“When you go in to read for something, or at least for me, I assume, ‘Well, everyone’s doing it this way, right? This is the character, and this is how I’m doing it and that’s it.'” – Alex Borstein
Amazon Prime’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel will air its fifth and final season in April, and while the series has been a star-making vehicle for Rachel Brosnahan, her co-star Alex Borstein has received rave reviews — and two Emmy Awards — for her performance as Susie Myerson, the agent for Brosnahan’s character. Speaking with Variety about the series ahead of the final season, Borstein spoke about auditioning for the role — and why it is still very challenging for her after five years.
Borstein remarks that she later had the opportunity to see the audition tapes for other actresses who tried out for the Susie role, and it changed her assumptions about auditions. She reveals, “When you go in to read for something, or at least for me, I assume, ‘Well, everyone’s doing it this way, right? This is the character, and this is how I’m doing it and that’s it.'”
However, Borstein recalls that during the audition process she had instant chemistry with series star Rachel Brosnahan, which obviously helped her land the role. She remembers:
“That first audition, I went in, I read, and then they had Rachel come in. So we were thrown in immediately. I had never heard of her. I knew nothing of her. After the fact, I realized, ‘Oh, House of Cards.’ But I had no preconceived notions of who she was or what she’d be like. And we just were so different that it worked, really. Our pacing was the same, which was perfect for Amy, but our insides were so different, and how we operate as actors is different too. But it really works… There was no retreat or bonding seminar or anything. We just were thrown in and it happened magically.”
By “different,” Borstein speaks about the different ways the two actresses approach the way that they work. She continues:
“She’s like a very well-trained, well-oiled machine. She knows exactly what she wants to do with [a scene], and I’m very reactive. I mean, I have an idea, I study, I learn it, but when I get there and she throws something at me, I may react how I react and go with that, because it just seems to work. It’s better for my personality. It’s not a method… She’s able to rehearse stuff and figure out her instincts ahead of time without killing it by the time the camera rolls. If I try to do it ahead of time and then get to the set, by the time the cameras are rolling, it’s stale in my head and I have a hard time getting back to that fresh, spontaneous feeling.”
While The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel has been a tremendous success, Borstein confesses that it’s still a very challenging job. She shares, “In all honesty, it’s been really hard… Part of that is the material is so hard. It demands a lot of me. I’ve stretched in ways I haven’t before. The memorization has to be word-perfect.”