Totally Kate interviews Kate Mulgrew October 10, 2014 in New York City
Orange Is The New Black season 2 returns to Netflix on June 6, 2014
Video from shoot for Elle Magazine
2013 Holiday Message
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I’ve had an extraordinary year – probably one of the most unexpected, mysterious, and galvanizing years of my life. I met a literary agent at a dinner party about 8 months ago and mentioned to him that I was a closet writer and had been for many years, to which he responded “Well, why don’t you think about peeking out of the closet and sending me a few pages of what you think your memoir would be like?”. I didn’t over-think it, I just went into a quiet room, sat down, and before I knew it there were 40 pages and a sample chapter which I submitted without thinking, whereupon he called me and said “I’m sending this to publishers immediately!”. One week later it had gone to auction, and I had a deal with Little, Brown. So it appears my memoir will be on bookshelves by May of 2015 – although the very writing of this makes me want to curl up into a ball and scream “Where’s my closet?!”. Having said all that, there is no time like the present and so as soon as season two on ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK wraps in January, I will go south with the rest of the geese and I will write this book.
Season 2 of ONB, like the book, has been entirely surprising, but since we are drawn and quartered if we give any spoilers at all, suffice it to say that the greatest tensions that can exist inside the women’s prison will be stretched to the breaking point in this season’s work. There will be gasps and shudders of horror, joy, shame and delight. But, as is mandated, you are just going to have to stream it in your own time!
Finally, I can’t remember when I’ve been happier – a word I have never used lightly – there’s a sense of buoyancy in my heart and in my imagination that has been missing for some time. Almost an ebullience. I often find myself standing stock still in the middle of the street or the park or in a subway station and just gazing at a flower, a person’s face, a couple embracing. And always with the sensation that it is brand new and is somehow made for me to see just then, in that moment, on that subway platform. It’s a blissful kind of existentialism I have never known and I am going to sail into 2014 with this in mind – wishing the same for each and every one of you.
Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays and the Happiest of New Years!
Orange Is the New Black
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
8:30 pm ET
Moderator: Elvis Mitchell
CARLY MILLS. Pilot (Comedy), 30 min., Unaired, Produced for ABC for the 1986-87 season. Production Company: MTM Enterprises. Director: Rod Daniel. Executive Producer: John Steven Owen. Producer: Rod Daniel. Writer: John Steven Owen. Kate Mulgrew is a traditional, old-fashioned mother, married to an overworked college professor (Jack Bannon), who has chosen to be a housewife and raise their four children because she wants to.
Cast: Kate Mulgrew (as Carly Mills), Jack Bannon (Evan Mills), Matt Adler (Pete Mills), Amanda Peterson (Trisha Mills), Hannah Cutrona (Brigid Mills), R. J. William (Jeffy Mills), Betsy Randall (Maggie Wallace), Rebecca Rush (Cynthia James).
A BRIEF HISTORY OF CARLY MILLS
By John Steven Owen
Executive producer and writer of the pilot CARLY MILLS in 1986
CARLY MILLS was basically the story of a wife and mother of four trying to keep her family together in a culture that was seeing more and more families splintering and losing sight of old-fashioned values. A lot of women with children in the 1980s were housewives but they weren’t really represented on TV at that time; on TV they were divorced, widowed, lawyers, cops, anything but stay-at-home moms… like mine, a mother of six. Each episode would be “a life in the day” of Carly and her family, beginning and ending in a 24-hour period.
I was in my fifth year at MTM as a writer-producer when ABC bought my pilot script and, with casting director Eugene Blyth, we began seeing actresses on a daily basis– Teri Garr, Paula Prentiss, Shelley Fabares, Jean Smart, Dixie Carter– all of them wonderful, none of them right. Then Gene brought Kate in. She nailed the audition and you believed she could have taken on any number of professions but chose to be a housewife and mother. I was happy, MTM was happy, and ABC, for a time, was happy…
Jan. 29: Kate agrees to play “Carly” and I start outlining a season’s worth of episodes with her voice clearly in my head.
Feb. 6: Kate’s deal is finalized; it’s official now.
Feb. 14: Kate reads a scene with Jack Bannon (“Evan”) for the first time and everyone agrees they have a strong chemistry.
Mar. 12: Rehearsals start and continue through the week. One day director Rod Daniel takes me aside and says the final scene looks good on the page but not on the stage: “It just isn’t working, no matter what we do. You want us to keep trying?” I say no, I’ll re-write it, so Rod sends everybody home and I re-write it that afternoon. The next day, the cast sits around a table, reads it aloud, and Kate says, “It’s a hundred times better, not that the other ending wasn’t good, it was, everyone loved it, we did, honestly, we just couldn’t do it right, that’s all, and this one, well, I know we can do this one right, and now I think I’ll shut up,” and she kisses me on the cheek.
Mar. 19, 20, 21: Filming. On the last day of the shoot, one of my brothers drives my mom up from San Diego to spend the day on the set. The cast and crew know the character of Carly is based on her and they treat her like royalty at first, then when they get to know how warm and down-to-earth she is, they relax. She and Kate hit it off immediately, as I knew they would.
In the new final scene, Carly is in bed, awakened by sounds coming from the kitchen, She gets up to reveal she’s wearing an ankle-length nightgown, pulls on a robe, then goes out to see what’s going on. Kate comes over to me and asks if she has to wear the long nightgown, can’t she instead wear a shortie nightgown as she sometimes does at home. (I have a suspicion that either Leah or Pat in the Costume Department had said she has great legs, why not show them off. And it’s true, she does have great legs, but our focus has to be on her becoming aware of the sounds in the kitchen, not on her legs). So I say that the point of the pilot, of the series, is Carly’s attempt to get her family back to some of the old-fashioned virtues and, in that vein, a shortie nightgown might seem inappropriate. Kate thinks it over, nods, and walks away. Then she walks back. “What kind of nightgown does your mother wear,” she asks me, “just out of curiosity?” A full-length nightgown, I reply. Kate nods, walks away. I quickly call Mom over: “I need you to be prepared in case Kate takes you aside and asks you what kind of nightgown you wear. I need you to say you wear a full-length one, okay?” Mom says okay then adds, “But I sometimes wear a shortie nightgown.” “You can’t tell her that!” I say with some insistence. “I need her to wear a full-length gown so we don’t see her legs.” “But she has great legs,” says Mom. When she sees the steam coming out of my ears, she assures me she’ll deliver the message. Not ten minutes later, Kate is taking Mom aside and asking her something. Mom indicates a nightgown down to her ankles. Kate smiles, thanks her, walks off. Mom gives me a thumbs-up, we shoot the scene, and when Kate sees it in dailies later– and I swear this is true– she says to me, “Your mother was right. The long nightgown works much better.” I say nothing, which is rare for me.
ABC sees a rough cut of the pilot and decide the opening kitchen scene, in which each member of the Mills family is introduced, moves too fast; they want us to re-shoot it and slow it down and they’ll split the additional $250,000 with MTM, raising the total cost of the pilot to a cool million bucks. Pretty expensive for 1986. So we do what’s been asked of us, then we have a screening for the cast and crew and any employee at MTM who wants to see it– and a lot do, the theater is packed. When it’s over, the applause is long and sincere and Kate hugs me and I have visions of a five-year run, at the very least…
Well, you never get the full story of why a pilot isn’t picked up for series. Ask a dozen people at ABC why they eventually passed on it and you’ll get twelve different reasons: the test audience scores weren’t high enough, or there wasn’t an available time-slot or a compatible show to pair us up with, or an executive who had championed the show was no longer with the network, or or or…
Kate was performing two plays in repertory at the Doolittle and I went to see HEDDA GABLER first and we had drinks after. I knew that she had been advised back in January not to leave the stage for a sit-com, that she would come to regret it, and I asked her if that were true, if she did regret it. She gave me that great smile of hers and said, “Not a single moment of it,” and we spent the rest of the evening re-living the highs and lows of what we’d just been through. The next week I saw her in THE REAL THING and we met afterwards and managed to talk about things other than CARLY. Except once. As I was leaving, Kate said, “Give my love to your mother, would you?”
Kate Mulgrew plays Galina ‘Red’ Reznikov in the new Netflix original series Orange Is The New Black. All 13 episodes of season one are available to watch on Netflix.
Netflix has already renewed the show for season two. Both the show and Kate are getting wonderful reviews. Check out pics, reviews and articles on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblir, Pinterest (links on the right).
Elaine Stritch, Stephen Sondheim, George Takei, Liza Minnelli, Alec Baldwin, Bernadette Peters AND sitting at the same table as Kate Mulgrew....what's not to love, right?
Well, that's what I thought when I discovered there were tickets available to sit at Kate's table for the Stella by Starlight gala, set for June 10th 2013. After much deliberation with my darling husband we decided we could make it happen and promptly organized our two day get away to Manhattan.
Sunday, June 9th...8:30am, we eagerly exited the airport and made our way to the hotel, checked in and went sight seeing. Kris (my husband) and I immediately fell in love with the city! When I next looked at my watch it was 1pm, I remembered "Somewhere Fun" had a 3pm matinee performance that day so I called the theatre and asked if tickets were still available, thankfully there were so we hightailed it to a subway station. The play was amazing, beautifully written, the acting was marvelous and Kate was of course superb. After the performance there was to be a discussion with some of the cast so Kris and I decided to stay. Kathleen Chalfant, Richard Bekins and Jenny Schwartz did a Q and A with the audience. They talked about some of the symbolism throughout the play, the wonderful writing style Jenny has and the main themes that run throughout. Hearing the actors viewpoints on the writing and what it means to their portrayal of the characters was definitely enlightening. After the discussion finished we ended up walking out with Kathleen Chalfant, she was lovely and very appreciative that we came to see the play. Deciding we needed dinner and a drink we once again ventured out to discover what Manhattan had to offer.
Monday, June 10th....After getting lunch at a colorful little hole in the wall pizza joint we decided to have fun traveling on the subways, Kris loved them, don't ask! Eventually it came time for us to go back to the hotel so I could get ready for the gala. My stomach was starting to do back flips and cartwheels, I was definitely a little nervous! 6pm rolled around and in to a taxi we hopped. We arrived right outside Espace and Kris walked me to the door, gave me a peck on the cheek and went on his merry way to explore some more. So here I was, by myself and completely at a loss as to what I was meant to do now. Thankfully, the organizers were nice and told me to check my coat and have a drink, which I did. As I was standing there I happened to see a woman whom I thought I recognized from Facebook, after asking her name and making sure I wasn't wrong I discovered it was Connie! Happy that I kind of knew at least one person, calmness found me again. As Connie and I were chatting Kate arrived with her son, Alec and his girlfriend. We all introduced ourselves and Kate had to run off and "mingle" but not before telling me where the bar was, holding up my drink I told her I had already managed to find that, definitely needed a bit of liquid courage!
Eventually we were seated for dinner, sadly Connie was at a different table and I was again all by myself. There was no need for me to worry though, Kate had me at ease pretty quick, she definitely loves asking questions! She stated she was very thankful that I bought a ticket and explained that the cost of my ticket put one under privileged kid through the studio, that definitely made me feel good! As George Takei was heading toward his seat Kate waved him over and congratulated him on his award then proceeded to introduce us, let me just say his voice is amazing! There were several other people seated at our table, I can't remember most of them but I do remember the man that definitely made my night, Alexander Bernstein. He came and sat to my right and we immediately were engrossed in conversation about his father, New Zealand and the education systems in both countries. What a wonderful man, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting him...anyway, you are all more interested in Kate I'm sure. When dinner was served and the awards started I was facing away from the stage, across the table from Kate. The lovely man on her right, who's name eludes me asked if I wanted to switch seats with him so I could see the stage better. Gracefully I accepted his offer and plonked down next to Kate who proceeded to laugh and call me stubborn for not switching with her earlier when she offered.
Getting to see George Takei and Stephen Sondheim accept their awards was a treat, they were both hilarious. There was an intermission so dessert could be served. I was now sitting between Kate and a very well known doctor who's name I cannot remember (I have a bad memory, don't judge, he will now be referred to as "The Doctor"). The Doctor introduced himself and asked how I knew Kate, what a laugh! I explained about the ticket opportunity that Totally Kate had available and how it was an event that I couldn't miss. Delighted by this he then proceeded to ask Kate about her role as Captain Janeway and how she felt about the influence it had on women in general. She proceeded to tell of her trip to the White House and how she was deeply moved by the women she met that night. Kate is very proud of Janeway and for good reason. Eventually, Alec overheard The Doctor say something about New Zealand and that got us on the topic of rugby. I was intrigued to find out Alec is the captain of his team and loves the sport, Go All Blacks! Kate respects the sport but definitely is motherly when it comes to Alec getting hurt, that had us chuckling. The hosts of the awards, Jane Levy and Keith Powell came back on stage and started the awards again. Liza Minnelli came on stage and talked about meeting Elaine Stritch and the impact she had on her as a girl, then Bernadette Peters came on stage and sung a Stephen Sondheim song for Elaine, amazing experience. Elaine Stritch then came up to accept her award, she was a hoot, such a lively woman, I'm glad I had the opportunity to see her in person.
The night started winding down and Kate nudged me and said she would walk me out before she left. I told her I had so many things I wanted to ask her but couldn't remember any of them! Laughing, she proceeded to say she was doing a play at Vineyard Theatre, I jumped on that and told her I had seen it the day before and that my husband and I thought it was brilliantly written and performed. We proceeded to chat about the play and her "melting" on stage. She then signed my program and also one for a friend. All too soon the gala had come to an end and I was walking with Kate to collect my coat, we met up with Connie and stood in line waiting for the coat check. I then asked if I could have a photo, Connie took a couple of pics for me. Kate gave me a kiss and a hug and again thanked me for coming. Before leaving she said that she will be seeing me again, me not being so sure I raised my eyebrow and gave her a questioning look, Kate said she knows these things and it will happen. All I can say is I hope she is right, Kate is an amazing and interesting person whom I would very much like to see again.
Kate Mulgrew is a member of the board of directors of Stella Adler Studio of Acting