‘Fosse/Verdon’ – Michelle Williams Interview on Playing Gwen Verdon in the FX Limited Series

Fosse/Verdon Michelle Williams and Sam Rockwell
Michelle Williams as Gwen Verdon and Sam Rockwell as Bob Fosse in ‘Fosse/Verdon’ (Photo by Pari Dukovic/FX)

FX’s latest biographical limited series is Fosse/Verdon, the story of the romance and collaboration between Bob Fosse and Gwen Verdon. Oscar winner Sam Rockwell plays Fosse and four-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams plays Verdon. The premiere episode already features scenes involving the films Sweet Charity and Cabaret.

Williams was on a Television Critics Association panel for Fosse/Verdon with Rockwell and the show’s creators, including Verdon’s daughter Nicole Fosse. After the panel, Williams spoke with reporters more about the role of Gwen Verdon and Showbiz Junkies was there. Fosse/Verdon premieres on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 10pm ET/PT.

Does doing Fosse/Verdon feel very different than when you were on broadcast network with Dawson’s Creek?

Michelle Williams: “It does, yeah. It feels like a totally different landscape from what I remember.”

Is it more like doing a long movie?

Michelle Williams: “It is. It’s like making eight movies.”

What appeals to you about the Fosse/Verdon love story?

Michelle Williams: “It’s sort of the fact that they were very different people but they were twin souls. I think of them as having like a golden thread that connected them and the thread would contract and the thread would expand but it was always there.”

Does that make you believe in soul mates?

Michelle Williams: “Oh gosh, I mean, I guess so. But I think there can be all different [kinds]. I think your soul mate can be your pet too. I think there’s a lot of souls with a lot of matches throughout a long life.”

Did you connect with Verdon’s motherhood vs. career struggle?

Michelle Williams: “Very much, yeah. It’s one of the challenges that’s most on the forefront of my mind, and all of my friends who are working mothers, is how to get comfortable with the fact that balance is not a place that you arrive at. It’s something that you are constantly teetering on the edge of. So getting comfortable with the fact that something is going to rise as something else falls. So to get comfortable with that fact that something is always going to be a little bit underserved in a life where you’re trying to accomplish two things at the same time.”

There are so many great Tony Awards moments and film works of Verdon. Did you watch them over and over again?

Michelle Williams: “I’ve seen as much as I think is available. I keep coursing through the internet late at night. I’m like, ‘Did I miss anything, did I miss anything?’ But I love spending time with her. Wherever I can find her, however I can find her. If you haven’t seen her dance, you really owe it to yourself to just turn on YouTube and find her doing these pieces that I haven’t been familiar with, because she was totally unparalleled.”

What do you think her best number was?

Michelle Williams: “Oh, God, that’s so hard. I love this dance she does called Herbie Fitch.”

What was the biggest challenge about playing this character?

Michelle Williams: “Probably one of my biggest challenges, she was the greatest dancer of her time. That represents itself in a very physical way that’s been really challenging to attain.”

What do you admire most about her?

Michelle Williams: “Her work ethic and her commitment to excellence in every area of her life.”

Do you seek out real life characters to play like Marilyn Monroe, Gwen Verdon and you might play Janis Joplin?

Michelle Williams: “I do seem to enjoy that. I don’t know really what that’s all about for me, but they do seem to come my way and I do seem to say yes when they’re in front of me.”

Would you ever do a Dawson’s Creek reunion?

Michelle Williams: “Yeah, I’ve said. I think I’ve been waving that flag for a while. Like, why not? Although my character died so I would have to be a ghost.”

A prequel?

Michelle Williams: “A prequel, a prequel, yeah, when they were five.”