• Follow us

Celebrities

Michelle Williams and Sam Rockwell are swearing off chicken and cigarettes after 'Fosse/Verdon'

Michelle Williams never wants to see a chicken breast again. And though Sam Rockwell used to enjoy the occasional smoke, half a year spent with a cigarette dangling from his lip has destroyed any remaining love for nicotine.

Devoting eight months to rehearsing and shooting the FX limited series “Fosse/Verdon” has left a permanent mark on the vices and diets of its two Emmy-nominated stars. Seeing each other for the first time since the production wrapped in late March, Williams and Rockwell greet each other like reunited siblings who made it through an exhausting childhood and somehow still love their demanding parents.

“We haven’t shared our battle stories,” Williams says, holding Rockwell’s hands. She pauses, giving him the once-over, seemingly having trouble reconciling the man before her with the actor who played the balding Fosse. “I like you with hair. You look good.”

The exhaustive and sometimes exhausting eight-part “Fosse/Verdon” examined the stormy creative and romantic partnership of its title characters, Tony Award-winning dancer Gwen Verdon and Broadway choreographer and film director Bob Fosse. The couple collaborated on Broadway hits (“Damn Yankees,” “Chicago”) and the Oscar-winning film version of “Cabaret.”

Advertisement

“Fosse/Verdon” devoted episodes to these projects, relishing the pair’s showbiz history, which included relationships with Neil Simon, Paddy Chayefsky and Liza Minnelli. The series also served as a corrective, establishing Verdon’s crucial contributions to the self-loathing Fosse’s successes.

“I wasn’t fully aware of her legacy and the extent of her invisible handprint on his career until this,” Williams says, adding she wouldn’t have done the series if it had merely been a standard depiction of a great, flawed man. After Williams was cast, “Fosse/Verdon” became an equal partnership and, in the process, evolved into an empathetic, honest look at gender inequities.

“Gwen shouldered the load professionally and in their life together too,” Williams adds. “She had to sacrifice a lot to get what she deserved.”

Williams and Rockwell are tucked inside an office at the motion picture academy’s Beverly Hills headquarters. They’re here for a “Fosse/Verdon” Emmy event and outfitted accordingly, Williams wearing a black cardigan and leopard print skirt and Rockwell rocking a burgundy print suit. Rockwell lets his costar do most of the talking, affirming most of her recollections with an emphatic “yeah” that carries vestiges of the Texas accent he employed playing George W. Bush in “Vice.”

Advertisement

He repeatedly likens making “Fosse/Verdon” to filming four independent movies — two months of prep, six months of filming, 16-hour days, weekends spent learning lines, countless packs of cigarettes and, for him, huge chunks of time spent lugging around his beloved German shepherd in order to strengthen his core for the series’ dance numbers.

Verdon and Fosse each went through emotional upheavals at a young age. As a teenager, Verdon was forced to marry a family friend who impregnated her; Fosse’s sexuality became forever complicated when he was molested by fellow burlesque dancers early in his career.

“They had similar traumas but dealt with them in different ways — she wanted to go out, he wanted to go in,” Williams says. “That probably made it insufferable to live together but is also probably what brought them together in the first place.”

“They were two broken people who needed that buzz, that showbiz fix,” Rockwell adds. “I relate to that.” He turns to Williams and, again, they clasp hands. “I think you relate to that too. You gotta bleed a little bit. What’s the point if you don’t leave a little blood on the stage?”

“When you’ve been to the moon, it’s hard to return to Earth,” Williams replies softly. “These two people were stage animals and they became addicted to the audience giving them a love and approval that they didn’t have when they were children, a love and approval that made them feel whole. And I think both of them struggled to figure out how to get that love when they weren’t onstage.”

Williams and Rockwell agree that it’s strange they’d never worked together before “Fosse/Verdon.” Rockwell, 50, lives in the East Village with his longtime girlfriend, Leslie Bibb, and has long been active on the New York stage. “I’ve been to all his plays,” says Williams, 38, a fellow New Yorker, who has done a fair amount of stage work herself, including nearly a year playing Sally Bowles in “Cabaret.” They both cop to being “theater nerds” and gravitate toward indie film projects.

“We should have been so many other people to each other at this point,” Williams says. “I guess we made up for lost time doing this.”

Advertisement

Rockwell has never spent more than three or four months on a play, and when Williams tells him about the year she spent on “Cabaret,” he needs about a minute to process that kind of commitment, whispering, “wow,” “that’s a lot,” “a year … I can’t believe it” while Williams talks about the mental toll it took on her. For “Fosse/Verdon,” she trained and dieted (no carbs, lots of animal protein … hence the permanent aversion to chicken breasts) and never had a day off. But she could always ask for another take while filming a movie or TV project. Onstage, she notes, there’s no such safety net.

“ ‘Fosse/Verdon’ was harder technically, emotionally, physically, logistically,” Williams says, comparing the projects, while Rockwell intones, “For a year? Jesus!” “But spiritually … it’s hard to get up in front of a thousand real people every night. You’re so exposed. There’s nothing to hide behind. And, for better and for worse, you can feel the audience strongly and it imprints on you. I just felt raw doing it. It was crucifyingly difficult.”

“When you hear people in the audience coughing, that’s what gets me,” Rockwell says. Williams covers her face. “The coughing … it’s excruciating.”

Would she do it again? Of course, she replies.

“There’s that scene in the last episode when Gwen does the benefit for Staten Island Mental Health,” Williams says, explaining. “That’s where her stage is at that point in her life. It’s a small stage, but she still takes it. She’s a fish and she needs to swim. She needs that water to live. So if there’s a puddle, she’s going to jump in.”

“What actor can’t relate to that?” Rockwell asks.

“If they’re being honest, each and every one,” Williams answers.

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

Global News : Entertainment

Camila Cabello takes stand against body shamers on 2019-08-07 13:49:24"Girls, cellulite is normal," said the 'Havana' singer in a lengthy Instagram story. "Fat is normal."

Listen: Tool releases ‘Fear Inoculum,’ the band’s first 2019-08-07 12:51:36The full album is set for an Aug. 30 worldwide release.

‘Bachelor in Paradise’ drama spills into real life 2019-08-07 12:21:13Blake Horstmann said he released screenshots of the text messages on social media because he "wanted to take to time address what is being portrayed

Monica Lewinsky to produce ‘Impeachment,’ next season of 2019-08-07 10:46:00'American Crime Story: Impeachment' is set for a fall 2020 release.

Cannibal Corpse announces North American fall tour, 6 2019-08-06 16:07:12The 'Hammer Smashed Face' headbangers return to Canada this fall with their own headlining tour.

Jon Voight posts video claiming racism ‘solved long 2019-08-06 15:01:50The 'Deliverance' star defended the U.S. president in what he called his 'Message to America.'

‘The Rookie’ co-star Afton Williamson quits show, alleging 2019-08-06 14:45:25"I will not be returning for Season 2 of 'The Rookie,'" the actress wrote on Instagram. "I owe it to you, my amazing fans, to share the truth."

Casey Affleck opens up about sexual harassment allegations, 2019-08-06 14:23:16"I felt like the best thing to do was to just be quiet so that I didn't seem to be in opposition to something that I really wanted to champion," Ca

Alf Clausen, longtime ‘Simpsons’ composer, sues Fox over 2019-08-06 12:57:21Alf Clausen, 78, filed the lawsuit alleging age discrimination, wrongful termination and retaliation nearly two years after he was let go.

Stephen Colbert says America’s gun culture is ‘melting 2019-08-06 12:21:37Following U.S. President Donald Trump's remarks addressing mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, Stephen Colbert lashed out at the leader in his show's

Billy Ray Cyrus, Dallas Smith set to co-host 2019-08-06 06:10:15Global News chatted with the hosts ahead of the CCMA Award ceremony set to take place on Sunday, Sept. 8 at 9 p.m.

On the ground at Veld Music Festival 2019: 2019-08-05 11:52:46Global News was on the ground at Veld Music Festival this year, and here's what it felt like.

Arts & Entertainment -

Beyoncé's next appearance? The Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery 2019-08-07 13:13:45The photo of the singer to be displayed at the Smithsonian was part of a Vogue issue that made history with its first cover shot by a black photograph

Panic at Broadway's 'To Kill a Mockingbird' after 2019-08-07 12:43:33"To Kill a Mockingbird" ended early Tuesday after crowds who thought they heard gunshots tried to flee both into and out of the Shubert Theatre.

A brief encounter with a very tall DJ: 2019-08-07 12:42:08Go backstage at L.A.'s Hard Festival with Hall of Fame hoopster and "world's biggest" bass DJ, Shaquille O'Neal.

Ariana Grande 'can't get over' her surprise duet 2019-08-07 12:18:45Pop star Ariana Grande gushed over her surprise duet of "No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)" with idol Barbra Streisand in Chicago on Tuesday.

Zoos have an image problem. Can Animal Planet 2019-08-07 12:00:17"The Zoo: San Diego" is the latest in a spate of Animal Planet docuseries to focus on conservation, not captivity, at world-class zoos and aquariums

Meet the former diplomat and soap opera producer 2019-08-07 09:00:03Colleen Bell is the new executive director of the California Film Commission and she's making the rounds, visiting major TV and film production sites

Michelle Williams and Sam Rockwell are swearing off 2019-08-07 08:00:46Emmy-nominated "Fosse/Verdon" is a showbiz tale of 'two broken people' that Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams understood implicitly.

'Fosse/Verdon' music duo feels the vibe in their 2019-08-07 08:00:10Alex Lacamoire and Steven Gizicki joined up to create the musical beats for FX's limited series "Fosse/Verdon."

'Avatar' home base Manhattan Beach Studios is sold 2019-08-07 08:00:02The 22-acre production facility is part of a transaction that moves Hackman Capital Partners into production services.

David Rubin elected president of the Academy of 2019-08-07 01:27:33The film academy's new president immediately inherits a range of challenges facing the 92-year-old institution

Best Live Music around L.A.: Carly Rae Jepsen, 2019-08-06 22:46:24The week's concert picks include a beloved pop queen and a who's-who-in-hip-hop gathering.

With the Academy Museum director out, big questions 2019-08-06 22:08:18Will the departure of Kerry Brougher push back the opening of the museum even more?

Entertainment - The

James Corden's Mock Audience Q&A Goes Off Rails 2019-08-07 11:20:02The impersonations and a confused security guard ticked him off in a seriously funny bit.

Models, Time's Up Join Forces Against Victoria's Secret 2019-08-07 11:18:18Former VS Angel Doutzen Kroes, supermodel Christy Turlington Burns, and actress and model Milla Jovovich all signed the open letter.

Comedy Central Star Shares Why He Aired Gun 2019-08-07 10:30:30Arturo Castro initially delayed airing the sketch, which tackles how mass shootings are a uniquely American problem.

Blondie's Debbie Harry Reveals In Memoir That She 2019-08-07 10:19:07“In the end, the stolen guitars hurt me more than the rape," the "Heart of Glass" singer wrote.

Donald Trump Is Now 1st President To Misspell 2019-08-07 10:12:52The talk show host zinged the Twitter-challenged leader on his latest gaffe.

Dakota Johnson Reveals Medical Reason For Losing Her 2019-08-07 10:03:47It is no more.

Jon Voight Declares Racism 'Solved' And People Are 2019-08-07 09:13:00"If there was an Oscar for banal whitesplaining, Jon Voight deserves one," one Twitter user said.

'America's Got Talent' Opera Singer Emanne Beasha Earns 2019-08-07 06:57:48Guest judge Jay Leno pushed the button to vault the young diva to the live show.

Seth Meyers Takes New York Times To Task 2019-08-07 06:53:18"You’re supposed to be the paper of record, not the paper of record scratches," said the host of NBC's "Late Night."

Ariana Grande Can't Get Over Her Duet With 2019-08-07 06:39:29The "thank u, next" pop star gushed to the point of tears about her surprise performance with the entertainment legend on Tuesday.

Trevor Noah Nails Strangest Part Of Sean Hannity's 2019-08-07 05:40:02"The Daily Show" host said Hannity's proposal "sounds like the bleakest Dr. Seuss book ever."

Colbert Nails The Exact Moment Fox News Accidentally 2019-08-06 23:31:41"Late Show" host finds an awkward moment on "Fox & Friends."

CBC | Arts News

R. Kelly faces 2 new sex charges in 2019-08-05 16:25:06Minnesota authorities charged R. Kelly on Monday with two counts of prostitution and solicitation involving a girl under 18 in 2001, adding to the lis

The Rookie co-star quits show, alleging sex assault 2019-08-05 12:05:50In an Instagram post, Afton Williamson, co-star of ABC's The Rookie, says she was harassed by a recurring guest star, bullied by executive producers

'What will it take?': Dayton, El Paso shootings 2019-08-04 17:21:45Rihanna, Chris Evans and Reese Witherspoon are among the Hollywood stars renewing calls for gun control following two mass shootings in the U.S. withi

Inspiration vs. plagiarism: Why Katy Perry's Dark Horse 2019-08-04 04:00:00The copyright infringement verdict against Katy Perry's hit single Dark Horse might appear as a victory for underdog artists, but it's also raising

Romance ripoff: as self-published fiction flourishes, so does 2019-08-04 04:00:00Romance novels are in a golden era, thanks to prolific self-published authors who sell their books online and readers who can't get enough of them. B

How Stratford Festival is adapting to a post-#MeToo 2019-08-03 14:08:00Stratford Festival says it's working to include more diverse voices, production staff and actors to its repertoire, to be "more inclusive of half th

Why guest-editing British Vogue made Meghan Markle a 2019-08-03 04:00:00The Duchess of Sussex’s guest-editing of the September issue of British Vogue has made Meghan the focus of both criticism and praise for her for

Ed Sheeran sets all-time highest-grossing tour record at 2019-08-02 14:00:17Trade publication, Pollstar, confirms British singer Ed Sheeran's Divide tour will set the all-time highest-grossing tour record.

Swedish court temporarily frees A$AP Rocky from jail 2019-08-02 13:12:02A Swedish court has ruled that American rapper A$AP Rocky and two other U.S. suspects can be freed from detention until Aug. 14, when the verdict on t

R. Kelly pleads not guilty to sexually abusing 2019-08-02 12:03:00R&B singer R. Kelly pleads not guilty Friday in New York to federal charges he sexually abused women and girls.

Katy Perry among those ordered to pay a 2019-08-01 19:37:07A jury has found that Katy Perry, her collaborators and her record label must pay $2.78 US million because the pop star's 2013 hit Dark Horse co

Fans of song stole Old Town Road sign, 2019-08-01 19:24:26When American rapper and singer Lil Nas X penned the lyrics: "Yeah, I'm gonna take my horse to the old town road" in his record breaking song,

Top Entertainment stories

15 people face 195 charges in biker gang 2019-08-07 14:10:46NIAGARA, Ont. — Police say 15 people from across Ontario face a combined 195 charges after a drug trafficking investigation involving members an

‘Emergency’ scam cons Ontario mom out of $6Gs 2019-08-07 13:18:09Ontario Provincial Police are warning of an “emergency” scam that cost a mother from Picton $6,000. Police say the woman recently received

Accused in shark-tank skinny dip expected to plead 2019-08-07 13:05:20A British Columbia man accused of swimming naked in a shark tank at Toronto’s Ripley’s Aquarium is expected to plead guilty to mischief in

Burlington man rockin’ and rollin’ again thanks to 2019-08-07 12:45:51Justin Webb’s faith in humanity has been restored — as has his mobility — by a Good Samaritan who gave him a replacement scooter aft

WARREN: Trudeau ad actually a load of hooey 2019-08-07 12:41:35Made Canada great again? Seriously? Let’s say you are a big advertising executive. You’ve got a big office, all glass and chrome, and a gr

Toronto teens charged after stolen vehicle crashes in 2019-08-07 12:06:36Two Toronto 16-year-olds are facing charges after a chase and crash involving a stolen vehicle in Ajax. Durham Regional Police were investigating a su

LEVY: Liberty Village shelter fuels safety concerns 2019-08-07 11:30:23Tiana Nguyen has been in business for eight years in Liberty Village and had no problem with vandalism until the 100-bed respite shelter opened a bloc

Hamilton principal accused of sexually assaulting student 2019-08-07 11:25:58A Hamilton middle school principal has been charged with the alleged sexual assault of a student. Hamilton Police say they began an investigation Jan.

Get your Greek on at Taste of the 2019-08-07 11:13:09It wouldn’t be summer without the Taste of the Danforth, which runs this Friday to Sunday. Now in its 26th year, this famous fest attracts well

Celebrity Spaces: Anna Olson 2019-08-07 11:05:14Canada’s baking sweetheart, Anna Olson is sugar and spice and everything nice! Foodie fans first noticed her on Food Network’s Sugar, whic

Government wants direct role in CAMH review: Health 2019-08-06 20:00:12The provincial government will take a direct role in an external panel reviewing how the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) handles potenti

MANDEL: The new normal of Toronto gun violence 2019-08-06 19:52:04“This is not Toronto,” declared the police chief. Actually, it is. And it’s about time we faced it. Gunplay in this city is out of c

TORONTO STAR | ENTERTAINMENT

Heated words and extra hot tacos: the women 2019-08-07 00:14:39Kristina and Caelynn both give Blake a piece of their mind. Jane’s bid to woo John Paul Jones with food goes awry.

I love Superbad, but where are all of 2019-08-07 00:00:00Whatever it was, after I saw Superbad in the summer of 2007, when I was 19, it promptly became a favourite of mine. I bought the two-disc “unrat

Suits’ spinoff Pearson fits Gina Torres as a 2019-08-07 00:00:00Torres stars in new series as a recently disbarred lawyer now working in the dog-eat-dog world of Chicago politics.

Four shows to see at the SummerWorks Performance 2019-08-06 18:49:11

Thor director Taika Waititi to receive Toronto film 2019-08-06 16:10:08

‘Criminally insane’ women have their stories heard — 2019-08-06 15:17:07Simone Schmidt will debut the theatrical adaptation of her album Audible Songs From Rockwood in a show that gives voice to the women of the asylum.

Late night turns sombre as hosts slam Trump 2019-08-06 13:47:05We’ve rounded up the most poignant and pointed commentary from Monday’s late-night lineup.

Two old friends, two new plays with links 2019-08-06 13:31:05Graham Isador returns to theatre festival with White Heat, about a journalist faced with alt-right hostility; Lauren Gillis brings Safe and Sorry, abo

Old-time rock and roll meets Shakespeare 2019-08-06 11:00:00Longtime Stratford composer looked to his youth to inspire the eight original songs in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

The Merry Wives of Windsor marries Shakespearean comedy 2019-08-06 11:00:00Lucille Ball and the Stratford of the ’50s inspired Antoni Cimolino’s spit-take of a production.

Drake’s star-studded OVO Fest — including Chris Brown 2019-08-06 10:52:01The man also known as Champagne Papi was a model of consistency as an animated performer, keeping up an admirable flow of energy as he danced across t

Barry Manilow just wanted to write the songs. 2019-08-06 10:12:00Manilow is one of the last holdovers from the pre-rock era, the Prince of Pizzazz, and a man who works, unabashedly, in the spirit of a showbiz troupe


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.