Bill Groom Interview: ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ production designer
“I’m one of the few people… on the show who actually have a memory of 1958 and 1959,” reveals “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” production designer Bill Groom, who was born in 1950. “I was very young, but I do remember that period. So there’s a certain amount of personal reference” that informs his work, which he then “follows up with research.” For that work Groom has received an Emmy nomination for Best Production Design (Period/Fantasy), one of 14 total nominations for the Amazon series. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” stars Rachel Brosnahan as Midge Maisel, a 1950s New York housewife who rediscovers herself as a stand-up comedian after her husband (Michael Zegen) leaves her for his secretary. The show required Groom to design for three different looks: “the uptown look” of the Upper West Side where Midge lives, “the business district” where her husband works, and “the downtown look” where she plays the comedy circuit with the help of her manager (Alex Borstein).
To create these different locations, Groom would use his memories of the time period to “spark some research that then leads to some photos or something that’s interesting.” He also credits the influence of his grandfather, a minister who made his living building houses. “I got a little bit familiar with construction techniques,” he explains, “and the types of doors and windows that were being used at that time.”
Groom previously won four consecutive Emmys for his production design work on “Boardwalk Empire” (2012-2015). And he has a number of other credits on the big screen (“The Pledge,” “Milk,” “Eat Pray Love”) and the small screen (“Vinyl,” “When We Rise”). Now he’s back to work on “Maisel,” designing its second season.