PHOTOS BY RANDALL SLAVIN WORDS BY TAMARA RAPPA
With the Launch of Her Production Company Scrap Paper Pictures, Putting a New Twist on the Comedy She's Known for with Amazon's Yearly Departed, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Returning in 2021, Rachel Brosnahan Dives Deep as a Creator and Maker
Listen to the extended interview on episode 60 of the Story + Rain Talks podcast. Available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Listen Notes, The Podcast App, and Soundcloud.
Tamara Rappa: It's been three very successful seasons of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, the series that everybody loves to binge watch. As the star of TV's most binge-watchable show, I think people would love to know what you have been binge watching this year, the year of stay-at-home entertainment consumption.
Rachel Brosnahan: I've talked so much about my binge worthy shows, and they may not be the highest brow. I have primarily been watching The Great British Baking Show and Survivor and a History Channel show called Alone. Succession, as well, which is also highly binge worthy. I appreciate skillful reality television contestants in this moment as an escape.
TR: You have your own production company. I'm curious to know your thoughts on the current state of television and its programming.
RB: Big question. I'm excited by the current state of television. There are so many shows and so many different platforms and a lot of new space for new content creators. It feels like television has found the way to take bigger risks than our film companions in the industry over the last couple of years, and there are so many more women, and women and men of color, making projects. We, as audience members, are the beneficiaries of all of this creativity.
“Another part of wanting to step into this position is being able to pay it forward and also use my platform and my privilege to be able to say yes, that magical yes, that sometimes is the thing that is needed to throw open the door for someone else and give them the space to spread their wings.”
TR: At 30 years old, it's very impressive that you've established a production company already, with fantastic projects underway, including Amazon's Yearly Departed, releasing on December 30th, 2020. Did you always know that you wanted to tell stories in more ways than one, both in front of and behind the camera?
RB: Not always. I was primarily interested in acting for many years. But over the last couple years, I've been really inspired by other actors making the move into producing, taking the reins of their careers, and being a part of making choices that excite them. I also found myself in a similar position to many other actresses, in particular, where despite a certain degree of success, I was still feeling frustrated by the kinds of roles that were available to me, finding that producing was a path towards being a part of creating and developing those projects. On top of that, the question I've been asked the most in the last couple of years, which is such a privilege, is, ‘What do you want to do next?’ I recognize that I'm in that position because of so many different people, from casting directors, to directors, to agents and managers and producers, who took chances on me when they didn't necessarily have a reason to believe that I could succeed. They took that leap, and some of those leaps have been projects, or have then yielded projects that changed my life and the course of my career. So, another part of wanting to step into this position is being able to pay it forward and also use my platform and my privilege to be able to say yes, that magical yes, that sometimes is the thing that is needed to throw open the door for someone else and give them the space to spread their wings.
TR: Who are some of the other entertainers that have started their own production companies that have inspired you?
RB: Viola Davis and Reese Witherspoon; Kerry Washington. There's so many, but Viola and Reese, in particular, have really taken the bull by the horns and have been very open about their experiences. I've poured through interviews of the both of them, listening to them talk about why they made this move and what's been exciting for them about it. We're obviously a very young company, but I'm really excited to grow with my producing partner, Paige Simpson.
“Viola and Reese, in particular, have really taken the bull by the horns and have been very open about their experiences. I've poured through interviews of the both of them, listening to them talk about why they made this move and what's been exciting for them about it.”
TR: Your production company is called Scrap Paper Pictures. What is Scrap Paper's creative North Star? What characteristics are you looking for in the projects you take on?
RB: We are excited by artists. Paige and I are both artists in different ways, and have come to our art differently, and are excited by the idea of finding artists we are excited about and working with them from a very early stage in their process, whether that be from the germ of an idea and helping collaborate with them, or helping them to find the resources that can help that germ grow into something more; or, coming into a project when they've written a script on spec, and want to get some eyeballs on it and feedback, or find collaborators to help bring that project to life. We know that the magic happens when artists are given the space to grow and the resources to help realize their dreams, and so we're pretty genre-agnostic at this point, and have found ourselves drawn to a lot of different kinds of stories, but remain interested in the collaborators on those projects.
TR: Was timing important to you? Did you want to get started producing right away? How did Scrap Paper Pictures come to be, exactly?
RB: It came to be through a conversation about an opportunity for a first look deal with Amazon on the television side; that was kind of the jumping off point. That made it seem like something real. Then around... sorry, time is a flat circle, after this year... I feel like all years are blurring together, so forgive me if I'm getting some of this timeline wrong! I think around that same time, I first read the script for I'm Your Woman, and Jordan and Julia gave me the opportunity to step into the role of producer for the first time. So it all happened very organically. I met Paige in the fall of 2019, and we fell into lockstep right away.
“He used to send me a piece of art twice a year, every year, on my birthday and over the holidays. The name of the company is really an homage to him, because receiving that art twice a year was sort of a piece of practical magic in my own life. I have never met him in person and have found him very inspirational from afar.”
TR: What's behind the name 'Scrap Paper'?
RB: It's a really lovely story. I grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Well, I was there until I was four and then moved to the suburbs of Chicago. My parents lived next to an artist, and he was really sweet to my mom while she was pregnant with me and really interested in what kind of person I was going to be. He was very interested in numerology, and Buddhism, and Zen living, and he would tell my mom a lot that he felt like I was going to be an artist. This was before I was born. He used to make these pictures, these beautiful pieces of art out of often torn-up pieces of paper that he would put together to make these beautiful images of sunsets and animals and people. His art is so beautiful, and he used to send me a piece of art twice a year, every year, on my birthday and over the holidays. The name of the company is really an homage to him, because receiving that art twice a year was sort of a piece of practical magic in my own life. I have never met him in person and have found him very inspirational from afar.
“Working on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was probably the first time I was just struggling, to find what made Midge, Midge. She was a character that felt so far away in so many different ways.”
TR: Speaking of scrap paper, do you have a place where you record your ideas, your own ideas for producing, and ideas for characters? Do you keep notes on your phone or have a journal?
RB: I'm a very tactile person, so I have many notebooks. I take copious notes and love the feeling of a pen and paper in your hands. But then the issue with that is, I can never find them when I need them. So sometimes thoughts and ideas and notes disappear for years at a time, and reemerge.
TR: Regarding ideas, how do you develop your ideas and characteristics for the characters that you play? Is there a ritual that you have?
RB: Not really. It's really project-to-project. I've found myself challenged by characters who are so vastly different from each other, especially over the last couple of years, and have challenged a lot of the ideas about how I thought I liked and needed and wanted to work. Coming out of drama school, my approach was mostly from the inside-out: figuring out who someone was on the inside, what made them tick, the things that made them who they are. Working on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was probably the first time I was just struggling, to find what made Midge, Midge. She was a character that felt so far away in so many different ways. I started taking more of an outside-in approach and found that it cracked open the inside-out part for me, it was an important lesson in remaining flexible about how you work and taking it project-by-project and day by day. It's been an interesting last couple of years, because that process has changed a lot. But it always involves copious amounts of research. I'm kind of a research nerd. I like to do a deep dive into the time period. It’s been a lot of period stuff over the last couple years; or there was a big, deep dive into the comedy scene, working on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. And working in the seventies, familiarizing myself with a lot of the media and what was going on politically during that time. Working on The Courier [releasing in 2021] gave me an opportunity to do a deep, deep dive about the Cold War. I felt like I learned a lot about the Cold War that I wish we had learned in school.
TR: Speaking of Mrs. Maisel, you give such a compelling performance for which you’ve won an Emmy with four nominations, two Golden Globes, two Critics Choice Awards, and three SAG Awards. Your character is beloved, you really draw viewers deep inside the character that you play. What is your relationship with Midge when you're not shooting? How is she with you, or perhaps not with you?
RB: In the most tangible way, I feel like trying to get my pace up... my internal and external pace... up to that level. It's a hard thing to shut off after so many years of playing the character, so my internal rhythm has probably sped up a little bit, and that definitely sticks with me, but it's also nice to be able to put a character to rest in the time that you're not spending with them. And I appreciate the opportunity to move from project to project, to be able to dive so deeply into these characters that are so vastly different from each other. And it feels like a little bit of a relief to completely change course.
“It's a hard thing to shut off after so many years of playing the character, so my internal rhythm has probably sped up a little bit, and that definitely sticks with me, but it's also nice to be able to put a character to rest in the time that you're not spending with them.”
TR: In terms of awards and awards season, you've been to that party now in a big way, and on several occasions. Is there anything that you've discovered, that you didn't expect to be a part of all of it?
RB: Oh goodness. That's a great question. I still feel so overwhelmed by that part of this adventure. I feel like I black out every time I go to the party as it were. I am just completely overstimulated. I was surprised, the first year, by how much pressure I felt to win, as an actor who loved acting and who came into this career without much of a thought about or interest in, fame and celebrity. That wasn't really something I thought about very much. As a result, it kind of knocked me sideways and caught me by surprise in a way I had to grapple with. I was, and in many ways, am, still deeply uncomfortable with it. I'm finding my way through and at the same time, incredibly grateful for it and recognize the value in it. I hadn't really considered the idea of winning awards as a part of the journey. I guess maybe it's a lack of confidence, but I suppose that that world always felt incredibly far away. And we were so fortunate, during the first season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, to not only be a part of this show that we loved, that was such a joy to be on day to day....but to love a project that also found an audience. Because those two things don't always happen together. They don't more often than not. You can love a project that never finds its voice and never finds its viewership. I haven't had this experience, but the opposite is certainly been true for people I know: a project that they don't enjoy, that doesn't fuel them and feed them, finds the huge audience. Both things can happen, but they rarely get to happen together. Having not really considered that space very much, I was surprised by how much pressure there was to succeed in it, for something that really felt like a cherry on the sundae. I don't know if that's very articulate, but that space is still something I'm grappling with and very grateful for, but has been a surprise.
"I was surprised, the first year, by how much pressure I felt to win, as an actor who loved acting and who came into this career without much of a thought about or interest in, fame and celebrity.”
TR: Costuming and getting dressed takes up a lot of space in your life, particularly on Maisel, and in terms of getting dressed for all those previously-mentioned red carpets and awards season. How do you feel about clothing and accessories? Your aunt was the late great Kate Spade. Does an affinity for fashion run in the family and through to you?
TR: Yes, I would like to think so, but Katie was the queen of fashion and accessories, and I certainly can't hold a candle, but I do love clothing and fashion as an opportunity to try on different moods and characters for size, on and off screen. Fashion is such a fun form of expression. I've loved playing a number of characters who express themselves through fashion, obviously Midge being the clearest front runner in that case. And I enjoy it in my life as well. I enjoy the opportunity to wear clothes on a red carpet that I may not in my living room, as it were, and to kind of play that character as well. I love a good accessory, love a good color pop.
“Katie was the queen of fashion and accessories, and I certainly can't hold a candle, but I love clothing and fashion as an opportunity to try on different moods and characters for size, on and off screen.”
TR: Is there anything significant that your aunt Kate taught you about fashion or otherwise, that you think about?
RB: To not take it too seriously; to have fun with fashion and to not be too precious about it. Katie always said that there were no seasons for fashion. She'd say it exactly like that. I'm sure she said it much better, but, 'feel free to wear suede in the summer and white in the winter. The fashion rules are made to be broken.' Something that I always took from her as well, is that she always said if you love something, you should wear it into the ground. That you shouldn't put that beautiful, maybe expensive, bag in a box and let it live on a shelf. When you love something, you should love it as often and as much as possible.
“Donna continues to raise the bar for herself as a costume designer. And the hats are out of control.”
TR: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel had to halt production. Can you give us a little peek into what shooting looks like for you during COVID, and how it's affected the show and the crew?
RB: We miss each other more than anything. We were hoping to go back to production in June and obviously that wasn't able to happen safely at the time. So we've pushed, and are hoping to be able to get back to it, and feel confident that we should be able to in January. And we've been doing fittings. I talked to Michael Zegen yesterday. He just had some fittings and got a peek at some of our new sets. I've had a number of fittings. The costumes are stunning for this season. Donna continues to raise the bar for herself as a costume designer. And the hats are out of control.
TR: It's a very intimate relationship, the relationship with your costume designer.
RB: Absolutely. And Donna's the best. She's a real storyteller. She elevates the already beautifully written stories of Midge and the gang to a whole new stratosphere with the clothes, her clothes tell a story.
TR: On Broadway, you were Desdemona in Othello with Daniel Craig; you starred opposite Bobby Cannavale in The Big Knife. I’m curious about how you plan to continue with theater, and how the stage feeds you creatively and as an artist?
RB: I'm itching to get back on stage. I loved working on The Big Knife, which was my Broadway debut, in a relatively small part back in 2013. But with this incredible cast, as you've mentioned: Bobby Cannavale, and Richard Kind, and Chip Zien, Marin Ireland. These legends of the stage! And I learned so much getting to watch them work every night, eight shows a week. And Othello was a completely different experience. It was in a really small off-Broadway house at New York Theater Workshop. It was an incredibly intimate space, and it was one of the most special experiences I could have ever hoped to have on stage. It was intimate, both onstage and offstage. There was one dressing room, and everyone shared this space with a small curtain, separating the women from the men. You had actors like Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo, Finn Wittrock---these extremely established performers---sharing space, men and women, playing the smallest roles in this show that was a true ensemble. I love that about theater, and I love actors at any stage in their lives and careers who embrace that. The best part about working in theater is the space for rehearsal; the time to rehearse. It may get even better, when you finally get to put a show up in front of an audience. Rehearsal's my favorite part of working on any production, but there's nothing that competes with the magic of theater. The relationship that you have to an audience; it’s a different show, every single time you do it. And it becomes this live thing that shifts and changes and grows---over the course of a production. Nothing else is like that. So I'm desperate for theater to come back.
“The best part about working in theater is the space for rehearsal; the time to rehearse. And it may get even better, when you finally get to put a show up in front of an audience.”
TR: Your role on House of Cards was pivotal. How did you feel going into that project?
RB: Petrified? I was 20, 21? 21, I suppose, when I started on the show and was only supposed to be around for an episode, maybe two. I'm so grateful that this part grew into an arc that changed me as a performer and was so foundational...it was such an important part of me, of my journey as an actor, and as a person. But yes, I was petrified. I was working with some of the most talented and experienced folks in front of and behind the camera--- not even just working with---surrounded by. I'm so grateful to have had the most lovely and kind and talented and generous scene partner in Michael Kelly. We spent three years working together, and I can't imagine what that experience would have been like without his encouragement and support.
TR: Going back to your 20’s and late teens, what do you cherish most about your days at NYU's Tisch?
RB: Getting to live and work and study in the city, all at the same time. One of the challenging things about that time, and especially about that time in any kind of art school, is that you feel like you're turning yourself inside-out; that your guts are on the outside. It's an incredibly vulnerable and scary and electric experience. A lot of the moments you experience happen in a bubble. Most college campuses are on beautiful, tree-lined plots outside of big cities. I loved getting to study and simultaneously work and live in this city that I love so much. Then, to get to stay in the city after college? The people! I mean, I'm still so close with so many of my college friends.
“Alex Borstein and Tony Shalhoub, have shown me what leadership on set looks like, what leads to a long and fruitful career, and, spoiler alert: it's about working hard and being kind.”
TR: You’ve worked with a lot of talented people at this point. Which actors that you've worked with do you think have had the most impact on you, and why?
RB: That's a lovely question. There are a few different answers to this, because some of them are so big and profound, and some are so small and equally as profound. I had an experience working with Francis McDormand briefly on a show called Olive Kitteridge. It made an enormous impact on me. As a young actor who was pretty new and still figuring out how the whole thing worked, and who I was and who I wanted to be, Francis took me and another young actor named Cory Michael Smith out to dinner one night, and just sat us down and gave us the lay of the land. It was so generous and she was so thoughtful with her time and her energy---just so open and honest with us in a way that I will never forget. She gave us the space to ask her questions without making us feel small or inexperienced, she was so kind to us, and made us feel valuable. I guess I’ve always approached my work, and still do, like every job could be my last one. There was something as simple as Francis saying, ‘And as you move forward in this career, take these with you, take these thoughts with you,’ that made us feel like we were at the start of something that wasn't going to end. And so I suppose that's one experience that really, profoundly changed me and stuck with me. Also I would say that during the last couple of years, the opportunity to work with every actor in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, in particular, Alex Borstein and Tony Shalhoub, who have shown me what leadership on set looks like, what leads to a long and fruitful career, and, spoiler alert: it's about working hard and being kind. They're both consummate professionals, and very, very different people, but so thoughtful. In different ways, they challenge themselves. They challenge others in ways that help everyone grow and better the projects that they're a part of. Tony in particular just has fun with every opportunity that he gets to perform, and I’ve been really inspired by that.
“We're both incredibly private about our personal lives. So I steer away from talking about what that's like for us. But it was unexpected that I would end up with another actor.”
TR: Your husband, Jason Ralph, is an actor too. What's it like being in a union of two artists?
RB: I will say that we're both incredibly private about our personal lives. So I steer away from talking about what that's like for us. But it was unexpected that I would end up with another actor.
TR: What is difficult, Rachel, would you say, about what you do? About being an actor or producer, or simply about being in the entertainment industry?
RB: It's a very vulnerable job, being an artist of any kind. It's vulnerable in front of the camera, or on stage, and in order to bring to life someone else's experience, you're so often digging into parts of yourself that are raw and challenging, and sometimes painful. I often find myself using the word 'exposed'. There's a safety in feeling exposed when you have amazing collaborators. And I've been so fortunate to have worked among so many people who create that safe space to be able to do that kind of work in. Then, there's a vulnerability in having parts of your life, parts of who you are in your private life, public. That’s the piece I suppose I never thought about. I've heard so many people say to other people, not so much to me, but when performers talk about that as a challenge, they say, ‘you signed up for this, you asked for this.’
TR: But you also don't know until you know, right?
RB: That's right. I think you can't possibly know what exactly it is that you're signing up for, especially when, I think most people do sign up to perform and don't really think too much beyond that. As a really private person, I find that part very challenging.
“It's vulnerable in front of the camera, or on stage, and in order to bring to life someone else's experience, you're so often digging into parts of yourself that are raw and challenging, and sometimes painful.”
TR: I'm Your Woman, which you star in and produce, was released earlier this month. What led you to the project, and what did it teach you about motherhood?
RB: I read the script back in 2018 and was really moved by Jean's journey from a quiet woman who's been locked inside her head to someone who has not only taken control of her own life, but recognized this power and capability inside of her that's been there all along. With regards to motherhood, I am so grateful to filmmakers like Julia, who are having conversations about motherhood that haven't been represented on screen before. I didn't know that a woman's struggles with infertility, miscarriages in particular, can lead to a form of PTSD. We didn't know that because we don't talk about that kind of trauma publicly very often. There are so many quiet women who have felt like they have to suffer in silence, and that their experiences should remain private. It’s interesting because in this moment, which wasn't happening when we set out to make the film, in this moment, you have women like Chrissy Tiegen and Meghan Markle coming forward about those experiences, and giving so many women the space to feel seen and heard about their own. That's something I hope that this film can be a part of, that conversation, as well. Also, the idea that there are so many different pathways towards motherhood. Obviously Jean's is a very extreme example, but women become mothers in so many different ways, and it doesn't make them any less of a mother, or any less of a woman, or any less capable. Each path comes with its own challenges. And they're all okay.
TR: How were your creative pursuits nurtured by your family?
RB: My family was very nervous about having a kid who wanted to pursue a career in the arts, because so many careers in the arts don't pan out. I think they just, as most parents do, wanted to see me succeed and wanted to see me be okay, happy and fulfilled. A lot of ventures into careers in the arts, I should say, don't necessarily end that way. So they pushed me. They pushed me to work hard and to study hard, and to make sure that I was educated about what this career path actually looked like. They pushed me, and I'm grateful. My immediate family is very athletic rather than creative. So it was just foreign.
TR: You were the creative, the maverick.
RB: Yes. The black sheep,
“I didn't know that a woman’s struggles with infertility, miscarriages in particular, can lead to a form of PTSD. We didn't know that because we don't talk about that kind of trauma publicly very often.”
TR: Your end-of-year comedy special for Amazon, Yearly Departed, is so fresh, so modern. It includes a group of incredibly talented women. How did that incredible project come together?
RB: A woman named Bess Kalb, who's a phenomenal and hilarious writer, and also one of the executive producers of this project, alongside a company called We The Women, brought this project to my producing partner, Paige Simpson and I. And we loved it. Bess pitched the project. We thought it was so hilarious and timely, and cathartic, it was so many things we felt we needed to close out this shit storm of a year with. We imagined that many other people would feel the same. We, as a team, brought the project to Amazon, who thankfully did feel exactly the same way, and gave us the resources to make the project. We brought on some partners from a company called Done+Dusted, who have been making so many extraordinary projects during this really challenging and uncertain time. They produced the Obama graduation special. They produced the Emmys, and so many other projects. They were the experts in shooting during this time, ensuring that we were able to do it safely and also successfully. They were really important partners in this process.
TR: What was it like on set, amongst all the ladies of Yearly Departed? You had Sarah Silverman, Tiffany Haddish, so many others.
RB: …Patti Harrison and Ziwe, and Phoebe Robinson and Natasha Leggero, Natasha Rothwell. I mean, we were all pinching ourselves. We couldn't believe that all of these hilarious women, phenomenal writers, said yes. We thought the idea was brilliant. But it's always encouraging to know that other people whose work you admire feel the same. And I mean, they took this thing by storm. They added their own spin to each of the eulogies. They worked very closely and collaboratively with our writers. It was really important to us that they had the space to make these monologues their own, as brilliant standup comedians. And they did. And to their credit, this project was shot in a really strange and very unique way, given our current circumstances.
TR: How did you shoot it?
RB: We had three stages. We had one stage that was the front of our faux funeral parlor. It was four cameras focused on the eulogist, the person at the front of the room. And then we had a B stage that was the back of the audience. We had another stage that was just green screen pods. Each woman would do their eulogy on our primary stage, and then they would go into the green screen pod room where everyone was separate from one another, they'd have an ear bud in, watching on screen, whomever was delivering the eulogy at the time, responding. And we would shoot them while they responded. Our B stage was for our wider shots, for our motion control shots when we needed to pull everyone together into the same space, and B FX, and post-production. Everyone was never in the room at the same time. It was a technological feat. And to these women's credit, who are used to performing so brilliantly in front of an audience, they performed to an empty house of cameras, and they nailed it.
TR: You would never know the difference. It's just amazing how resourceful we've had to become.
RB: Yes. I'm so hopeful and encouraged by the fact that so many people have gotten so creative about how they make projects during this time.
TR: Like your Yearly Departed persona, did you lose your pants this year, during the pandemic? What is your at-home look?
RB: Yes. I was very ready to say goodbye and fuck you to pants. I have not really worn ‘hard pants’, as I believe they're being called these days--since March. I do find myself wearing a lot of yoga pants on the bottom with professional attire on the top on my Zoom calls these days. It's been very half-and-half. Whichever part of you doesn't have to get dressed, you don't. I've gotten some lovely slippers during quarantine.
TR: I have a pair of Birkenstocks slides. I have a pair of Jenni Kayne fuzzy ones. It's the Year Of the Slipper.
RB: Loungewear is making a big comeback.
“I was very ready to say goodbye and fuck you to pants. I have not really worn ‘hard pants’, as I believe they're being called these days-- since March.”
TR: What has 2020 been like for you, both personally and professionally?
RB: Professionally, busy, which I feel very grateful for. I think I, alongside so many other people, would have completely lost my mind if I didn't have something to pour all of my excess and anxious energy into. And it's also been challenging. I've been away from friends and family, as have so many other people, for a really long time. There's so much uncertainty about the state of the world and the future, and that's very anxiety-inducing. March was challenging for the city of New York, which I love so very much. But I also feel really hopeful. I feel like we're turning a corner and change is coming, and I'm ready for 2021.
TR: Can you tell us anything more about the first look deal you recently signed with Amazon?
RB: We have a first look deal at Amazon on the television side. We've been working away with them. This special [Yearly Departed] was a part of that deal, and we have another project in development with them that I can't talk about quite yet. But we're very excited about it and looking forward to more to come.
TR: How funny are you in your own life?
RB: Getting funnier, I'm being told. But unconfident in my comedic abilities.
TR: What inspires you?
RB: Artists who are confident in their vision.
TR: What scares you?
TR: What kinds of roles are you most looking to play at this point in your career?
RB: Something I haven't played before, and roles that feel inaccessible and impossible.
TR: What are you reading right now, if anything?
RB: Scripts, so many scripts. I'm getting to know a lot of new writers, as we have a couple of projects that we're bringing on writers for right now.
TR: What do you miss about the Midwest?
RB: The people.
TR: You've lived in New York City your whole adult life. New York City in three words.
RB: Electric, straightforward, great coffee.
TR: Favorite meal?
RB: Thai food. Anything Thai.
TR: Favorite way to spend a Sunday or a day off?
RB: Well, pre 2020, drinking coffee in the park with a friend or group of friends, just sort of that…very New York…that hours-long coffee.
TR: What will you do on New Year's Eve and Day 2020?
RB: Well, this year I'm going to be watching Yearly Departed on New Year's Eve. We've got some fun New Year's gear. Karlee, who is one of my very best friends and one half of our casting duo [for Scrap Paper Pictures], is in my pod. So we’ll be watching together on New Year's Eve.
TR: Describe your current state of mind these days.
RB: All over the place. Just all over.
"For a gentle skin cleanser, I use Cetaphil. I have very sensitive skin."
“I love belt bags. I have a little Prada bean shaped belt bag."
“Love a good tennis shoe. Tennis shoes with everything. The ones I’ve been wearing the most are a white leather pair of Rag + Bone tennis shoes. Those, and I just got a pair of Vans slide-on's that I love.”
“There’s an Olio E Osso apricot-colored balm that I like to use as a lip, a cheek, and an eye.”
"Spending a Sunday or day off drinking coffee in the park with a friend or group of friends. Black, or with a splash of vanilla Coffee Mate."
RACHEL'S PICKS FROM AUNT KATE SPADE'S LINE, FRANCES VALENTINE
A go-to bag in square-shaped plaid; a small backpack that fits everything; boots to wear every other day in the snow.
JANUARY 2021 COVER
ASSISTANTS PHOTO: MATT ROADY, JOHN RUIZ. FASHION: JARED DEPRIEST, BRIDGET BLACKSTEN.
TAILOR KAREN CHINCHILLA
Rachel Brosnahan sipping Ruinart rosé champagne, ready to say goodbye and good riddance to 2020 with her all-female ensemble comedy special for Amazon, Yearly Departed.
During our photo shoot on a chilly winter evening, Rachel Brosnahan hit the streets surrounding Times Square in New York City and on location at Gallaghers Steakhouse, established over 90 years ago.