“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and writer Dan Palladino haven’t lost sight of where they’ve come from. The Emmy winners credit their work on “Gilmore Girls” as formative to their understanding of how to build a television series.
“‘Gilmore Girls’ was really our directorial training ground. We started directing those seasons and sort of built up to what we’re doing now in ‘Maisel,’ which is a lot more ambitious, a much bigger production. And we definitely could not have done ‘Maisel’ if we had not been through years of experience and training of ‘Gilmore Girls,’” Dan Palladino said in a phone interview with TODAY.
They wanted to find actors who would work as well together on “Mrs. Maisel” as their cast had on “Gilmore Girls.”
“Both these shows are being watched by people because you can see that the cast really, really gels and that there’s this great chemistry between them. So when we were casting ‘Maisel,’ we were definitely keeping that in mind,” Palladino said.
They have even brought certain fan favorite “Gilmore” stars to their latest and fourth season of “Mrs. Maisel.” When they realized they had a tiny window to bring on Milo Ventimiglia, they seized the opportunity. Ventimiglia played Jess on “Gilmore Girls.”
“You haven’t really lived until you have Milo walking around your set. Other than it’s just a good-looking guy walking around, he’s such a special person… The birds and chipmunks in Central Park were a little friendlier. Everything’s just a little better! It was just really, really a delight to have him hang around,” Sherman-Palladino said.
Kelly Bishop, who played Emily Gilmore on “Gilmore Girls,” will also join the “Maisel” crew this season. Sherman-Palladino says they love both Bishop and Ventimiglia “so much” and getting to work with them again is like working with family, “but family that you like.”
How Bishop and Ventimilgia’s roles will factor into the life of Midge Maisel, the show’s central character, will remain to be seen. Midge, played by Rachel Brosnahan, starts this season in anger after her release from Shy Baldwin’s tour in season three.
“It’s kind of the first time that she’s ever decided to take a strong stand and direction in the course of her career,” Sherman-Palladino said.
Midge and her manager, Susie Meyerson, played by Alex Borstein, will navigate this new era together.
“We’re just going to continue to see their evolution. We have a lot of surprises for them in the future. But, through thick and thin, those two are sort of the main relationship in the story. It’s almost a love story, in a way,” Palladino says.
Since this season was filmed during the pandemic, the cast could not travel far. That led Palladino and Sherman-Palladino to focus on developing the characters together, when they couldn’t be apart.
“We have fun really drilling down on all of these people — that’s why you’re going to see Moishe and Shirley more. You’re going to see Abe and Rose with Midge more. They’re just together in the same place and that really opened up new vistas that we had forgotten existed,” Palladino said.
When asked what message Sherman-Palladino would send to women who might be on the verge of making a career change, like Midge, she had a few words of wisdom.
“My advice to people in going into any sort of job that they care about and they feel passionate about is just don’t be afraid to get fired because you believe in something. And try to remember why you fell in love with something in the first place because life is quite hectic, and we pick roads and then we get so wrapped up in minutiae and outside things going around us that sometimes we kind of forget why we fell in love with something and why we picked that road in the first place. It’s the hardest thing to do is sort of keep your eye on the prize, but I think it’s the most important thing because if you keep coming back to: Why did I love this? Why did I want to do this?”
Season four of "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" premieres Feb. 18 on Amazon Prime Video.