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.
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.
Amy Sherman-Palladino addressed the timeliness of her period drama, and the “go big or go home” philosophy for what comes next.
That’s how creator Amy Sherman-Palladino responded to a question about The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s forthcoming season, the show’s second for Amazon. The “Jen” she was referring to is her new boss, the streamer’s head Jennifer Salke, and the apology is a reference to what is inevitably the giant budget that Sherman-Palladino’s vision required.
Without teasing much by way of future plot points, the famously tight-lipped creator told the roomful of media at the Television Critics Association’s summer press tour that season two will be “big.” The series’ star, Rachel Brosnahan, no doubt trained by her showrunner, held back as well. In fact, when pressed on what’s next for her character, she offered only this: “We left Midge in a pretty triumphant moment. She’s finally arrived into Mrs. Maisel, the stand-up comedian. I can’t say a whole lot about where she’s headed in season two, but good things can’t last long.”
That their show, despite its 1950s period setting, continues to feel timely in today’s #MeToo era was among the other subjects that the cast and crew were asked to address for the umpteenth time. Sherman-Palladino fielded the question, noting: “We are dramatizing a woman’s struggle at a time when she wasn’t supposed to have that voice or make those changes … so, hooray for no progress since the ’50s.”
At one point during the spirited Maisel panel, the Gilmore Girls and Bunheads creator was also asked about the pressure she may be feeling about having to follow up her critically adored, awards-drenched first season. Sherman-Palladino acknowledged that it was, indeed, great, and that it was exacerbated by a “self-imposed nausea that’s always there.” The latter, she added, comes from wanting to do right by the top-notch group of actors that had been assembled.
“It’s really a matter of the minute that we got into bed with the people we got into bed with, the pressure is always going to be higher and higher and eventually we’ll die,” Sherman-Palladino said to laughs. “So, we just decided that we had to go for it. We feel like we’ve got, for the first time in our career, the support from the brass, the actors, all of the pieces to go big or go home, and we don’t go home. We have not been home in two years. I don’t know where home is.”
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has already been renewed for a third season.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
The Hollywood Reporter has released the full Comedy Actress Roundtable interview featuring Rachel. You can watch it below.
Off Camera with Sam Jones has released two additional video clips from his interview with Rachel. Check them out below, and check out the full interview June 11, 2018 at 9PM ET/PT on the Audience Network, Directv.June 11 | Off Camera with Sam Jones
Rachel is featured in The Hollywood Reporter’s Comedy Actress Roundtable. You can watch her segment below, and you can also see her in Drew Barrymore’s segment here. The full Comedy Actress Roundtable airs on Sundance TV July 1.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
June 6 | The Hollywood Reporter Roundtable