Photoshoots & Portraits > 2018 > Session #016 | People
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel‘s Rachel Brosnahan has definitely received her fair share of not-so-marvelous career advice.
“Just take the money,” the Emmy-nominated actress, 27, first answered in PEOPLE Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle’s The Jess Cagle Exercise when asked about the worst advice she’d ever received.
“We were shooting a project — that shall remain nameless — that was very unsafe,” the House of Cards alum explained. “It involved a camera drone in the sky and a lightning storm and I turned to another actor on the project and said, ‘I feel like we should get out of here.’”
Despite the bad advice, Brosnahan has gone a long way with her successful career—scoring herself a Golden Globe win and two Emmy nominations.
Most recently, the actress earned an Emmy nomination for best actress in a comedy for her hilarious portrayal of Miriam ‘Midge’ Maisel, a 1950s housewife turned stand-up comedian, on Amazon’s hit show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
“What group of totally complete a******s needs a skating rink in the middle of summer?” asks the first look at the second season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel that Amazon dropped today.
There wasn’t a launch date unveiled yet for the Golden Globe winning and multiple Emmy nominated 1950s set comedy from Amy-Sherman Palladino, but we do know where they are going. The location would be the Catskills as the spurned housewife-turned-comedian played by Rachel Brosnahan takes her particular style of comedy and her Alex Borstein played manager on the road out of NYC and upstate.
Having debuted in November last year, the Lenny Bruce portrayed cameoed series from the House of Bezos is looking like the lead contender in a slew of comedy categories for the September 17 Primetime Emmys.
Even with 14 nominations, including Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Brosnahan, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Tony Shalhoub, and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Borstein, TMMM doesn’t look to be taking anything for granted in a continuous FYC campaign.
Already renewed for a third season, the tale of the sharp tongued Upper West Side divorcee is planning to pop up all over the City of Angels on the 13th, 20th and 27th of August with Maisel look-a-likes, pop up pink lemonade stands and old skool ice cream carts to keep those Emmy voters hydrated and happy. Additionally, with doors opening at 6:30 PM, Amazon Prime Video will be holding a screening at Hollywood Forever tonight of the first two episodes of Season 1 and a whole lotta NYC delicacies.
Sorta like the Catskills, but different.
Miriam “Midge” Maisel has it all. Beauty, wit, a home that belongs in a magazine spread, and an alliterative name. Then she loses a major piece of the puzzle: her husband, who philanders and leaves her high and dry after sparking an interest in stand-up comedy in her. It’s on the stage that she finds success and herself, and it’s online that The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has found similar success.
An effervescent comedy from Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, the Rachel Brosnahan-starring series also tackles modern sexual politics with quick quips and antique flair. Here are 10 facts about the Amazon Studios series, which was just nominated for eight Emmy Awards.
1. THEY BORROWED AN HERB FROM ROSEMARY’S BABY.
In an early episode, a fortune teller hands over a charm to Midge’s mom, Rose (Marin Hinkle), that includes tannis root, which is made up. Specifically, it was invented for the Roman Polanski horror film Rosemary’s Baby, which doesn’t involve comedy so much as it involves a New York City apartment complex filled with Satan worshippers.
2. SOME INITIAL ADVERTISING MADE A CONFUSING RELIGIOUS STATEMENT.
Amazon promos described Midge’s home as “an elegant Upper East Side apartment perfect for hosting Yom Kippur dinner,” which may have confused potential Jewish fans since Yom Kippur is marked by fasting. There is a meal called a “Break-the-Fast,” and while the pilot episode of the show gets that right, the advertising does not.
3. AMY SHERMAN-PALLADINO’S FATHER WAS A COMIC IN THE 1950S.
The show opens in 1958, which required a healthy amount of research, but Sherman-Palladino had the inside track. Her father was Don Sherman, who started off in the Greenwich Village comedy scene. “I grew up with stand-up comedians hanging out in my house,” Sherman-Palladino told Variety. “Stand-up comedians either work a lot or they have a lot of time on their hands to hang around with each other eating deli and making each other laugh. It was like Broadway Danny Rose a lot of the time at my house.” She also dedicated an episode to her father.
4. RACHEL BROSNAHAN WAS TOLD REPEATEDLY THAT SHE WASN’T FUNNY.
Up until she was cast as Midge, Rachel Brosnahan mostly played haunted-eyed girls in severe dramas (see: House of Cards). A lot of bad stuff happened to her characters. She also lost a lot of acting jobs because, while talented, casting directors didn’t think she was funny. “It happened enough times that there was a pattern,” Brosnahan told Glamour. “I thought, ‘Maybe I should listen to it.’ Now I’ve realized you can continue to learn things even when you’ve formed a really solid sense of self.” Now she’s an award-winning comedic actor. Not bad for someone who isn’t funny.
5. THE CREATOR KEEPS ASKING ACTORS IF THEY HAVE MORE HIDDEN TALENTS.
Beyond making a dramatic actor learn how to be a convincing stand-up comic, Sherman-Palladino continues to keep the actors on their toes. After wrapping the first season, Brosnahan got a text from Sherman-Palladino asking if she could ride a bike. Marin Hinkle got a text asking if she could speak French. They also made Brosnahan do something involving “a rolling chair and some choreography” that we’ll have to wait for season two to see. “Took a tumble, so I’m learning new skills,” Brosnahan said.
6. MIDGE IS A SALUTE TO JOAN RIVERS.
Midge is brimming with the same kind of pioneering spirit exemplified by early female comics like Phyllis Diller and Joan Rivers. Midge has a certain brashness that would resonate particularly with the latter. Brosnahan watched a lot of Rivers’s performances to prepare for the role, and even though their styles are somewhat different, their drive and tenacity in a male-dominated field is the same.
7. SHERMAN-PALLADINO WANTED TO MAKE A PERIOD PIECE BECAUSE SHE DOESN’T LIKE TECHNOLOGY.
The writer/producer is known for caffeine-powered dialogue that’s laced with pop culture references aplenty, but she’s not the biggest fan of modernity. Besides creating an homage to her father’s early career, mounting a mid-century series appealed to Sherman-Palladino because of its technological limitations. She relished “the opportunity to do any sort of show where I don’t have to think about Shapchat—I’m thrilled, delighted because I don’t understand technology. I just want to go back to a time where there wasn’t any,” she told Vanity Fair.
8. COFFEE IS ONE KEY TO THE CHARACTER.
How does one spew all those lines written by Sherman-Palladino? “It helps when you really love the project and the role,” Brosnahan told Harper’s Bazaar. “But as we went on, it definitely involved digging pretty deep, and a lot of coffee. Lots and lots and lots of coffee.” The show’s scripts are 10 to 15 pages longer than the average television series.
9. BROSNAHAN GOT THE ROLE DESPITE BOMBING AN AUDITION AND GETTING APOCALYPTICALLY SICK.
After years of being told she wasn’t funny, Brosnahan almost missed the Mrs. Maisel boat, too. She thought she’d done horribly in her initial audition, and then she got sick just before a second chance test with Sherman-Palladino and executive producer Dan Palladino. She postponed the test to see if she’d get better, but she only got worse.
“I rallied, but I honestly was so sick during the camera test,” Brosnahan admitted. “I was so sweaty Amy kept stopping me because I had to powder my face, I was blowing my nose, I took my shoes off at some point … at best, that test was a beautiful disaster. But Midge is kind of a disaster sometimes.”
10. BROSNAHAN DOESN’T THINK OF MIDGE AS A FEMINIST.
Despite treading on traditionally male ground, Brosnahan doesn’t apply the feminist label to her character. Hers is more of a quiet, personal, subversive revolution. “What I love about Midge is that she is so not a feminist,” she told The New York Times. “She’s a creature of her time. What she is, is curious. She’s insatiable. If she doesn’t know things, she wants to know them. And she doesn’t know any other way than forward.”
Source: Mental Floss
Rachel Brosnahan (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) has a commanding lead in our Emmy predictions for Best Comedy Actress. The vast majority of Gold Derby’s users are betting on her to win, giving her leading odds of 2/11. But one can’t help but wonder, would she still have such a commanding lead if she had to battle Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”)? Vote in our poll at the bottom of this post.
Louis-Dreyfus won Best Comedy Actress six times in a row (2012-2017) for playing inept politician Selena Meyer in “Veep.” No one has ever won the category that many times, and certainly not for the same role. Louis-Dreyfus’s record is even more impressive because she also won that race in 2006 for “The New Adventures of Old Christine,” and she won Best Comedy Supporting Actress for “Seinfeld” back in 1996. Those eight Emmys mean she is tied with Cloris Leachman for the most acting wins ever at the Primetime Emmys.
But it’s rare to discover a breakout star like Brosnahan, who is reminiscent of 2007 Best Comedy Actress champ America Ferrera (“Ugly Betty”) and 2016 Best Drama Actress victor Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”) in how quickly she has made a name for herself with her breakthrough role. She’s the reigning Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice winner for her performance as the title character, a wife and mother who becomes a defiant stand-up comic.
“Maisel” is one of the most nominated comedies of the year with 14 bids (behind only “Atlanta” with 16). And on top of that, Brosnahan was a surprise Emmy nominee in 2015 for Best Drama Guest Actress for “House of Cards,” so the TV academy liked her before it was cool.
Louis-Dreyfus is out of the running this year because she was diagnosed with cancer in the fall of 2017, and her treatment delayed production on the seventh and final season of “Veep.” So we won’t get to see a showdown between the two leading ladies — at least not this year.
After six straight wins Emmy voters might have been ready to move on to a new winner even if Louis-Dreyfus were around this year. Then again, it might have been tempting to reward her for her “Veep” swan song and complete an undefeated streak that seems unlikely ever to be repeated.
It’s impossible to know for sure how Louis-Dreyfus would have fared for a season that hasn’t aired yet, but what do you think? Given her history and Brosnahan’s breakout, which one of them do you think would have won in a head-to-head match-up?
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on September 17. Be sure to also predict winners for the Creative Arts ceremonies slated for September 8 and 9. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.
Source: Gold Derby
Rachel is featured on the September Fall Fashion issue of InStyle magazine. You can check out the photoshoot in the gallery and the accompanying article below.
At this year’s Golden Globes, Rachel Brosnahan did more than take home an award for her role as Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a 1950s Manhattan housewife-turned-aspiring stand-up comic, in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
Yes — overnight she actually became a household name. A household name people in households could actually pronounce.
“In the past they’ve said ‘Brushnananhan,’ ‘Brushnahan,’ ‘Branininin.’ Or, you know, just ‘Bleh,’ ” says the actress over a coffee in downtown Brooklyn, near her temporary home while she is filming Season 2 of the hit Amazon series (her Harlem apartment is being renovated). “So now strangers can say my last name. That’s probably the most improbable thing that’s happened since I won.”
Also that storied night, Jeff Bezos, the founder and chairman of Amazon and, basically, her boss, introduced the 27-year-old Brosnahan to the filmmaker Steven Spielberg.
“It was so surreal, the whole thing,” she recalls. “And Steven was Steven. He said, ‘My wife and I love the show. I’ve got to tell you, it’s the best Jewish musical since Fiddler on the Roof.’ ”
Though old chestnuts by Barbra Streisand and Peggy Lee play over the episodes’ end credits, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel isn’t quite a musical. “I’m not really a singer. Or a dancer,” she admits. But perhaps Steven Spielberg’s proclamation is true in the same way that Brosnahan suggests she’s not much like the fictional Midge offscreen either.
“I wish! I wish I were as sharp as she was,” says Brosnahan. “As she is,” she continues. “Well, was,” she finishes. Indeed, Brosnahan and Midge are both fast-talking dames who know how to deliver a punch line after a breathless and circuitous story.
On the aftereffect of the Golden Globes, Brosnahan adds, “The show won, and people went, ‘What the fuck is that?’ And they went and found it. And then, thankfully, they liked it and told their friends, and their teachers, and their children, and their rabbis, and, you know, here we are.”
Brosnahan may be breaking through in her career now, but she has been working steadily for a decade, since and even during her time as an acting student at NYU. She has appeared on series like Manhattan, about the mission to build the atomic bomb (filmed in Santa Fe, where Brosnahan still likes to escape to on a regular basis), and had a star turn on House of Cards (she was so liked on set there that she became a series regular, until her character was murdered in Season 3). She’s also had on- and off-Broadway stints opposite Bobby Cannavale and Daniel Craig.
A career in the entertainment business wasn’t necessarily predestined for this Chicago teenager, whose family was focused more on fashion and sports. Her aunt was the late handbag designer Kate Spade. (Following Spade’s recent death, Brosnahan described her aunt as “effervescent” in a heartfelt social media post: “She was exceedingly kind, beautifully sensitive, insanely talented, funny as heck, and one of the most generous people I have ever known.”) Her dad, Spade’s brother, was particularly athletic and encouraged his daughter to play lots of team sports.
“Wasn’t always great at the sports, but I played them,” Brosnahan says. That included skiing, snowboarding, basketball, and even high school wrestling, which she fell into because she failed to get cast in her freshman-year production of Beauty and the Beast.
“Didn’t make it. Devastated. Not even in the chorus. Not even a teacup,” she says. (She had better luck in later years with chorus parts in high school productions of Cats and The Scarlet Pimpernel.) “And then some buddies of mine were doing wrestling, and I thought, ‘I’ve always kind of wanted to do it.’ ”
Wrestling appealed to Brosnahan because she considered it a gender-neutral sport, grouped by weight class and individual skill set. That said, Brosnahan never wrestled another girl during her two years on the team. “I wrestled at 112 [pounds], so guys who are 112 are pretty stringy, you know?”
In a surprising turn of the screw, wrestling turned out to be like acting.
It involved a “physical kind of listening,” says Brosnahan. “It was so much about being present in the moment. Listening carefully and responding appropriately. Which, I think, has helped me in every single aspect of this art and this business. I will say that I’m very ambitious, and as I’ve gotten older, I’m not apologetic about it.”
Midge Maisel is ambitious too. “She’s trying to have it all,” says Brosnahan. “And sometimes those things complement each other, and sometimes they’re completely at odds with each other. In the second season we’ll explore the ripple effect of that as well.”
When filming, Brosnahan preps an hour and a half in hair, makeup, and wardrobe to make the period transformation. “I couldn’t imagine putting that amount of time into my appearance every single day,” she says. “But really her appearance is an armor, though I don’t think she’s hiding anything or protecting much.”
Offscreen, Brosnahan hopes she’ll “never feel that way. That’s very stressful.” But Midge’s style is starting to rub off on her. “I wear a little less black. I do live in New York, so only a little bit less, though,” she says. “Comfort is key.”
As for makeup, “the more I have to do it for work, the less I want to do it in my real life.” Just a touch of concealer and some sunscreen is all it takes. “This is what I look like, you know?” says Brosnahan, with a Maisel-like cock of the head. “And I feel the best like that.”
It took Brosnahan some time to recognize that Midge’s quest for perfection — constant calisthenics, impeccable hair and makeup even in the middle of the night, the consummate marriage — wasn’t necessarily a burden for her alter ego. “For Midge it’s empowering. It just brings joy to present herself a certain way. It makes her feel good to perform ‘mother’ and ‘housewife’ and ‘woman,’ but it was one of the harder things to wrap my head around.”
Still, one of the best parts of making the show, she says, is that it “feels so far out of my wheelhouse. Playing Midge is many things rolled into one, but it’s been really something.”
Source: InStyleMagazines > 2018 > September | InStyle Photoshoots & Portraits > 2018 > Session #015 | InStyle
From the time when Rachel Brosnahan first showed up on our screens as Midge, the 50’s housewife-turned-standup comedian in the Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, to when she won the Golden Globe in January for her breakthrough performance, the actress has seemed a natural for creator Amy Sherman-Palladino’s quick-fire one-liners. Which is why it’s a little surprising to hear just how terrified Brosnahan was of her turn to comedy after appearances in deadly serious dramas like House of Cards. Here, catch up with the Emmy nominee as she explains why she some of that Sasha Fierce courage whenever she has to go onstage on Mrs. Maisel, the second season of which is still in production.
Do you remember a time when you did not want to be an actress?
No. There was never a time when I didn’t want to be an actress, I don’t think. Maybe when I was an infant, but probably still then also.
Were you a theatrical child?
I was kind of a shy kid, actually. I read a lot. I had my face in a book all the time, but I had a big imagination.
What was the first job you auditioned for?
My first audition ever was for a voiceover for a rehab facility in central Illinois. I did [book it].
Was there an audition for the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel?
There was definitely an audition; there were a few of them. The first one was pretty standard. I came in for just a casting director in a small room not completely unlike this one that I’m in now, and read a couple of scenes. And then a couple weeks later, I went out to L.A. to read with/for Amy [Sherman-Palladino] and Dan [Palladino] and our L.A. casting director Jeanie Bacharach.
And did you dress the part a little bit?
A little bit. I tried not to. I can’t really do my own hair and makeup, so anything in that department was kind of a disaster. But for my first audition, I think I wore this little yellow shirt that I thought was adorable but then they asked me to change for my second audition. [Laughs.] So, it wasn’t as adorable as I thought.
How much do you think the costumes are apart of the character in Mrs. Maisel?
The costumes are a huge part. Midge’s outer appearance is something she takes an enormous amount of pride in, something that makes her feel good and gives her a purpose. It’s the first thing the world sees and it means a lot to her. The costumes are huge on our show and our costume designer Donna Zakowska is a freaking crazy genius lady and everything that falls out of her brain is more brilliant than the last thing. She just continues to outdo herself, and it’s become such an important part of the show, and of this woman.
Do you have to wear a girdle?
I have to wear a corset, but fun fact about the corset: I used to wear a corset that was called the Krakowski because it had originally been designed for Jane Krakowski. And this season, now we have the Brosnahan, which was designed in Paris when we went out to shoot there for a little bit. So I have my very own corset now. I’m in the big leagues. [Laughs.]
How does it feel? Has it changed your posture, your body?
Yeah, at first, when we first started shooting the first couple episodes of the first season, I felt like I couldn’t think about anything but the fact that I was in a corset. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t eat. And I got used to it over time, which is sort of disturbing but also great.
And then, this season, with the new one, it’s a little bit different than the former corset. I like it, it’s supportive and… I’m not wearing a corset to make me smaller. I’m wearing a corset to slightly change the shape of my waist to match the 1950’s. So, the clothes in the 50’s, the waist was a little bit lower than it was in the 40’s and my natural waist is kind of high, so that’s the reason I have a corset on. But I do find it changes the way I stand and sit and walk. And between the corset and the petticoats and the tights and these beautiful, beautiful costumes, and hair and makeup, I feel completely transformed when I walk out of the trailer. That’s my favorite part about being an actor—it always has been. And I’m so lucky to be on a show where I get to do that so completely every day.
Were you nervous about doing the comedy?
Was I nervous? [Laughs.] I’m still nervous every single day. Comedy is horrifying, it’s absolutely terrifying, it’s the worst thing I could possibly imagine anyone doing to themselves. And by the same token, it’s the most thrilling and most exhilarating and most bold and brave thing I could possibly imagine. I can’t claim to have ever really experienced what it’s like to do stand up, because real stand up, you’re out there as yourself and you’re pouring your soul out, or some part of your soul out, for a laugh. And on our show, I don’t have to be me, I’m playing a character.
But she’s pouring her soul out.
She is, yeah, but the lines are written for me. The brilliant jokes are written for me—but it’s still horrifying. It’s stage fright like I’ve never experienced, but one of the cool things about the show is that I get to grow along with Midge on this journey towards becoming a comedian.
I’ve learned a lot through the process, too, alongside her about somethings that Susie says to Midge about listening to an audience and responding with your audience and looking out at the crowd and really taking them in and the way that you carry yourself on stage—the way you walk, when you pause.and I’m learning a lot about the more technical side as we go on.
Do you think you’d ever go up and do stand up on your own?
Absolutely not. Nope. No, no, no, never. No, there are a whole host of things I’d rather do … No. [Laughs.]
But when you do it, do you feel you’re channeling something when you’re onstage doing the stand up scenes? Because they’re very interesting.
Really, I get to channel Midge but it feels like a little bit of a Sasha Fierce thing, you know? I do a lot of power posing in my dressing room in my corset and petticoats by myself, sort of trying to draw the confidence from somewhere. But yeah, it’s so cool, and I get to have so many scene partners in those scenes. Our background actors who are in the club with me, they’re extraordinary. They give everything to me while I’m up on stage and they are equally a part of those scenes either succeeding or falling flat and I’m eternally grateful for every new group of actors we have in those scenes.
So, growing up, what was your favorite TV show?
These answers are going to be very highbrow, but I really loved the Rugrats. I also really loved—there was this show on Noggin called Ghostwriter, and I loved it. It was about a bunch of kids my age solving mysteries. It was like a lot of the books I loved to read.
Did you have a favorite film?
[Laughs.] I really loved Austin Powers.
Your parents let you watch it? How old were you?
Too young, maybe. My dad really loved Austin Powers and… This is so silly, but I have such fond memories of watching Austin Powers with my whole family in the living room. My dad, because my brother and I were maybe a little on the young side, anytime they said bad words or something inappropriate, my dad would sort of go [clears throat] through the whole thing. He just loved it. Couldn’t get enough.
When did you tell your parents you wanted to be an actress?
Formally, probably when I was about 17. Right at that point where you’re in school and everybody starts talking about the SATs and the ACTs and where you want to go to college, and I think that was when I really realized I didn’t have any other interests, or any other viable job options.
Well, you were only 17.
That’s right, yeah. It’s so hard to know… It’s still so crazy to me that at 17 you’re supposed to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life. But I think I was pretty certain about it then, and here we are now. It’s working out okay. [Laughs.]
Who was your cinematic crush then or now?
Oh gosh, now I have so many. Colin Firth. I love Colin Firth. I’ve never seen Mamma Mia, but I loved him in Bridget Jones’s Diary, Pride and Prejudice. And I mean, Frances McDormand is my forever screen crush.
When you were little, who did you have a crush on?
Well, I had kind of obscure taste. Fred Durst. From Limp Bizkit. Yeah, yeah, I had a poster of him that I ripped out of J-14 above my bed. I dug him. [Laughs.]
So you were a bit of a head banger as well?
No, no. I just think I thought he looked cool.
You liked tattoos?
I still love tattoos. I loved tattoos then, I still love them now. I don’t have any, though. There’s still time.
What was the first album you ever bought?
I think the first album I ever bought … Was Samantha Mumba too late? When was Samantha Mumba? I really loved Samantha Mumba. I wish I could remember any of her songs now, but I can remember exactly what the cover of her album looked like. I think that probably was the first CD I bought with my own money. The cover of her album was orange. She had a great outfit on it, that’s all I remember. I remember holding that CD and I kept it with me for such a long time. It meant a lot, the first one you buy yourself with allowance or babysitting money.
I also had a lot of, you know, Backstreet Boys, Aaron Carter, 98 Degrees.
I was a Backstreet girl, no NSYNC. That felt like sacrilege. You can’t like them both.
What is your karaoke song?
Well, singing scares the f—ing living daylights out of me, so I don’t karaoke much. “I Will Always Love You” [by Whitney Houston] is really good and gets better the drunker you are. I love “Open Arms.” Journey’s always good. The Spice Girls. Oh, that was another album. I had all the Spice Girls albums. That’s a good karaoke song. Also gets better the drunker you get.
Following a first season in which it earned a Golden Globe for best musical or comedy TV series and 14 Emmy nominations, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is going “big” with its second season.
The producers and cast of the series took a break from filming the dramedy and gathered Saturday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Beverly Hills to discuss what’s in store when the drama returns for its sophomore outing.
For the uninitiated, the series is set in the late 1950s and revolves around Miriam “Midge” Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan), a Jewish housewife who embarks on the world of stand-up comedy after her marriage hits the skids. The series also stars Alex Borstein, as Midge’s comedy manager and mentor of sorts, and Michael Zegen, who plays Midge’s on-the-outs husband.
The series hails from “Gilmore Girls” mastermind Amy Sherman-Palladino, who also serves as an executive producer with husband Daniel Palladino.
While a premiere date has not yet been announced for the second season, here’s what we learned about what to expect:
Go big or go home
“Season 2 is big,” said Sherman-Palladino. “We feel like we’ve got, for the first time in our career, the support from the brass, the actors — we have all of the pieces to go big or go home.”
Sherman-Palladino also acknowledged the sophomore outing carries added pressure in the wake of the awards recognition and acclaim from its debut. But they’re also managing the built-in pressure.
“We have such an amazing group of actors, and when you have a group of actors of this caliber, that means the stories and the scripts and the dialogue have to be of a certain caliber or we’re doing a disservice,” she said. “So that is a self-imposed nausea that’s always there.”
Nothing good lasts forever
While Midge ended the first season on a triumphant note as she found her footing as a stand-up comedian, don’t expect it to be all fun and games. “Good things can’t last long,” Brosnahan said.
The series will explore how Midge and Joel navigate co-parenting as they figure out the parameters of their relationship.
“They will never be able to be without each other in some capacity, and [that] creates a dramatic tension,” Brosnahan said.
And Joel will grapple with seeing Midge succeed in a way he couldn’t.
“He’s kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place because on the one hand he loves Midge and he saw that she was really talented, but on the other hand, it’s a big blow to his ego that she’s really talented,” Zegen said.
Time doesn’t stand still
The series will have a “bit of reflection of the politics that are going on” in its 1950s setting through Midge.
“We are dramatizing a woman’s struggle at a time when she wasn’t supposed to have that voice or make those changes,” Sherman-Palladino said. “Women are still trying to break out of that box — hooray for no progress from the ’50s.”
Source: LA Times
Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino’s quirky Amazon comedy The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is usually summed up as that show about a spunky 1950s New York housewife (Rachel Brosnahan) who accidently discovers she’s a stand-up prodigy.
But Sherman-Palladino stresses that the series, the first season of which has received recognition from both the Golden Globes and the Emmys, is much deeper than that.
“We don’t consider this, really, a show about stand-up comedy,” Sherman-Palladino told journalists Saturday during the Television Critics Association’s biannual press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif. “[Dan and I] think about it as a show about a particular woman and her going from one life to another life. When her life explodes, it explodes everyone else’s around it. We’re so focused on that, that we’re not really trying to tell the entire world of stand-up comedy.”
As we prepare for the second season, Sherman-Palladino reminds us that “we’re dramatizing a woman’s struggle at a time when she wasn’t supposed to have that voice.” Here are some other takeaways from the panel:
The Season One finale seemed to show Midge on the up-and-up. Will that be true in the second season?
“Good things can’t last long,” Brosnahan teases.
What does this mean for Midge’s manager, Susie Myerson (Alex Borstein)?
“While it’s Salieri finding her Mozart, it’s also exploding her world,” Borstein says. “She’s changing and she’s so excited… She’s finally found the great love of her life in Midge—in a larger sense, not in a romantic sense.”
What’s in the future for Midge’s on-again/off-again husband, Joel (Michael Zegen)?
“He’s stuck between a rock and a hard place because, on the one hand, he saw that Midge was really talented, and on the other, it’s a blow to his ego that she is this talented,” Zegen says, teasing that this dynamic of Midge succeeding at something he’s always wanted will be explored further in the second season.
Brosnahan says we’ll also see the two deal with “their attempts to co-parent” their young children.
Palladino says he and Sherman-Palladino “always knew that the very last moment of the second season’s eighth episode was going to be Joel saying, ‘She’s good.’”
Are the creators feeling the pressure to avoid a sophomore slump after the first season was such a big success?
“There’s a lot of pressure anyhow, because we have such an amazing group of actors,” says Sherman-Palladino. “When you have a group of actors of this caliber, that means that the stories and the scripts have to be at a certain caliber. That’s a self-imposed nausea that’s always there. And then, basically, we just decided that we just kind of had to go for it.”
She adds that Season Two is “big” and “we feel like we’ve got, for the first time in our career… we feel like we have all the pieces to go big or… We don’t go home. I haven’t been home in two years.”
Maisel is about a housewife who lets out her frustrations on stage and suddenly realizes she’s an amazing stand-up. Is this to say that all housewives would be good at stand-up comedy?
“They’d have a lot of material,” Brosnahan deadpans.
“Stand-up comedy is its own very strange world of desperation and pain and anger… It’s a tough gig,” Sherman-Palladino says. “[But] there’s only one Midge.”
How did the Sherman-Palladinos land such glorious costume and production designers?
“We were very lucky, because HBO had unexpectedly cancelled Vinyl, so there were a lot of extraordinarily talented people wandering the streets of New York thinking, ‘I thought I had a job and now I don’t have a job,’” Sherman-Palladino jokes. She says they grabbed any and everyone who was wearing a Vinyl crew shirt and looked sad, such as production designer Bill Groom and costume designer Donna Zakowska.
Kevin Pollack, who plays Midge’s father-in-law, has been upped to a series regular. He’s also an accomplished stand-up. Does that mean he chimes in for accuracy?
“For the first time in a very long time, I get to shut up,” he says modestly. “Because the material really is so ridiculous each and every time.”
He says that his friends in the stand-up community tell him how great Brosnahan is in the role, and that they’re shocked she doesn’t do stand-up herself.
How do the writers achieve the accuracy of these characters and time period?
Sherman-Palladino says that she grew up in this world: Her dad was a comic, she used to work at West Hollywood, Calif.’s famous The Comedy Store, and she knew comedians like Sally Marr, Lenny Bruce’s mother. They also have an “extremely qualified researcher” to find out if certain words were part of the vernacular in 1958.
Will the show depict any of the diversity in New York and the stand-up scene that was happening in the late 1950s?
“It’s a tricky thing, because, as writers, you want the diversity because you want to express the world,” Sherman-Palladino says. “Doing a show in 1959, you find out how divided things were.”
She says they assumed there would have been racial diversity in the stand-up world then, but “we’re finding not so much.” She says it’s a struggle because “what you don’t want to do is pretend like these problems didn’t exist,” but “as writers, you want these voices.”
The show has gotten both good and bad attention for its portrayal of Jewish people. How do the Sherman-Palladinos feel about that?
Palladino says they’ve gotten “really excited” feedback from older Jews, particularly because they will show parts of that culture without over-explaining them.
“The family happens to be Jewish,” he says. “There are some inaccuracies, but when [viewers] call us out on them, they kind of do it out of love… They’re trying to help us, as opposed to trying to catch us doing something wrong.”
Source: Paste Magazine