Rachel Brosnahan on ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Season 4 & How Ali Wong Inspired Midge

Rachel Brosnahan
Photo: Image: Courtesy of Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Cetaphil. Adobe. Design: Cierra Miller/STYLECASTER.

To fans, Rachel Brosnahan is synonymous to her role as Midge on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, but she promises that she and her character couldn’t be further apart. “We’re different in almost every way,” Brosnahan tells StyleCaster. 

Brosnahan—who has starred as Miriam “Midge” Maisel on the Emmy-winning Amazon series since 2017—does see some similarities between her and her character, however. “We’re similar in the way that, when we’re passionate about something—whether it’s an amazing hat or a skin care routine or trying to figure out how to make positive change in the world around us—neither of us knows how to do anything less than 150 percent,” she says. “When we’re in, we’re all the way in.”

But that’s about it when it comes to similarities between Brosnahan and Midge. The two are even different when it comes to their skin care routines. Brosnahan—who is the face of Cetaphil, a brand she credits for clearing her acne when she was 16—is a “less is more kind of gal” whereas Midge is the complete opposite. 

“I think Midge’s skin care routine is many, many more steps than my own. Midge is a more is more kind of gal and I’m a less is more kind of gal,” says Brosnahan, whose favorite Cetaphil products are the cult-favorite Gentle Skin Cleanser and the newly launched Healthy Glow Daily Face Cream. “I think Midge would have the entire line. She would have every single Cetaphil product that ever existed. If there are multiple cleansers, she’ll double cleanse. If there’s more than one eye cream, she’ll layer them. Anything and everything on the face.”

Rachel Brosnahan

Image: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for Cetaphil.

Ahead, StyleCaster talked to Brosnahan about The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 4, how Ali Wong inspired her performance as Midge and why she’s Team Midge over Team Benjamin or Joel. 

On filming The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel season 4 amid a pandemic

“We are slowly and safely getting back to it. I’m hearing some of our sets are being built, and I’ve had my very first of what will be many costume fittings. As soon as it’s safe for us to go back, we’ll go back. We’re a pretty big show, with a pretty big crew. We’re family, so we want to take care of each other.”

On her hopes for Midge in season 4

“I hope that Midge continues to grow and change. Her progress has been realistically, but sometimes frustratingly slow. She’s lived in a bubble for a long time. She’s an extremely privileged woman, who is becoming very slowly aware of how privileged her world view has been. Her getting introduced to all these other characters, I think she’s being humbled. She’s learning a lot about a less rose-colored world than the one she had envisioned, so I’m excited to see how she keeps being challenged in season 4.”

On the inspiration for Midge’s accent

“The person whose accent I originally began studying was a native New Yorker. She lives in Brooklyn. Honestly, her accent was maybe too thick that I tried to make sure I could tone it down. But it’s completely real. There’s a very funny vocal warm-up for Brooklyn accents: ‘I told my daughter not to feed the dog the coffee. What did she do? She feeds the dog the coffee. Now I got a dead dog, a dumb daughter and no coffee. And the Yankees lost the ball game.’ It’s a vocal warmup to help you find those sounds. Hers is pretty close to that. It’s evolved a little bit as the show has gone on too and as I’ve sunk into what Midge’s organic voice is. It’s funny. It’s never felt like I’m putting on an accent. It’s something that kind of evolved naturally.”

"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"

Image: Nicole Rivelli / Amazon / courtesy Everett Collection

On her dream guest stars for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

“Ali Wong is someone whose standup I’ve studied a lot in preparing for this role. I felt like the quality of standup that Ali does feels very in line with Midge. She also talks about motherhood and family. I watched Baby Cobra a number of times. I would love, love to have Ali Wong on the show, as someone who’s a huge fan, but also for those worlds to collide. I’m also a huge fan of Sarah Silverman. Would love to have her on the show in any capacity at all. I would definitely leave it in Amy and Dan’s hands [for their characters.] No one would come up with a more brilliant placement for them than those two. But I would love to see Sarah as a competing female comic, someone who’s also moving through that scene along Midge. I say this, but I’m terrified if it was set in the universe.”

On why she’s Team Midge and not Team Benjamin or Joel

“Benjamin feels like—I’m going to get eaten alive for saying this—a regression for her to me. Benjamin is the perfect man on paper that Midge would have looked for in a previous life. I don’t think that’s enough for her now. I think she and Joel are soul mates, but I don’t think they should be together. I think they will never again be able to be on the same page at the same time. They’re having individual journeys that will always be intertwined because they share children, but I’m Team Midge. I’m happy to see Midge go it alone for a minute and figure out who she is. She knew exactly who she was before, and then everything blew up. I think she’s still figuring out who she is now and who she wants to be.”

"The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"

Image: Nicole Rivelli / Amazon / courtesy Everett Collection

On if she thinks Midge can have love and success

“Maybe. But I think she doesn’t think it’s possible. That was really what the ending of season 2 was about, her coming to a realization after hearing Lenny Bruce do that famous ‘All Alone’ set that that was the life she was signing up for. That you would have to make sacrifices, and for her, in this moment, I think that sacrifice is that she’s going to be alone forever, but she’s going to be wildly successful. She’s resigning to that idea. I don’t know if I agree, but definitely, she’s firmly in that headspace at this moment.”

On what she’s learned from Midge

“I’ve learned to be more fearless. I don’t know if I would’ve considered myself someone who was perpetually afraid in my real life. But as it relates to  work, I’m perpetually afraid. Always have been. For a long time, I felt like I was motivated by fear. While in some ways, that was helpful, in some ways, that’s not super healthy. I’ve definitely learned to trust my instincts more and to be bolder in my work, as well as in my real life.”

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