US stand-up and WTF podcast king talks about his role in new Netflix comedy GLOW
GLOW stands for Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, a real-life wrestling program from the 1980s which featured many aspiring actresses, dancers and singers. The Netflix show created by Liz Flahive and Carly Mensch, and starring Alison Brie and Betty Gilpin, tells a fictionalised story of these women as they wrestle with their personal lives and careers. One of the only men who appears in the cast is Marc Maron (host of podcast WTF), as down on his luck B-movie director Sam Sylvia in charge of televising GLOW, who was chosen for the role on the power of one audition tape he sent in.
How would you describe Sam and why did you choose to audition for the role?
Well, I've been through some stuff! Just from being a guy who has made a lot of mistakes and been through some dark times I like that this guy was not aware that he was going through those things really – that he still felt like he was on top of shit. I like the idea of a guy who's not a bad guy but acts badly. There was a lot of opportunity for redemption in a way. It's a great character for a guy if he does get handed his ass, which Sam does, I relate to that. The fact that he is humbled and he's not really an evil force or even that insensitive I thought there was a lot of heart to that. That's what made me want to do it.
Over the course of the show Brian De Palma is mentioned quite a few times. Were there any directors you looked at for inspiration in your role?
Certainly De Palma. It was written as his hero and he probably saw that whole crew of guys in the 70s as something he wanted to be or thought to some degree he was along the same lines as them. I understood the creative swagger he had and what inspired him. But I think he believed that given the right opportunity he could be right up there with those guys.
How was it for you to work with such a large group of women on this show?
It was humbling and educational. I'd never spent that much time with that many women ever.
And what did you learn?
I just became impressed with how they came together and how the community of the set became very tight. I kept a little bit of a distance, in the sense that I don't have terrific personal boundaries, so they would all sit in this one area and I was like 'I can't do that'. I would not be able to keep it together, just by the pace of the conversation. I certainly liked everybody and had a great time but I did need to keep a space so I could stay in the character.
It was really moving in some ways. The [wrestling] ring has an effect. We're on this big sound stage and there's just this big ring sitting in the middle of it. There's a sense of theatre to it. Once you enter the ring you're in an elevated space. The first day we were shooting I'm watching these amazing actresses have a fight and I'm starting to tear up. The physical engagement and the emotional engagement of Betty and Alison was stunning. It really was their show and I was servicing that. I knew my place in a good way.
GLOW is on Netflix from Fri 23 Jun