Will Vought shares the brilliance of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel team

Will Vought - Photo credit: Emily Assiran; Shot on location at Fig19, NYC.. Grooming: Laila Hayani.. Styling: Natalia Zemliakova
Will Vought - Photo credit: Emily Assiran; Shot on location at Fig19, NYC.. Grooming: Laila Hayani.. Styling: Natalia Zemliakova /

We know The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is excellent, binge-worthy TV. What’s it like to work on the set? Will Vought tells us all the awesome news.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is one of the greatest TV shows ever made. Fact. There’s a reason why it’s won numerous awards and recently been nominated for more Golden Globes and Screen Actors’ Guild Awards. This is a show with a bright future, and Will Vought agrees.

Vought took on the role of Major Buck Brillstein in the first episode of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 3. You’ll remember him at the USO Show as the guy in drag on the stage, but he also had skits running in the background that you’ll need to listen into on your next binge-watch of the series.

What was it like working on the series? As a standup comedian, did he get to ad-lib? That’s what he talked to Amazon Adviser exclusively about.

Amazon Adviser: What was it like joining such a fantastic collaboration of people?

Will Vought: It was incredible. Working with the Palladinos is a unique opportunity. Any actor would be coming out of their skin to work with them. They’re at the top of their game.

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At the same time, you know you’re going into an established series with a cast that’s done this 20 times. They have a rhythm and language, and you’re stepping into that world.

There’s a little pressure. It reminds me of the first movie Tom Hanks directed, I believe, a very fun film called That Thing You Do. When Tom Hanks is going on stage, he always says “It’s very important you don’t stink today.” I just thought of that.

I’ve worked with Emmy Award-winning actresses before, like The Good Wife’s Julianna Marguiles, but The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is the big leagues. Everybody is bringing their A-Game.

Amy wrote and directed the first episode of Season 3. Plus, you’re on location with 1000 people. It’s like they’re shooting Star Wars. I was thinking “Whoa!” You’re in the airfield, there are tap dancers.

And that opening sequence of the premiere all done in one shot. There’s a lot of rehearsal involved. The visual creation [Amy] has without cutting is a unique part of Maisel. I think the opening was more elaborate than The West Wing. It was exhilarating. I like to do meditation, but I don’t think anything can calm you down.

Will Vought – Photo credit: Emily Assiran; Shot on location at Fig19, NYC..Grooming: Laila Hayani.. Styling: Natalia Zemliakova
Will Vought – Photo credit: Emily Assiran; Shot on location at Fig19, NYC..Grooming: Laila Hayani.. Styling: Natalia Zemliakova /

AA: I’ve always loved that so much is done in one take.

WV: Props go to the steady-cam operator. This guy is incredible. He is really in collaboration with Amy because they have to choreograph and create the one shot.

Amy asked me what it was like when I was at the screening for Episode 1 recently. I told her it was like a movie.

AA: What was your favorite part of filming The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel?

WV: I enjoyed the entire experience. Sometimes I would get new pages and I’d be sitting in my trailer and read it, and I thought I was reading Shakespeare.

There’s a scene in Episode 1 where Shy’s manager is the focus. I’m in the background doing a monologue that Amy wrote and it’s a recap of the 1950s. We shot it independently and did three takes; I really liked performing that.

I really like being on stage and working with that live audience as a stand-up comedian. That took over a week to film on location with hundreds of background actors. They were long days. I’d stand up between takes and keep them entertained. It was a fun experience.

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AA: You all become a team.

WV: Yeah, and [the Palladinos] know what they want. And they’re working with the pros. They have the pick of the litter. You’re working with the best of the best of the best. Everyone is happy to be there, bringing their A-game and prepared.

I was a big fan of Rachel [Brosnahan] and her work and the show. As a comedian, I told her I would not have known that she’s not a comedian. Stand-up comedy is not easy. You’re on stage, it’s your own material. She really is incredible; her timing is incredible. She really sells it.

I also enjoyed the drag scene. It’s a great scene, and indicative of what would be in the USO Show in the 1950s. I can’t say I find myself in drag a lot. You put a DD bra, and a hat from the 1920s and you’re just walking around. It was great!

I didn’t want the background actors to see me before filming. I believe the take used is their first reaction.

AA: A lot of shows offer the ability to ad-lib. Is that the case on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel>

WV: No! Not here! Everything that I’m saying is word perfect.

That’s something that’s very specific to the Palladinos. I knew that going in. As a comedian, I’m not going to say it’s beyond the scope to paraphrase. On The Good Wife and The Good Fight, I was encouraged to paraphrase. On The Good Fight, I actually wrote a joke or two.

On Maisel, you had to be word perfect. Each word that they write is like a note on a sheet of music. It’s carefully chosen. It’s placed there for a reason.

As an actor, sometimes you get really s****y scripts and there are a lot of changes. That’s not the case when you work with the Palladinos. You read the script and there’s a musicality to the words. So, I was very conscious of that.

AA: They know their characters and their story well.

WV: They know what they’re doing. They wrote what they want, so my job is to take the words from the page and bring them to work. When you’re handed material that’s so great, it’s fun.

AA: Do you have any projects coming up that you can share with us?

WV: Nothing I can share. Everything is top secret.

I’m getting ready for the holidays and working on a set for late-night television. But that’s all I can say.

AA: How about a dream project. What would that be?

WV: Wow. I’ve been trying to send subliminal messages to Adam McKay for the next season of Succession. I love that show and it’s shot here in New York. Or Aaron Sorkin. I’ve also enjoyed working with the Kings a lot. I’ve had Succession on the brain a lot, though. It’s just so good.

As an actor, I’d love to be part of a new series that tells a great story. That’s always the goal, kind of like the theater. The most exciting thing to do is create a musical or play from scratch.

In the past, I would have loved to have been on The West Wing, and I love shows like The Office and I love Curb Your Enthusiasm.

It’s also interesting to play a wannabe comedian because that’s how I framed Buck. He’s a major in the army. He’s telling bad jokes. He’s living his dream. And it’s funny as someone from a stand-up background, I always get cast on dramas. So, another comedy would be great.

Will Vought – Photo credit: Emily Assiran; Shot on location at Fig19, NYC.. Grooming: Laila Hayani.. Styling: Natalia Zemliakova
Will Vought – Photo credit: Emily Assiran; Shot on location at Fig19, NYC.. Grooming: Laila Hayani.. Styling: Natalia Zemliakova /

AA: But then dramas will push you out of your comfort zone a little. That must be rewarding.

WV: It is! To be honest, I like having conversations. Acting is about listening, whether you do comedy or drama. You do get to flex a little more and use your tools.

I like drama, but it’s really whatever the story is. If I like the story, I’m very interested. If I like the world, I’m interested.

There can be high stakes in comedy and drama. When you look at shows like Succession and The Good Wife, there are serious things going on and humor is used to break the tension.

But yes, as an actor, you want to flex as many muscles as you possibly can. When something feels uncomfortable, that’s something I’d like to jump into. I know I’m going to grow in the experience.

I’m paraphrasing, but Hugh Laurie once said, the only reason I’m standing here is because I was given the opportunity to play the role. There are a lot of talented actors out there that are capable. The only difference between me and them is I got permission to do this.

We’re in a new golden age of television with all the streaming services. You’re seeing A-list talent doing these TV shows. Steve Carell on The Morning Show, Jennifer Aniston is back on TV, and Reese Witherspoon is there. The quality is cinematic.

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You can catch Will Vought in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 3, Episode 1 as Major Buck Brillstein. Check out the entire series currently on Amazon Prime Video as we get ready for Season 4!