“I’m totally boundary-less. It gets knocked out of you in theater school.” – Betty Gilpin
Actress Betty Gilpin has been nominated for two Emmy Awards for her portrayal of Debbie “Liberty Belle” Eagan on GLOW, the Netflix series based on a 1980s women’s professional wrestling organization. With the series set to conclude after its upcoming fourth season, Gilpin had the opportunity to reflect on the popular series in an interview with Gold Derby and comment on how much she has enjoyed working on GLOW as well as challenges she has faced in the role and why she doesn’t think of nude scenes as a big deal.
Regarding the memorable Season 3 episode in which the wrestlers decide to switch their in-ring characters with one another, Gilpin recalls the shoot fondly even though she was nervous about taking on star Alison Brie‘s Zoya the Destroyer character. Gilpin says:
“It was crazy fun. I was nervous at first. Ali Brie was really gung-ho about it and I was scared ‘cause I’ve done plays, for instance, where, as a rehearsal exercise we’ve done a read-through where we switch parts and it never ends well. Actors are way too neurotic for that. I don’t know who thinks that’s a good idea, so I was picturing us all spinning out about, ‘Oh, should I play it like that?’ Then I remembered the job I was on, that we are an exploding circus of Muppet insanity on our show and that it’s also just such a love-fest. We were just crying laughing together and that was one my favorite GLOW days ever.”
Gilpin points to the series as one of those rare opportunities for an actor to be able to completely demonstrate their range, which is one aspect she will miss about the series:
“I think that maybe everybody feels this way in a certain job where you’re like, ‘Oh man, I’m really being asked to do 5% of what I can do,’ and I know that I will miss that so much about GLOW, that we’re being asked to do 100% of what we can do physically and creatively. Every other day in a week on-set for GLOW I’m doing these grounded kitchen sink scenes and then a day of work where I’ve got blue glitter up to my eyebrows and I have five ideas of cross-eyed faces to make and insane voices and I’ve been watching Russian accent YouTube videos leading up to it. It’s like a creativity potpourri on speed in a blender.”
Gilpin also talks about how her character undergoes a difficult period in the third season, which leads to her character having a several sex scenes throughout the season. When it comes to nudity, she remarks that it isn’t as challenging for her because she sees it as part of the job of being an actor:
“I’m totally boundary-less. It gets knocked out of you in theater school. Nudity is like item number 10, like, I’m talking about if I’m at a dinner party with you, we’re talking about the darknesses in our childhoods by the second Aperol Spritz, nudity is really no problem and I think that’s a real gift of being an actor. Especially for awards stuff, there is a real smoke and mirrors aspect of being an actor outside of actual scene work where you’re putting on the mask and you’re putting up this illusion of who you are and then the actual work is so guttural and boundary-less and when it goes well it’s like all that exists is you and your scene partner. Maybe not in the sex scene, those are weird, but you get to really connect with someone on a level that feels almost ghosty and strange and beautiful and really cathartic.”