bennett must prove to Dragon shareholders, the press, and the public that the company is a productive, normal place of business. Considering Ellis’s eccentricities, which include an affinity for nudity and a pet hawk, this is no small feat. 

Anna Bennett (Sian Clifford) wears a blue top and a grey blazer and stands on the other side of Ellis Dragon’s (Rob Lowe) desk.

Anna Bennett (Sian Clifford) and Ellis Dragon (Rob Lowe)

Photograph by John P. Fleenor

Created by Rob alongside his son and co-star John Owen Lowe and Victor Fresco (Santa Clarita Diet), Unstable is anchored by its C.F.O. just as much as it is by Ellis Dragon and his only child, played by John Owen. Clifford, whose performance as Claire in Fleabag garnered her a BAFTA TV Award and an Emmy nomination, was the first choice for the role. “We saw Sian in Fleabag, and like everybody else, fell in love with her,” says Rob of their dream cast member. “We sent her the script and she loved it.” 

Anna Bennett (Sian Clifford) sits in the passenger sea and Ellis Dragon (Rob Lowe) drives in this darkened car.

Anna Bennett (Sian Clifford) and Ellis Dragon (Rob Lowe)

Clifford’s steadfast and unwavering rendering of Anna is the perfect foil to Ellis’s peculiarity. From faulty invisibility cloaks to a therapist trapped in Ellis’s basement, she takes on each of the founder’s problems and solves them with her typical aplomb. “[We] liked the idea of using a British actress for Anna because the Brits just feel so buttoned down and unemotional, which I think is helpful for that character,” points out co-creator Fresco. Clifford brings a confidence and power to Anna and, in Lowe’s words, “you believe she is secretly running that company behind closed doors.”