'Smash' First Look: Uma Thurman Steps in as Marilyn Monroe (Exclusive Photos)

Executive producers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman tell THR how they prepared the actress for her five-episode arc.
"Smash's" Uma Thurman

This story first appeared in the April 20 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

NBC’s Smash scored a bit of a coup by convincing Uma Thurman to take on her first five-episode TV arc as a Hollywood starlet recruited to play Marilyn Monroe in the Broadway musical at the center of the series.

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But even though executive producers Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman penned a song, "Dig Deep," specifically for the actress (who was pregnant during production), "she had a bit of a shock between movies and television," Wittman says.
STORY: Uma Thurman Lands Five-Episode Arc on NBC's 'Smash'

So the Tony-winning duo worked extensively with Thurman at their home studio so she could master the song in just two days. "She came back and sang it with the knowledge that she really could," Shaiman notes. Thurman and the EPs also studied Monroe's Madison Square Garden performance of "Happy Birthday, Mr. President," which she'll perform on Smash.

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Check out Thurman as Rebecca Duvall as Monroe in photos exclusive to The Hollywood Reporter, including from the actress' "Dig Deep" performance, which the EPs note was done as a tribute to "My Heart Belongs to Daddy" -- a Cole Porter song Monroe performed in 1960's Let's Make Love.

What do you think of Thurman as Marilyn? How do you think this will impact Karen (Katharine McPhee) and Ivy (Megan Hilty)? Smash airs Mondays at 10 p.m. on NBC.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit