Marin Hinkle’s cellphone may quite possibly be possessed. More on that in a minute.
For now she sits in a long flowing dress in a suite at Manhattan’s Whitby hotel, fielding interviews for “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” The critically acclaimed period comedy earned five Emmys (including best comedy series) for its debut season. The second season, which premiered on Amazon Prime Video on Dec.5, returns to 1959, with newly jilted housewife Midge Maisel (Rachel Brosnahan) pursuing her dream of becoming a stand-up comic — while juggling her kooky Upper West Side parents, Abraham (Tony Shalhoub) and Rose (Hinkle), who shocks the family by running off to Paris.
Hinkle, 52, a wife and mother herself, is best known for playing Jon Cryer’s ex-wife on “Two and a Half Men,” and stints on “Once and Again” and “Madam Secretary.” She met with Newsday contributor Joseph V. Amodio, who also happens to be a former school chum from their days at Brown University.
It’s like a mini college reunion. I must say it’s been fun watching you on TV over the years.
Thanks — playing these weird, wonderful, quirky women.
And strong-willed — Rose, on “Maisel,” asserts herself this season in ways we’ve not seen before. Yet despite this, I heard you say once you don’t consider yourself a strong woman.
Yeah, I’m not.
I have a really strong mother. (Hinkle’s mother is a retired Massachusetts Superior Court judge.) I did well in school but didn’t talk in class. I was always more a follower than a leader. I’d never know how to stand up for myself the way my characters do.
Maybe you compare yourself to your mom too much.
You should interview my friends. They’d say the same thing.
I was thinking how, in “Maisel,” Midge is a woman who has change thrust upon her when her marriage falls apart. This season, Rose’s life changes — but she’s the one doing the thrusting, and shaking things up.
(Suddenly Hinkle’s cellphone chimes in: “Interesting question.”)
Ohhh, that’s so funny it said that! I’ve never had that happen.
Weird. Um, thank you, Siri.
I think Midge and Rose — and maybe this mirrors something in my own relationship with my mother — were a little codependent. Once Midge flies out of the nest, it throws me. And then my husband is also lying to me about something, and I find out at the end of the first season. So Rose feels lost . . . a bit furious . . .
And flies to Paris to “find” herself.
I didn’t know we were [shooting in] Paris till like a month before . . . and I had to learn French and —
You don’t speak French? You sound fluent in the show.
No. I needed tutoring. When I arrived in Paris, that sense of not knowing how to be there — as Marin — made me realize, “Well, that’s how Rose feels, and she just takes the bull by the horns.” [And then] something happens . . . in the magical romantic life of Paris that allows her to have this rebirth.
Did you feel that in real life, too?
Oh, we did. Tony (Shalhoub) and I had these dance classes — with this beautiful French dance teacher — and then they’d shoot us dancing along the Seine. Tony’s wife was there, and we’d go out to dinner together, take walks, shop. We’d hold arms and Tony was in the middle and it was like — I don’t know . . . it’s the city of love, and we were in love with being there, and getting to work there.
So you felt a bit like Rose. Have you been in her position yourself — where you shook things up in your life?
We had this great education at Brown, and then I went to grad school, and after I got out I had all these loans. I had such an awakening. How am I going to do this? Like, what did I think? That I could live in New York? And be an actor? I don’t know how to waitress. At school we weren’t taught the practical stuff — I read Chekhov, great literature, but . . .
Nobody teaches you how to balance a checkbook.
Or do taxes. Then I had a kid, and it was like — how do you work with a kid? And how come nobody at grad school talked about that? No mother came in and said it’s going to be hard to breast-feed while shooting “Two and a Half Men” in front of a studio audience. So . . . that kind of reminds me of Rose’s gustiness.
See? You’re stronger than you think.
Mayyybe. But that’s the only brave thing I’ve done. (She laughs.) And I only came up with that because you asked a nice question.
Well, your phone liked it.
I know. That was strange, don’t you think?