“When I first read it, I became very obsessed with it and chased it down relentlessly,” Cristin Milioti shares about the role of Hazel on HBO Max’s “Made for Love.” The series opens with Hazel discovering that her tech mogul husband Byron (Billy Magnussen) has secretly implanted a chip in her brain and fleeing their virtual reality compound to reunite with her estranged father (Ray Romano). “I just felt so immediately connected to her just even in that first episode,” she says, because of “the performative elements of her personality.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.
The series balances its sci-fi premise with family drama and dark, absurdist comedy. Milioti says the cast and crew “talked a lot about tone on this show.” Ultimately, she found that “there’s humor in how these characters handle pain.” She also talks about looking to the novel of the same name by Alissa Nutting as a source of inspiration and aid in discovering the motivations of her character, but says, “I tried to step away because it [the show] diverged in its own glorious way.”
“Made for Love” reunited Milioti with her friend and frequent collaborator Magnussen. The two Tony-nominated actors – she for the musical “Once” and he for the play “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” – share “a shorthand.” “I feel very safe with Billy,” she says, adding, “That stuff between Byron and Hazel is really hard and tricky sometimes.” Milioti also lauds costar Romano, sharing, “I find him to be incredibly moving and compelling as an actor, and he’s also an extremely kind human being […] salt of the earth, wonderful.”
Milioti also discusses a cut scene that, despite never airing, greatly influenced her performance. “There was a flashback with the little girl about what happened the night [Hazel’s] mother died, and that was very, very helpful for me,” she reveals. On the shocking conclusion of the first season, she notes how Hazel “now in a way perpetuated the same thing that happened to her,” but her character is also “now more awake to certain things than she was the last time” she lived in Byron’s isolated “Hub”.
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