Rachel Brosnahan (Miriam 'Midge' Maisel)
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Interview: Set Decorator Ellen Christiansen on Building the Memorable Surroundings of ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’  

A past Emmy winner for her work on Mildred Pierce, set decorator Ellen Christiansen earns her fifth consecutive Emmy bid for Outstanding Production Design this year for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which in its fifth and final season flashes forward to previously unseen eras. Christiansen’s collaboration with production designer Bill Groom and art director Neil Prince is critical to the signature look of its protagonist’s life and world.

Awards Radar had the chance to speak with Christiansen about the exciting new challenges presented in season five, like that memorable trash musical number:  

“It was such a fun thing to do. I mean, the trash thing, I personally had a great time with it because I got to pick out all the things that are in that massive trash pot and give them to the scenics. And we thought, what should we do? A little rubber mouse and we should do a pizza box, and it just went on and on. I went to our warehouse and thought, oh this is great, this is great. And then the scenics, of course, turned it into this beautiful, gorgeous living thing. And it was just really, really fun.”   

She also shared the process of researching and designing the writers’ room:  

“Bill and Neil really looked at a lot of shows from the period, and then we went with our well, this is our Maisel-ish version, with the beautiful colors and, not that it wasn’t historically correct, it’s just sometimes, we pick what we want from it. Getting all those seats was a thing, but we got them all. We had them upholstered orange and they look great. Finding exactly the right size sofa to go on that platform that looked very much like what was used on talk shows then, and all the equipment and the props helped with that. The TV cameras and all the sound equipment and all that kind of stuff is really more challenging than you think to have it there and look like it’s really working.”   

Listen to the full conversation below.  

Rachel Brosnahan (Miriam ‘Midge’ Maisel)

All five seasons of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel are streaming exclusively on Prime Video.


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Written by Abe Friedtanzer

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