Glow with the flow

How the wrestling com­edy Glow helped Ali­son Brie and Betty Gilpin push against type.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Tv - By YVONNE VILLARREAL

ALI­SON Brie and Betty Gilpin, the stars of Net­flix’s wrestling com­edy Glow are en­joy­ing a bada** af­ter­glow.

It’s mid-De­cem­ber and the duo, wear­ing me­tal­lic leo­tards and bal­anc­ing some heav­ily teased hair atop their heads, are tak­ing a breather from shoot­ing an episode of the se­ries at the Hol­ly­wood Pal­la­dium. There’s been shoul­der strad­dling, body slam­ming and el­bows to the face.

“I don’t think we even could have to­tally imag­ined the stuff we would be do­ing,” Gilpin says. “I don’t think we were ever daunted, mostly ex­cited.”

Brie chimes in: “We have such a re­spect for wrestling now; I will de­fend it to the death. I was watch­ing some WWE Raw last night just to get pumped for film­ing to­day.”

In Glow, the duo star as two job­less ac­tresses, Ruth Wilder (Brie) and Deb­bie Ea­gen (Gilpin), who find their next gig with the Gor­geous Ladies of Wrestling (Glow).

So, your agents say, “There’s this show ... about fe­male wrestlers ...” What’s your im­me­di­ate re­ac­tion?

Brie: When my agents first called me about it, it was the most vague thing. They said, “Jenji Ko­han’s do­ing a new show, it’s about women’s wrestling. It’s about this real show.”

And im­me­di­ately, I pulled some stuff on­line and watched some stuff about Glow. I knew noth­ing about it, and prior to the show knew noth­ing about the world of wrestling. It had never been a ma­jor in­ter­est of mine, but for some rea­son it sounded im­me­di­ately like the most ex­cit­ing thing I’ve ever heard.

I just thought, “Why hasn’t some­one done a show about this be­fore?” And yet, be­cause it’s so tricky, if not done the right way, you can see it go­ing re­ally badly.

The open­ing scene to the se­ries is an au­di­tion scene with Ruth, where she boldly and con­fi­dently reads the male part be­cause it’s far more in­ter­est­ing than the re­cep­tion­ist part. Have you been there? Could you re­late to that fight for a part?

Brie: Oh, 100%. I’ve never felt more like Ruth than I did au­di­tion­ing for this show. It re­ally made me fight for this role. I felt so con­fi­dent and had my thing thought out and as soon as I got in the car af­ter­wards, I would sob and be like, “I don’t know, I feel so inse­cure in the room, it was so cold.”

Gilpin: Which is so meta. A show that’s a com­men­tary on how ridicu­lous that process is ...

How would you de­scribe the train­ing process?

Brie: We did our wrestling train­ing with Chavo Guer­rero Jr, who’s in­cred­i­ble, and also Shauna Dog­gins, our stunt co­or­di­na­tor and He­len Everett, our stunt woman, who dou­bles as me on the show. Most of that train­ing started out fo­cus­ing on safety. It was a lot like, “You are not pro-wrestlers, let’s fig­ure out the safest way to do this.”

And to get to do it with all the women on the show, I think that re­ally bonded us in a re­ally cool way. I watched a lot of videos, but I ended up mostly watch­ing old episodes of

Glow. Be­cause the type of wrestling that was done on the orig­i­nal Glow is very dif­fer­ent from the type of wrestling, women’s wrestling that is be­ing done now. They’re so ac­ro­batic now.

Gilpin: I was watch­ing that show to­day, To­tal Di­vas. The stuff they do is in­sane. We can’t do that.

Brie: Sim­i­larly to how our show was made, the women that were­cas­ton Glow were­out-of­work mod­els and women trained to be wrestlers. I wanted to get into that mind-set of the kind of raw­ness and the in­ex­pe­ri­ence that was there ver­sus the su­per pol­ished pro-wrestling that’s be­ing done to­day. Gilpin: The last sport I played was lit­tle league. So there were so many firsts for me that so many peo­ple have in high school – the feel­ing of fail­ing at some­thing in front of a bunch of peo­ple or suc­ceed­ing in front of a bunch of peo­ple and the rush your en­tire body gets. And also the feel­ing of hav­ing crowds cheer and boo ... Brie: There is noth­ing fake about what peo­ple are do­ing when they’re wrestling. You learn to do things in a safe way so you don’t break your neck. But you’re still hit­mat. ting the

I will say that af­ter our train­ing, it was ex­cit­ing to watch con­tem­po­rary wrestling matches and see all the un­spo­ken com­mu­ni­ca­tion. To know how peo­ple are work­ing to­gether. How did the wrestling in­form your act­ing? Gilpin: To me, wrestling is such a crazy phys­i­cal metaphor for what it means to be Deb­bie, for what it means to be a woman. Us­ing your power to take care of some­one, in the most pow­er­ful pos­si­ble way.

You feel like your body is swim­ming. Some­times you’re in charge, some­times the other per­son is in charge. It’s the most beau­ti­ful fem­i­nist dance that you can do. And then you’re fly­ing through the air and land­ing on your back.

It’s also nice to not feel like “the girl.” Be­cause usu­ally there’s a bunch of guys and a girl.

And to not only have a bunch of women in the show, but to be phys­i­cally close, to­gether in a pri­mal way and for it to be so non­sex­u­alised is just so great.

Brie: Yeah, there are some ro­man­tic story lines on the show, but that’s not the fea­tured thing. And for ac­tresses, so of­ten you’re only the love in­ter­est.

So, even if you’re the lead of some­thing, your whole story line is about get­ting the guy, or keep­ing the guy. It was so fun to do a show, where in the first sea­son, the ma­jor “will they, won’t they” is be­tween Ruth and Deb­bie.

Did you watch the doc­u­men­tary Glow: The Story Of The Gor­geous Ladies Of

Wrestling and what did you pull from that, in terms of what drove these women?

Brie: It was so fun to watch, just to see the ins and outs of how wild it was that when they got cast, be­cause you know, a lot of our show is fic­tion­alised, but the root of, like these women be­ing cast on a show and lit­er­ally hav­ing no wrestling ex­pe­ri­ence, is wild.

Some of those women re­ally were su­per into wrestling, some con­tin­ued wrestling af­ter Glow.

And oth­ers were like, “I don’t know. It seemed like a fun idea, I wasn’t do­ing any­thing else at the time.” – Los An­ge­les Times/ Tri­bune News Ser­vice

.— Reuters

Brie plays outof-job ac­tress Ruth Wilder in Glow

— Reuters

Prior to Glow, Gilpin starred in Nurse Jackie.

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