Rachel Brosnahan and Julia Hart talk going full 1970s in I'm Your Woman
Cue up some vinyl and dust off your bell-bottoms, because Rachel Brosnahan and Julia Hart are about to take you back to the 1970s.
Brosnahan plays the lead role in I'm Your Woman, a '70s-set crime drama directed and co-written by Hart. The film premiered on opening night of this year's virtual edition of AFI Fest, and EW's Awardist sat down with Brosnahan and Hart to talk about delving into the Me Decade, the allure of gender-swapping the male-dominated crime dramas of the era, and what it's like to share so much screen time with a baby.
Instead of following a male gangster and only occasionally checking in with the woman in his life, Hart's film turns the genre on its head and follows the woman, Jean (Brosnahan), and a baby as they go on the run and try to make sense of what to do next. As she tries to stay safe, Jean's life intersects with a man (Arinzé Kene) and woman (Marsha Stephanie Blake) who help her learn how to do more than just survive.
"It was so fun, and it was a relief," Brosnahan said of trading her Marvelous Mrs. Maisel '50s looks for the signature threads of the '70s. "As much as I love that role and that project, and I've learned an incredible amount over the last couple of years playing Midge Maisel, it was so nice to put on literally a completely different skin in a way… I feel like a character isn't complete until you get to look in the mirror and see them in front of you. It was fun to be able to catch Jean's reflection in a mirror during certain scenes and not recognize myself. It helped me dive deeper into this character."
Brosnahan and Hart also discussed their research process and how much the movies of the era influenced the filmmaking. Hart says they wanted to do a screening every week with the whole crew, but filming was just too busy to make that happen. Instead, they traded lists of influential films and posted stills around the production office.
Brosnahan also rewatched Michael Mann's Thief — which was so important to I'm Your Woman that Mann got a "special thanks" credit — while on location in Pittsburgh. "I felt a connection to Tuesday Weld's character in Thief in a way that, even though I knew that movie had been so important to you guys in writing this script and has been an inspiration, it wasn't until I was in Pittsburgh days from shooting this movie that I rewatched it and I felt a piece of Jean cracked open," Brosnahan recounted to Hart.
The I'm Your Woman panel also included an exclusive clip from the film, featuring Jean's introduction to the baby who becomes a crucial part of her story. "It was one of the hardest things I've ever done, but I'm so proud of some of the moments that emerged, through our relationship," Brosnahan said of working with a baby as her primary scene partner. "Ultimately, I think it adds a really special layer to the film and taught me a lot about being present. Even when you think you're being present as an actor, you're never as present as when you're holding a living, breathing baby, who you can feel physically responding to your emotional state. It was pretty cool."
Watch the video above for more from the AFI Fest conversation with Hart and Brosnahan, including their favorite needle drops from the '70s-infused score.
I'm Your Woman hits theaters and VOD Dec. 11.