In the new Netflix series GLOW, Alison Brie makes the jump from doe-eyed, optimistic characters like Community‘s Annie to Ruth, a struggling actress-turned-wrestler, of all things. During an interview at the ATX TV Festival in June, Brie and Betty Gilpin, who plays Debbie, discussed their dynamic new roles.
Set in 1985, Brie says, GLOW “is about women who feel underestimated, and proving people wrong.”
The actress has had to contend with that in her real life as well. “When I tell people that I’m on a show about wrestling, they’re like, ‘You’re wrestling?'” shared Brie, who has been open about sexism in Hollywood.
Not only does Ruth differ from several of Brie’s past roles, but she stands out from the roles more commonly available to women. “She’s got gumption, man,” Brie explained, giddily. “She’s got a little fire lit underneath her. She’s got a fire up in her butthole. And that’s the kinda woman I like to play. She’s not that sort of spunky protagonist that we’re used to seeing.”
Gilpin, meanwhile, was relieved to find out that Debbie is not the “self-righteous and perfect” woman she appears to be. Instead, she “turns into her own version of her own mess,” and Gilpin says she “was really excited to play that juxtaposition.”
Don’t let the length of GLOW or its neon logo and nostalgia-fueled promos fool you either. “For a half-hour series,” Brie says, “and I know we’re seeing a lot of this right now, it’s not a straightforward comedy. It’s got a lot of dramatic elements, a lot of depth to it, and then, there’s f—ing wrestling.”
For more on GLOW, check out the video above.
The first season of GLOW drops on Netflix on Friday.