Margo Martindale Interview: ‘Mrs. America’
When Margo Martindale started preparing to play former Rep. Bella Abzug on “Mrs. America,” she easily found herself admiring certain qualities of who Abzug was. “She was extremely smart and extremely fast-thinking. I’m a very reflective thinker. She thinks on the word and she knows what she’s saying. Me, I could say the wrong thing,” explains Martindale in our recent webchat (watch the video above). Abzug was a figure that Martindale was familiar with from when she first moved to New York City but getting to play her gave her opened up an entirely new perspective to the congresswoman. She also feels that a lot of people might mistake the qualities she highlights in Abzug’s character for her own. “She was almost the opposite of me, even though people think of me that way. I’m so not.”
“Mrs. America,” the FX limited series from earlier this year, details the the years-long battle that was waged over the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, which would ban discrimination based on a person’s sex, into the U.S. Constitution. Abzug was among the strongest supporters of ratification. Martindale’s recent Emmy nomination for her performance is the sixth of her career. She’s also claimed victory at the Emmys three times: Drama Supporting Actress for “Justified” in 2011 and Drama Guest Actress for “The Americans” in 2015 and 2016.
Martindale also discussed the voice-over role of playing an exaggerated version of herself on Netflix’s, “BoJack Horseman,” which came to an end earlier this year. It started when Will Arnett made her come in and do a recording session while they were on a sitcom together. She would become a regular presence on the show and had a great time being a part of it. It did result in a weird instance of someone playing a joke on her Wikipedia page that she discovered after winning one of her Emmys for “The Americans.” “We had time to kill and Bill was looking up Wikipedia and seeing what they said and it said, ‘Margo Martindale has spent the last year in prison for armed robbery.’ Thank you ‘BoJack Horseman,'” says Martindale while laughing.
Even after winning three Emmys, all within the past decade, Martindale still finds herself getting thrilled every time she gets nominated. “This thrilled me so much because I am just honored to be among these women and that’s the truth. I feel like I’ve won being nominated.” She also realizes that there’s so much more competition to get one of the few slots available for nominees and that just adds to how grateful she is to be included in the recognition for her work. “You know, television is crowded these days. I’m very excited and not wishing for anything but I’m just happy about the nomination.”