From Netflix’s GLOW, Betty Gilpin talks about larger-than-life female wrestlers and making weird character faces. Then she plays a round of “Wrestling Name, Phish Song or Essie Nail Polish Color.”
Betty recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter. Check out the interview below!
“We should all be using 100 percent of that capacity — especially now,” the actress tells THR of ‘GLOW’s’ relevance in today’s climate.
[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the entire first season of Netflix’s GLOW.]
Before GLOW was released on Friday, the Netflix series about lady wrestling felt like a “glitter-covered secret” that Betty Gilpin was tasked with keeping.
Growing up, I was a self-loathing Igor who carried the queen’s books. My job was to be the sarcastic sherpa, quietly providing the farce and adoration then becoming part of the wall when cued. I don’t know when it was, but at some point I realized the obvious truth that I was a hideous goblin under a bridge, that the sound of my voice was like audible feces, and the presence of my body in a room was like bringing a moose carcass to brunch. I adopted the posture that Katie Holmes had as Joey in Dawson’s Creek: shoulders as high to one’s ears as possible, as if I could shrug my existence away. (To this day, I legitimately blame Dawson’s for my back problems.) I ate cucumbers and saltines—not because I wanted to look a certain way, but because I was so sad my appetite disappeared. It was the perfect costume; I was the smallest person in the room inside the smallest person in the room.
And then puberty was like, WA-BAM. Physically, I went from Justin Bieber to Jessica Rabbit. I gained 30 pounds of thigh, booty, and certified American jugs. And I quickly learned big boobs have the effect of announcing your presence in a room as if you’re cradling Gilbert Gottfried singing the opening to the “Circle of Life.” Pretty hard to disappear into the wall, which is what I’d taught myself to do before my tits grew to the size of pudding-filled manatee pups.
So in my 20s, I had to work doubly hard to disappear. The word “sorry” escaped my mouth a hundred times a day. I spent most of my time at parties trying to convince women that I hated myself, then had social hangovers about those conversations.
In Glow, the new 1980s-set Netflix series produced by Liz Flahive, Carly Mensch, and Jenji Kohan, Betty Gilpin plays Debbie, a soap actor who has relinquished her career to start a family. “We meet Debbie when she thinks that the movie of her life is coming to a close and the credits are rolling,” Gilpin explains. Soon after, however, Debbie makes a discovery at home that forces her to reassess her identity and her future. She agrees to join a new women’s wrestling show as Liberty Bell, its all-American star.
Raised by two New York actors, Gilpin spent much of her childhood watching her parents perform. “I grew up in a lot of stage managers’ booths, memorizing the lines,” she says. “I’m sure I was the most annoying child in existence.” While getting her B.A. from Fordham, she made her New York stage debut. Since then, she’s appeared Off-Broadway in venues like the Roundabout Theatre, the Manhattan Theatre Club, and the Signature Theatre, and in smart television dramas such as Nurse Jackie and Masters of Sex. Glow, which comes out tomorrow on Netflix, follows quickly on the heels of another exciting job for Gilpin: playing Audrey the Starz adaptation of Neil Gamain’s American Gods.
HOMEBASE: Brooklyn, New York. I just re-watched Ghost, and Whoopi Goldberg mentions she lives in a rough neighborhood. She’s like, “I live in Prospect Heights!” Times have changed.
INTRO TO ACTING: I grew up going to the theater with my parents. It was a different world for New York actors [then]; you did theater and Law & Order, and you went to L.A. for everything else. My parents mainly did theater, and that is their first love. They worked in a lot of Off-Broadway theaters in New York and regional theaters throughout the Northeast.
My parents were not keen on me joining the industry. The rule was I had to go to college first and graduate, and I couldn’t go to a conservatory. I could major in theater, but I had to go somewhere where I had to take science and math and history as well. I think they were hoping that I’d fall in love with something else while I was there. I did not. I definitely was stoned through all my math classes and took theater of the absurd very seriously. I started doing plays in New York while I was at Fordham, but I did graduate by the skin of my teeth.
Betty Gilpin Joins Rebel Wilson In New Line’s ‘Isn’t It Romantic’
EXCLUSIVE: Betty Gilpin, who co-stars in Netflix’s upcoming women’s wrestling dramedy GLOW, has been set to join the cast of Isn’t It Romantic, a New Line Cinema comedy toplined by Rebel Wilson. The pic, to be directed by Todd Strauss-Schulson, has a February 14, 2019 release date. Liam Hemsworth, Adam Devine and Priyanka Chopra are also already aboard.
Wilson stars as Natalie, a cynical woman who doesn’t believe in love, who wakes up one day to find herself trapped inside a romantic comedy. Gilpin will play Natalie’s assistant Whitney, one of her best friends. But in Natalie’s alternate universe Whitney is Natalie’s mortal enemy and becomes the assistant from hell.
Erin Cardillo wrote the original script, which Dana Fox and Katie Silberman are rewriting. Todd Garner, Grant Scharbo, Jeremy Stein and Gina Matthews are producing.
Gilpin, whose credits include Nurse Jackie and Masters Of Sex, recently was seen on Starz’s American Gods. GLOW, which stars Alison Brie and is created and executive produced by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, premieres on Netflix on June 23.
Gilpin is repped by ICM Partners and David Williams Management.
Nurse Jackie alumna Betty Gilpin is set to co-star opposite Alison Brie in G.L.O.W., Netflix’s 10-episode straight-to-series comedy executive produced by Orange Is The New Black creator Jenji Kohan.Created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch , G.L.O.W. was inspired by the real story of the 1980s female wrestling league. Set in Los Angeles and showcasing big hair and body slams, the series tells the fictionalized story of Ruth (Brie), an out-of-work, struggling actress who finds one last attempt to live her dreams when she’s thrust into the glitter and spandex world of women’s wrestling via a weekly series about female wrestlers. Gilpin will play Debbie Eagan, a former soap star who left show business to have a baby, only to be sucked back in when her picture-perfect life is not what it seems.
Kohan and Tara Herrmann executive produce, with Flahive and Mensch serving as showrunners.
The Reagan-era female wrestling league G.L.O.W. (Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling), a female answer to the male-dominated World Wrestling Federation, was showcased in the eponymous kitschy, Las Vegas-based syndicated TV series, which ran for four seasons, featuring sketches, songs and wrestling.
Gilpin recently did arcs on Showtime’s Masters Of Sex, CBS’ Elementary, PBS’ Mercy Street and the upcoming American Gods on Starz. She is repped by ICM Partners and David Williams Management.
Showtime’s historical drama about the duo who pioneered research into human sexual responses has a pair of new faces for Season 4 arcs. Niecy Nash will play an Alcoholics Anonymous veteran and Betty Gilpin is joining the practice of William Masters (Michael Sheen).
The next season of Masters Of Sex, which also stars Lizzy Caplan, will begin in 1968 and take viewers into the “swinging ’70s,” during which time the characters will take on new partners both professionally, personally and sexually. Nash will play Louise Bell, a local AA chairperson running Masters’ court-ordered daily meetings. She fervently believes in AA’s message, and uses it to push Masters to reevaluate his life. Gilpin will play Nancy, a former medical student of Barton’s (Beau Bridges) who partners with Masters, adding a second MD to the practice.
Production on Season 4 is underway in Los Angeles for a September 11 premiere. Caitlin FitzGerald and Annaleigh Ashford also star. The series from Sony TV is executive produced by Michelle Ashford, Sarah Timberman, Carl Beverly, Amy Lippman and Judith Verno.