Maura Tierney on Working with Tom Hanks and Relating to Her Character in Broadway’s ‘Lucky Guy’

maura-tierneyThough it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say Lucky Guy is the Tom Hanks show — after all, Hanks, one of the most popular film actors of the last three decades, is making his Broadway debut in the Nora Ephron play —  the Forrest Gump star isn’t doing a one-man show.  One of the other primary members of the cast is Maura Tierney, who plays Alice McAlary, the wife of Hanks’ character Mike McAlary.  Tierney is also making her Broadway debut in the show, and she spoke to Broadway.com about the experience working with Hanks and playing a real-life individual on stage.

Tierney points out that because audiences are anticipating seeing Hanks on stage that they are extremely receptive to the play.  She says, “They’re so excited to see Tom, so it doesn’t feel like you get a bunch of skeptics with their arms folded saying, ‘Prove something to me.’ They’re on board, and I think it’s a real compliment to him—people just love him. All of us are riding those coattails because they are lovely.”

Though Alice McAlary is a real-life individual, Tierney admits that both she and the director, George C. Wolfe, agreed that she should not meet her character’s inspiration until she had established the character in rehearsals.  Tierney explains, “George was not wild about us meeting our real counterparts at the very beginning, and I agreed with him. We rehearsed for five weeks and created the characters based on the script, and then I met her when I didn’t have a fear that it would affect any of the work we had done. I’m not playing her, I’m playing what Nora wrote.”

In fact, it was important to Tierney that she worked hard to create the character because the role is so different from her own life.  She confesses, “This is hard for me because she was a stay-at-home mom who lived in Bellport, Long Island; she had four children. I’m not married, I don’t have kids and I live in Manhattan. In terms of that day-to-day stuff, I don’t know about that, but I do know what it’s like to love somebody, and I think she had a deep love and respect and loyalty for [Mike McAlary]. So, that part I can relate to.”

One part of the show that does hit close to home for Tierney is when her character speaks about the cancer that eventually took Mike McAlary’s life because Tierney underwent treatment for breast cancer in 2010.  She explains, “It’s difficult for me when people ask me if it’s difficult. Of course I understand, but the thing is, I would like to think that I’m acting. Any kind of performance that anybody does is informed by their life experience, so of course I can’t deny that something is probably going on. But what I’m trying to do to the best of my ability is tell the story. That moment for that character is the only time she gets to not be tough, so that’s what I’m thinking of mostly.”

Naturally she has a lot of praise for Hanks, who she has developed a strong bond with.  She says, “What I have noticed about him is he’s very present as an actor and he’s an actualized human being. We got to do a lot of work very quickly because he’s really frank, so it cuts out a lot of the work—to have to forge a relationship—when people are open and candid. I like to think I’m the same way. Because he is so available, I think that it expedited the whole process.”

 

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

Watch: Benedict Cumberbatch Film the Smaug Motion Capture for ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’
Though Peter Jackson‘s movie adaptations of The Hobbit haven’t received the same critical acclaim as his films based on the book’s sequel, The Lord of the Rings (turning a 300 page book into 9+ hours of film tends to do that), fans are still eagerly anticipating the release of the final part of The Hobbit […]
Watch: Daniel Radcliffe on the Differences Between American and British Theater Audiences
Though moviegoers can see Daniel Radcliffe in the fantasy film Horns, which opens today, Broadway fans will have to wait a bit longer. Radcliffe is an unapologetic fan of Broadway — he has starred in Equus, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and The Cripple of Inishmaan — but he hasn’t yet made […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-anna-gunn-jacki-weaver-and.jpg
Watch: Anna Gunn, Jacki Weaver and Virginia Kull on ‘Gracepoint’ and Strong Female Roles on TV
The actresses also speak candidly about how they feel about their characters in the series and why its important for TV to feature series with strong female leads.Check out the conversation above!
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-cristin-milioti-talks-a-to.jpg
Watch: Cristin Milioti Talks ‘A to Z’, ‘Once’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother’
Few actresses have the kind of rise as Cristin Milioti has had in the last few years. A virtual unknown in 2011, she became a bona fide Broadway star in the 2012 hit Once, appeared in a supporting role in the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street, and was featured as the titular mother […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/watch-bryan-cranstons-acting-adv.jpg
Watch: Bryan Cranston’s Acting Advice
With Breaking Bad: The Complete Series Barrel being released on Blu-ray with all kinds of goodies today, it gives us yet another opportunity to reflect on the series’ star Bryan Cranston and all of the incredible advice he has offered actors in the wake of his success. In a video he filmed in 2013 for […]