Margaret Qualley (‘Fosse/Verdon’) on the ‘daunting’ task of playing her hero Ann Reinking [EXCLUSIVE VIDEO INTERVIEW]

“It’s my first time playing a real person, and then to have it be one of my heroes is very daunting, but very exciting as well,” declares Margaret Qualley about her role as Ann Reinking in “Fosse/Verdon.” In our exclusive video interview (watch above), Qualley talks about playing Reinking, the Tony-winning actress and dancer, whose personal and professional relationship with Bob Fosse (Sam Rockwell) is central to the FX limited series.

Qualley grew up dancing, and cites Fosse’s semi-autobiographical film “All That Jazz” as her first introduction to Renking. “She’s just such a phenomenal dancer,” she adds. “She’s really a performer, and she can be doing the same thing as another dancer technically, and something about her is really magnetic.” She actually spent many hours talking on the phone with Reinking, who encouraged her “call anytime.” Qualley admits, “I think I abused that, potentially, because I did call her a lot.”

Qualley’s experience as a dancer gave her a unique insight into recreating some of Fosse’s legendary choreography. To prepare, she worked with many of the dancers who learned from Fosse, which gave the scenes an extra layer of authenticity. It also gave her a new level of appreciation for Fosse’s gifts. “If there was a dancer that had something off about them, he would highlight what was off about them and make it this beautiful, sexy, strange thing,” Qualley says.

Qualley calls working with Rockwell and Michelle Williams, who plays Gwen Verdon, “terrifying but awesome.” Although Reinking is closely associated with Fosse, it is the relationship between Verdon and Reinking that is one of the series’s most complex. That relationship is developed in the show’s fifth episode “Where Am I Going?,” which Qualley calls one of her favorites. Qualley says about Verdon and Reinking’s relationship, “I think that they were allies for each other. They held each other up and had each other’s backs. It really plays against any kind of cliches that may be involved with that kind of dynamic.”

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