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Amy Sherman-Palladino is relatively new to filming in New York. The veteran writer-director-producer and self-proclaimed “L.A. baby” filmed the first season of her Amazon series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, in New York after, as she put it, spending her “whole life in Burbank walking a circle around the backlot.”
But the show, about an Upper West Side housewife in the ‘50s who ventures into stand-up comedy, has already won two Golden Globes and two Critics’ Choice Awards, for the series and star Rachel Brosnahan. And tonight, Sherman-Palladino and her Mrs. Maisel production team are up for a Producers Guild award for episodic television, comedy.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter at a reception for the Producers Guild Award nominees in New York earlier this week, Sherman-Palladino said a PGA win would be a “vindication” of an “unbelievable producing team” on a show that’s “a lot of work.”
“This show — more than anything I’ve ever done in my career — is truly a produced by show. We’re shooting in New York and turning New York into 1958 New York. There are so many ins and outs and so many things to juggle and locations and this and that,” she said. “This is a hard show. It’s not just recreating 1958 in terms of the costumes, which are phenomenal, or the sets, which are phenomenal, but we have special effects and we’re shutting down giant streets in Manhattan. It’s a big production. It’s like shooting a movie every week, and we did eight of them last year we’re doing 10 of them this year. It’s a Herculean effort by a lot of amazing people.”
Going into the second season of Mrs. Maisel, Sherman-Palladino said that the acclaim the first season received hasn’t made her team particularly nervous about living up to that.
“We’re all angsty, pressure-y people anyhow,” she said. “I mean I’ve been nauseated for 40 years so I’m not going to stop being nauseated now.”
Instead, she says, the recognition validates the chance Amazon took on the show and, she jokes, helped her team get what they needed for the next set of episodes.
“It gives us a leg to stand on in getting our season two budget approved,” she said, laughing. “It’s sort of like, ‘Hey they liked season one, give us the money for season two.’ It’s a wonderful vindication. Amazon took a big risk on this show: It was not necessarily in their wheelhouse; it was a newer production; it’s a period show; it came with a very high price tag, and I think [the recognition for season one] says to them that their faith and their trust was put in a good direction and that’s always good. I think that just means that we can continue doing the vision of what we want to do.”
Master of None producer and nominee, Igor Srubshchik, was also at the PGA reception, where he talked about the challenges of making the second season of the Netflix series, which included filming two episodes in Italy and a storyline in another episode with deaf characters.
“A lot goes into producing our show,” he said. “There’s a lot of oddball episodes that we do, and it’s a lot of fun producing it because very often we’ll run into things that none of us have ever done before, so I feel like producing-wise, it’s a really interesting show to do. By no means is it a common formula. Every day we have to improvise.”
As for a third season of the show, which star and co-creator Aziz Ansari has said he’s not yet ready to do, Srubshchik said the crew is just waiting for him.
“Whenever he decides to do it, we’re ready,” he said. “It’s kind of great because it keeps the quality up. Whenever he’s ready, we know it’s going to be a quality product.”
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