How Rachel Brosnahan Created ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ – The Hollywood Reporter


If it wasn’t for Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel may never have come to life.

During the show’s FYC panel at New York’s Steiner Studios on Thursday, moderator Danny Strong revealed he remembered having a conversation with creators Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino before filming began on the fact that they had not yet found their star. The Palladinos told Strong that if they couldn’t find the right person for the role of Mariam “Midge” Maisel, they wouldn’t do the show.

They finally found the right person in Rachel Brosnahan.

“The thing about Rachel is she’s one of the most gifted actresses, if maybe the most gifted, I’ve ever had the chance to really work with that up close, and she can live n anything,” Sherman-Palladino said during the panel. “There’s nothing she can’t do. This is just the end result.

One of the things about Brosnahan’s audition that stood out the most to the show’s creators was that she was the only person who knew that as a stand-up comedian you have to lean into the microphone.

“If you don’t have the balls to do this, you have to walk off stage,” Sherman-Palladino continued. “The minute she did that, we were like, ‘We’re sold’ because it didn’t matter what happened after that. All we knew was that she had the balls. She had the tenacity. She got the gist of comedy, which is that you’re alone up there. It’s awful. If the audience turns to you as a stand-up, they lights up you.”

During the panel, the Palladinos also revealed that Gilmore Girls Fan-favorite Milo Ventimiglia, who made a brief but important appearance in season four, may return for more in The Marvelous Mrs. Maiselthe fifth and final season of, which is currently in production. Ventimiglia played a man Midge met in Central Park, who she chatted with several times before finally returning to his house and having sex, only to find he was married.

“He might be back,” Palladino teased. “And it’s going to be another kind of crazy big streak for him and one of the people here,” jokes, “Tony Shaloub.”

Palladino added that Ventimiglia’s role in the season must have some significance, it couldn’t just be a tip of the hat, and so they settled on Ventimiglia’s “Handsome Man.”

Sherman-Palladino touched on another important man in Midge’s life, her ex-husband, Joel (Michael Zegen), explaining that the way she sees it, Zegen has the toughest role on the show.

“When you’re the person who shot Bambi’s mother in the pilot, and you have four years to gain an audience when you start from that position, it’s extremely difficult to do and only an incredibly talented actor will be able to. to do this, and it’s just the honest truth from God,” she said. “Michael Zegen is my fucking secret weapon.”

She went on to say that Zegen transformed Joel’s character from an immature man to someone who is constantly working to improve himself and prove himself to those around him. Even though people may argue that a good actor is the result of a good script, Sherman-Palladino argues the opposite.

“You can say it’s good writing or whatever,” she said, “but you can put any word on the page, and if somebody doesn’t show up and n don’t humanize it and make it something deep and rich, it’s just fucking words.”

During the panel, there was a running joke between the cast and the show’s creators that the Palladinos never give the stars the scripts well in advance, so they don’t know the general arcs of their characters or what awaits them. .

Brosnahan called not knowing about her character’s future a “fall in confidence”, explaining that she and the actors think it helped them a lot to grow as actors.

“I had the opportunity to grow on this show and with this person and do something that I never saw coming in 1,000 years,” Brosnahan said. “It’s a dream I didn’t know I had.”

To be cast like Midge in Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was a big deal for Brosnahan, as well as the Palladinos. She had been trying to break into acting for a while and was continually told that she wasn’t funny and that she should consider auditioning for more serious roles.

“Literally, the day I found out I was going to be their Midge, [I] lost a role that morning because I wasn’t funny enough,” she said. “It’s been perpetually terrifying in the most incredible way I wish everyone in this room. I wish you all the experience of being scared because of something you love every day.

Before the panel, guests were treated to a burlesque show at Wolford, the club where Midge spends most of her time in season four as a host, and a screening of the season premiere episode. The FYC event took place inside the sound stage where the series films, with sets from Susie’s (Alex Bornstein) office, dressing rooms from The Wolford and more. Small buckets of popcorn, bowls of sour candies and funnel cakes on an umbrella were handed out during the event.

On the red carpet before the screening, the cast all agreed on one thing: they’re going to miss each other a lot when the show finally ends.

Marin Hinkle, who plays Midge’s mother Rose, said the cast and crew have become her family.

“I’m madly in love with this cast,” she said The Hollywood Reporter. “I had one child in my life, I wanted to have offspring, and now I have a bigger family. That’s all I dreamed of. I have a daughter and Will [Brill] plays my son, so I actually have additional children.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel hasn’t just been a personal journey for Hinkle; Bornstein said there was one scene in season four that particularly touched her: her dear friend’s funeral, where she gives an impassioned and moving speech about the role he played in her life.

“We had lost a cast member, but I had also lost a very dear friend,” Bornstein said. “When Amy wrote that piece, she knew I had lost that friend, and really she weaves a lot of Brian [Tarantina] and a lot of that friend I lost. She choked up a bit, then continued, “It was very difficult, but I felt stronger after having to try to do this.”

As for Stephanie Hsu, who plays Joel’s girlfriend Mei, Maisel showed her that she could be part of a period piece, something she never thought possible.

“It took me out of my own fears of others stereotyping me in some way,” Hsu said. THR. “It gave me the opportunity to break a mold that I didn’t even know existed, so much so that every time another project comes to me and I’m like, ‘Oh, well, they would never have someone like me. play that role,” I immediately stopped and just said, “That’s not true. ”


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