TV is ahead of the curve with embracing new voices ... but we still have a long way to go
House Of Cards’ Rachel Brosnahan, 27, won a host of gongs for playing the title role, Midge, in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, about a 1950s housewife who becomes a stand-up comic. She tells GEORGIA HUMPHREYS about what to expect in season two
You won a Golden Globe, Primetime Emmy and Critics’ Choice Television award for your role in season one of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. How do you feel following the success?
WE WERE just not expecting that!
I thought for some reason that my category (at the Emmys) was after I presented, so I was very calm until they started doing my category, and I was like, ‘What the...?!’
It was totally overwhelming in the most wonderful way.
Are you surprised at how warmly the show was received?
ABSOLUTELY. We live in an age of peak television. There is so much good content out there, there are so many shows out there that I love.
I imagine that anyone has to be pleasantly surprised when something breaks through.
How would you describe your character, Midge? She feels very relatable...
MIDGE is a woman who lives with joy, who lives with an innate sense of curiosity about the world and a desire to continue to improve herself within it.
The show is also about her reinventing herself after she already thought she knew exactly who she was.
She hasn’t changed at the core but is finding out how to use her voice in a whole new way – that’s something that feels particularly true of this time.
The premiere of the new series is on location. What was that like to film?
WE STARTED the season in Paris, which was very strange because New York is so central to the show. It was brilliant, we spent three weeks there.
I can’t really say what we were doing there or who was there exactly. But it was great, and I can’t wait for people to see that.
What about the experience of shooting on the streets of New York City?
IT’S so exciting... I can’t believe that people let us do this. New Yorkers are not thrilled about it sometimes. You can tell from watching our show that Amy’s (writer Amy ShermanPalladino) vision is enormous. She loves big single shots, walk and talks, moving through
What do you think makes Amy such a special writer?
SHE’S so smart. She so sharp. She’s a real cinephile; Amy loves movies, she loves storytelling and she’s well-studied.Part of what makes her writing so brilliant is that everything is on the page. You can picture the world so clearly from reading her writing, and then she brings it to life so clearly with her directing.
Would you say there are more opportunities for female writers in TV now?
TV IS ahead of the curve, in terms of embracing new voices and taking risks.
But we have a very long way to go... to make the kinds of stories we see in the media reflect the world we actually live in. So many stories have yet to be told.
What about in Hollywood – are things improving for female writers there?
IN THE context of how lasting change is made, this moment is still young. I think it will be a minute before we start to see change activated.
In looking for female directors to work on The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, we all came up with a lot of lists of amazing female directors, many of whom were booked out for the next year, which is amazing because they are working.
But there’s a big gap between young women who are graduating from film school, wanting to direct or write or produce, and the ones who are actually able to cross that bridge.
What we really have to figure out is how can we lift up these new and emerging voices, and give them the experience they need to be able to keep working on all different kinds of stories in the industry.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is available on Amazon Prime Video now.
Rachel Brosnahan on the red carpet
Rachel as Midge in season two of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime Video now
Rachel found TV fame in House Of Cards