Bill Groom (‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ production designer): ‘Research can never really overshadow story and characters’ [Exclusive Video Interview]

“We all, as designers, pull from our own experiences, not just research on characters and research on the periods and all of that, but also your own emotional connection to the environment,” reveals production designer Bill Groom about the Emmy-winning hit comedy “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” “We base an awful lot of our work on research, but mostly it’s based on, I would say at least for me, story and character,” he proclaims, adding for our recent Q&A, “the research is important, but the research can never really overshadow story and characters.” We talked with Groom as part of Gold Derby’s special “Meet the Experts” Q&A event with 2022 Emmy Awards contenders. Watch our exclusive video interview above.

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“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” is created by Emmy winner Amy Sherman-Palladino, set in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and starring Emmy winner Rachel Brosnahan as Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a New York housewife who discovers she has a knack for stand-up comedy and pursues a career in it. The series co-stars Emmy winners Alex Borstein, Tony Shalboub, Jane Lynch and Luke Kirby, with Michael Zegen, Marin Hinkle, Kevin Pollak and Caroline Aaron rounding out the impressive ensemble cast. The the acclaimed period comedy-drama has netted a massive 54 Emmy nominations and 20 wins to date (including for Best Comedy Series in 2018), with Amazon Prime Video recently announcing a fifth and final season.

Season 4 opens with Midge adjusting to life after being fired at the end of last season. In typical Midge fashion, she dusts herself off and declares she’s not holding back anymore, no longer appearing as merely an opening act. She soon becomes the emcee at The Wolford, an elaborate Manhattan burlesque club. Groom relished designing the club, which was then constructed from scratch as a complete working space for the show, even fitted out with a fully functional balcony. “It’s funny, I’ve said to Amy Sherman Palladino, our showrunner with her husband Dan Palladino, that she’s never seen a 360 degree angle she didn’t like,” Groom jokes. “That’s the way she shoots everything,” he says, adding, “it’s designed for the way we shoot.”

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