Stephanie Hsu, who plays Mei, says the role was a dream job. “I had never seen a character like Mei before—a character that was a Chinese American woman in a period piece—but also smart, strong, and contemporary for her time. It was powerful for me, personally.”
Will Midge and Lenny finally act on their mutual attraction next year?
Sterling K. Brown thinks they should. During his panel with the cast for Paleyfest, Brown took a few minutes to gush over Brosnahan and Luke Kirby’s chemistry, especially in the Miami club scenes. “That shit was butter,” Brown says with a laugh. “Absolute butter. I don’t know what Amy and Dan have planned, but I love the relationship that Rachel and Luke have as Midge and Lenny. They are two good-looking people on screen that have a bond that goes beyond that. It’s hot and sexy. Then when you have the two of them looking at each other? I’m like, ‘Shit, it’s about to go down!’”
While Brosnahan has said in the past that she’d like for the pair to remain platonic, even she acknowledges there’s something magnetic in those scenes. “As much of the pace of the show is set, it changes when Luke comes in the room,” she says. “It feels like a completely different side of Midge that I am not in control of.”
Sure, Kirby is easy on the eyes, but a large part of the attraction is how Lenny supports Midge’s career and genuinely champions her. “He’s obsessed with the human experience from a multitude of angles and is always looking for a through line of simpatico in our experience together,” Kirby says. “So, yeah, I do think it’s fair to say he would be very considerate about Midge’s experience and what she’s had to endure and be very sympathetic about it.”
Sherman-Palladino says it’s no coincidence that Lenny Bruce—the only Maisel character who was a real person—you see on the show is written that way. Years ago, she says, she would have breakfast every weekend with Bruce’s mother, Sally Marr; in their time together, Sherman-Palladino says, she got to see how strong Marr was. “As odd as [Lenny’s] upbringing may have been, she instilled a respect for strong women,” she says. “In all the stories I’ve heard about him, there was never anything that felt sexist. It was just the opposite. He was a cheerleader.”
What does Zachary Levi’s return mean for season four?
Viewers never saw Midge break things off with Benjamin at the end of season two, leaving everyone to wonder when Levi would pop up in season three. By the time he did—in episodes seven and eight—one had to wonder if the timing of his appearance was because of Levi’s own busy schedule or if it was always planned for Benjamin to be absent until then. “It’s both,” Palladino says. “We wanted to pay the Benjamin story off, but first you have to suss out if the actor is remotely available. Zach was like, ‘I want to make it happen. I want to do it.’”