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“My life changed when Rachel Brosnahan walked into it. I will never be the same.”
That’s how The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel creator Amy Sherman-Palladino closed a farewell letter distributed on Tuesday in advance of the upcoming launch of the fifth and final season of her Emmy Award-winning Prime Video series on April 14. Later that day, Sherman-Palladino joined Maisel collaborator and husband, Daniel Palladino, and castmembers for a special PaleyFest event at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre. Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter on the red carpet, Sherman-Palladino took a minute to remember that moment.
“We were reading so many people and then Jeanie Bacharach, who helped cast the pilot, said there was a girl who had nothing on her résumé that would lead you to believe she could do this — she had done no comedy whatsoever,” Sherman-Palladino explained. “But Jeanie said, ‘I just feel it in my guts that Rachel Brosnahan can do this.’ We looked at her résumé — we knew her from House of Cards as the girl they tied up and threw in a ditch — and asked, ‘That’s the girl? Like, she’s going to be hilarious?’ They said, ‘Yes, just trust us.’ So, we did, and Rachel came in. She was the first girl who took that microphone and leaned into it. I immediately said, ‘That’s the girl. Wow. That’s the girl.’ She walked in and walked out and that was it.”
With that, Brosnahan landed the role as Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a woman who discovers a talent and passion for stand-up after her husband leaves her and their children. Brosnahan’s life changed, too, and she’ll never be the same after having had the opportunity to play Midge over these five seasons, a role that has brought her critical acclaim and nearly every piece of hardware Hollywood has to offer, from an Emmy to multiple SAG and Golden Globe awards.
Brosnahan was present on Tuesday night as she joined the Palladinos and castmates Alex Borstein, Tony Shalhoub, Caroline Aaron and Michael Zegen for the panel that was moderated by THR contributing editor Stacey Wilson Hunt. The actress made it nearly to the end of the press line but it wasn’t until she shared a few minutes with THR that she broke down in tears trying to explain what Maisel means to her.
“It’s changed my life,” she confirmed as her eyes welled up. “It’s changed me in ways that I’ll probably be discovering for a really long time. I have gained a second, a third and a fourth family from this experience. I’ve been taken care of, uplifted and loved throughout this process in ways I never could have imagined you could experience at work. I’ve learned to trust myself in ways that I didn’t heading into this show. I’ve learned to be braver in the pursuit of something scary. I have grown up on this show.”
She’s also become a producer. Brosnahan launched Scrap Paper Pictures, a company that has a deal with Amazon and has thus far delivered the feature I’m Your Woman and is developing Lois & Varga, a limited series for the streamer based on a short story by Lisa Taddeo with Brosnahan on board to produce and star. She credits the Palladinos for giving her a “front row seat to watch some of the greatest producers in the business” for five seasons.
“They are people who uplifted their cast and crews, and cared about them as people as well as performers,” she continued. “They are producers who raised the bar for themselves, and for everyone, year upon year. I gained a whole new appreciation for how the sausage is made by virtue of being close to them but also because they invited me into that process with a front row seat.”
While Maisel has reached the end of the road of a five season journey across eight years, the Palladinos said they hope to hop back in the car very soon with Brosnahan and company. “We would like to work with any of these people, either in a Maisel thing or a non-Maisel thing because they’re just so great,” Palladino concluded, leaving the door open for future projects. “They’re so diverse in their talents, and my sense is that we’re going to be working with them a lot over the next eight years — then then we’ll expire again in another eight years.”
Sherman-Palladino was more blunt. “I hate that this is ending. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it. It’s horrible and awful,” she said. “Because I love these people so much and seeing them tonight, I just want to grab them a lot — unnecessarily and for random reasons.”
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