IN CONVERSATION WITH ALFIE FULLER
Interview by Hayden Peyrard & Jana Letonja
Alfie Fuller is known for her fan favorite role of Dinah on Amazon’s Emmy award winning series ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’. The hit series premiered its fifth and final season on 14th April. She will next be seen as Prairie in the upcoming Hulu series ‘Deli Boys’.
You played Dinah in the Emmy award winning series ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’. Why do you think she became such a fan favorite character?
When I’m invested in a series and new characters are introduced in later seasons, I’m all for it as long as that character flows into the world organically and with ease. I think that’s what we were able to do with Dinah. Plus, she’s so delightfully written it’s hard not to fall in love with her. I’ve had many people come to me and tell me how much it feels like Dinah has been there all along, how well she fits into the story of ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’. That was my intention, to join this team of masterful storytellers and not disrupt or slow it down. I liken it to double dutch. The ropes are swinging, the people are jumping, it’s your turn to hop in and you better not mess up the rhythm. Luckily, I was always good at double dutch.
In what ways can you relate to the character of Dinah?
Dinah is cute and bubbly. She doesn’t ask for permission to take charge, she just does. She’s a go getter. She learns quickly on her feet and is very cool under pressure. Oh, and she loves artists. I relate to all of those characteristics.Well, except being very cool under pressure. I’m a cry baby.
Are there any moments that stood out to you while filming the series?
Honestly, every time I was on set was memorable. What always stood out to me was that every single person on the ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ set was bringing their A game all day, every day and was happy to do so. When you’re in an environment like that, it makes you so proud and protective of the work you’re doing. I also always loved when we were doing scenes outside or with a lot of background actors. To see the city transform to 1960s NYC and to see huge groups of people in their time specific costumes was mind blowing. It truly felt like stepping back in time. I’ll never forget it.
You are going to be starring as Prairie in the upcoming Hulu series ‘Deli Boys’. What can you share with us about the series? What can we to expect from it and your character?
‘Deli Boys’ is so original with its story and cast. I’ve heard it described as a comedic, brown ‘Breaking Bad’ and I think that’s pretty apt. Prairie is unlike any character I’ve ever played or seen. She is an odd little bird, but so fun. Many think that she’s clocked out, aloof and unaware of the world around her, but let me tell you, mama is aware of everything and is tapped in. She loves Mother Earth and all the plants, herbs and tinctures that Mother Earth gives to us. I just adore her and can’t wait to expand her story.
How did working on ‘Little America’ differ in experience from the newer shows you are working on now?
‘Little America’ was my very first time being on a TV set. I was incredibly nervous and everything was so different from anything I’d done before. Prior to it, I was mainly a theatre actress. I wouldn’t say that the experience differed vastly from any other set I’ve since worked on, but I will say that I differ vastly from then to now. I’m more grounded and confident in my TV acting abilities and I’m now relaxed enough to really be present and absorb everything that happens around me.
How do you go about changing your mindset when starting to portray a new character? Do you have any special process?
I have yet to meet a character that doesn’t mirror some aspect of myself. Sometimes it’s close to the surface and sometimes I have to reach a little deeper, but essentially we’re all one. Each process depends on how much attention, effort, research or digging a character requires for me to tap in and get to the heart of them. Most, if not all of my character building, especially in the beginning, is done in solitude. Sometimes I create in complete stillness and silence, sometimes only movement will suffice. When I’m having a bit of trouble ‘finding a character’, I like to step out into the world with their eyes. I do mundane things like stroll through the park or hop on the subway or go to the grocery store and by the time I get back home, I’ve got an entire universe worth of information to build with.
Do you ever take aspects of a past character into new characters for shows or are they all different to you?
I’m building a completely new universe for each character I inhabit and I move with the intention of creating a complete human with their own individual unique quirks and idiosyncrasies, but since I’m the person doing the portraying, there’s bound to be some overlap.
You’ve done a lot of theater work as well. How does working in theatre differ to acting in shows? Is your preparation process different?
For me, working on a play is an all consuming experience that requires all of my body, heart and mind. I live for those moments. It reminds me that I’m not just alive, but I’m living. I kind of don’t have a social life when I’m doing a play. I’m usually on a super clean diet and very solitary. It may sound bonkers to some, but it’s absolute bliss to me.
Working on a TV show is usually a little easier, but my first major TV show is one that’s basically a big budget Broadway play every episode. And I lived. On a normal show, you get multiple takes to do a scene and get your coverage and it’s very chopped up. But on ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’, a lot of our shots were ‘one shots’ and it’s basically pages and pages of a scene with a ton of actors that’s shot in a single take with very intricate and precise camera movement. Shoutout to our amazing camera crew led by Jim McConkey. There’s really no space to forget your blocking or flub a line or else we all have to start back at the beginning. That kind of process mimics what happens in a play, minus the chance to redo it if something goes wrong.
Would you love to return to theater or are you now fully set on working in TV and film?
I’m happiest when I’m acting. It doesn’t matter if I’m on a Broadway stage or on a television or movie set. As long as I’m getting paid to create a world and tell a story, I’m there.
Alfie, tell us more about your other upcoming projects that we will be able to see you in.
Once the writer’s strike have been resolved, we start shooting the first season of ‘Deli Boys’.
photography FRANCIS HILLS