“One of the things that emerged from early conversations with Julia Hart was that she had the passion for, and grew up loving, 1970s crime dramas, but she never saw herself, represented in them.”
In the crime drama, I’m Your Woman, directed and co-written by Hart, Rachel Brosnahan puts that right. On the run, after her husband betrays his partners, she’s a mother forced to make a dangerous journey.
“Julia mentioned the movie Thief, the 1981 movie directed by Michael Mann, and said it was a big inspiration and suggested that I watch it,” she explained. “I did and had the exact same feeling. Tuesday Weld plays such a dynamic and interesting woman, and then she disappears as soon as the action begins. I found myself saying, ‘Wait. What? I want to know more about her.’ This movie follows those characters who are rarely centered in the genre, and often relegated to being secondary characters.”
That wasn’t the only place the actress, who also co-produced I’m Your Woman, drew inspiration from. Diane Keaton’s performance in The Godfather had a significant impact on Brosnahan.
“Diane Keaton in the 70s, generally, and certainly in The Godfather was such an inspiration for me as an actor long before this film came round,” she gushed. “She can do no wrong as far as I’m concerned. She is incredible.”
I’m Your Woman will debut in select theaters on Friday, December 4, 2020, before a global launch on Prime Video on Friday, December 11, 2020. While Brosnahan headlines, it was her newborn co-stars that pushed her to turn in such an authentic performance.
“It was definitely challenging. Babies are unprofessional at best,” she laughed. “As much as it was one of the most challenging experiences I have ever had, at the same time, it was incredibly special. Babies don’t know that they’re in a movie. They have not read the script; they are living in the moment and living their lives. They force you to remain honest. What we’re all trying to do is tell a story and occupy these characters to the degree that you can’t tell that we’re acting.”
“Having a baby as a scene partner definitely continued to ground me through the process. Everyone had to remain flexible. We had to improvise and be in every single moment together. It was a really interesting experience. I did catch a few colds along the way from my partner. We shared that too.”
Brosnahan added, “In the end, I’m Your Woman is exactly the movie that it was always meant to be. One of the moments that blows me away is there’s a scene, without giving too much away, where an intruder is in the house. My character, Jean, grabs the baby, Harry, and runs into the closet to try to call for help. The babies were a bit under the weather, and they weren’t feeling great. We did a couple of takes, and they were a bit fussy as babies can be. Then the baby I was working with that day fell asleep in my arms. It added this additional layer of urgency.”
“Not only was I trying to call for help but also desperately trying not to wake sleeping baby. That was for two reasons. Firstly, I meant we could get through the scene. Secondly, for Jean, a baby waking up and crying could be life or death. So there’s this magical moment on screen where the baby wakes up for a brief second, and I held my breath. Then he went back to sleep. My relief is genuine. It was extraordinary. We could never have planned for that moment that so enriched what was already a quite powerful and complicated thing.”
Much of I’m Your Woman was filmed in winter, at night, in weather that made the shoot even more of an endurance test.
“It was not a break; I can assure you of that. As much as I loved it, it was really challenging,” Brosnahan explained. “I forget how many days in a row we did of night shoots. They all kind of blended together, but the cold definitely kept us awake. Similar to the babies, it added so much to all of our performances. One of the things that comes to mind is the frigid day in late November or early December. We shot the scene where, again, without giving too much away, Jean has left a dangerous situation and is on the move and doesn’t know where she is headed. It starts to rain, and it just one thing too many for her to deal with, and she has a massive breakdown.”
“One take, and I can’t remember if it’s the one they used in the film, but I was so cold that I literally could not cry. Tears would not come, and my face felt like it froze. I couldn’t move my face, and it struck me as so funny in the moment, but I was simultaneously laughing and crying and thinking that I must look completely insane and wondering if it would even remotely make sense for the movie. It ended up adding a really interesting layer to that scene.”
I’m Your Woman also allowed The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel actress to be a producer. It was an experience that opened up a whole new perspective to her.
“I had been interested in producing and didn’t know exactly how I might begin to walk down that path. I was interested in beginning to take more control of my career and to carve out two different paths of myself,” Brosnahan enthused. “This beautiful script came across my desk, and I wanted to be a part of it immediately. The director, Julia, and her husband, Jordan Horowitz, who co-wrote the film with her, invited me into this role as a producer alongside him. I’m immensely grateful to them for that opportunity. Jordan, to his credit, gave me the space to learn and to grow.”
That, however, by no means meant that this was going to be any easier of a ride for the actress.
“Jordan also challenged me and forced me to learn on my feet, to think quickly, and allowed me space to get my hands dirty and be part of the development process with them. That happened from very early on,” Brosnahan explained. “I hadn’t quite realized how little time actors get to spend with the characters that they play. We might get the scripts a couple of months in advance, and we’re lucky if we have some rehearsal time before we start shooting. Most of that preparation happens alone. To be in constant conversation with my collaborators on this project and spend so much time with the changes she underwent in the development process was eye-opening. That made the performance so much richer, and I think it shows.”
I’m Your Woman will debut in select theaters on Friday, December 4, 2020, before a global launch on Prime Video on Friday, December 11, 2020.