Interview: The Marvelous Mrs Maisel stars Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein

Updated: Dec 27, 2018, 14:53 IST | Letty Mariam Abraham | Mumbai

The Marvelous Mrs Maisel stars, Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein, on toplining one of the most loved shows of today

Alex Borstein and Rachel Brosnahan in The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
Alex Borstein and Rachel Brosnahan in The Marvelous Mrs Maisel

In the two years since its inception, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel has swept the Emmys, dominated pop culture and most importantly, given us two feminist icons in Midge Maisel and Susie Myerson. As the series is sanctioned for a third season on Amazon Prime Video, we catch up with leads Rachel Brosnahan and Alex Borstein for a tete-a-tete.

Edited excerpts from the chat.

Can you take us through your audition for the show?
Rachel Brosnahan: I first auditioned for the casting director; who later told me that Amy [Sherman-Palladino, writer] and Dan [Daniel Palladino] wanted to meet me in Los Angeles. During my meeting with them, I did three big scenes - the opening wedding monologue, the break-up with Joel [on-screen husband] and the final stand-up sequence. A few weeks later, I was told that I got the gig.

Alex Borstein: I flew in, and we did a reading together to gauge our chemistry. Luckily, the connection happened immediately. We fit like puzzle pieces, on and off screen.

Did you visit open mics as prep for your character?
Brosnahan: I attended them to watch other comics perform, and absorb their skills. I studied how new comics responded to unexpected success and failures [of their gigs]. It was interesting to see what happened between the lines.

Had you anticipated this positive a response to the show?
Brosnahan: It's weird that a Jewish family from New York has affected people so much. To hear that from strangers from all over the world is an indescribable feeling. Everyone has something specific they connected with.
Borstein: I live in Spain, and people are discovering the show there. The universal theme [of feminism] connects with everyone.

The '50s setting also adds to the appeal.
Borstein: I love the look - the old cars, the representation of the cultural [Jewish] food, the absence of cell phones. The smallness of the town is represented beautifully where Mrs Maisel even knows the name of the butcher she goes to. [On the downside] It certainly wasn't a good time for the minorities, women and their uncomfortable underwear.

Rachel, Alex became the talking point of the Emmys this year when she undid a layer of her clothing before heading to the stage, and also announced in her acceptance speech that she "went without the bra". What was your reaction?
Brosnahan: I was immortalised in few photographs that Amazon tweeted. I laughed and cried. I was amazed, proud, embarrassed and mortified (laughs). I mean, who doesn't want Alex to take her clothes off?

Finally, what is your one take-away from the show?
Brosnahan: That it is never too late to try something new.
Borstein: The biggest thing I take back is that if you ever have to deliver good or bad news, always do it over a meal.

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