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BWW Interview: Elisabeth Moss Reflects on SPEED THE PLOW- 'It Was Very Difficult'

Screen Actors Guild Foundation and Broadway World have partnered for a filmed Conversations Q&A series to recognize and celebrate the vibrant theatre community in New York City and the actors who aspire to have a career on the stage and screen. Richard Ridge of "Backstage with Richard Ridge" recently sat down with Elisabeth Moss, currently starring in The Heidi Chronicles on Broadway, about her career.

Check out a sneak peek of the interview below in which she discusses what went on while she was in Speed the Plow in 2008, in which Jeremy Piven infamously left the production due to 'medical issues.' Check back Sunday morning (April 26, 2015) to watch the full interview!


In Speed-the-Plow you were brilliant as Karen. How did you all deal with the Jeremy Piven thing?

There's definitely a positive and a negative to it, you know. The negative was it is very difficult when there are three actors in a play to be left by one of them. He just didn't show up on a Tuesday and his understudy went on for a week. So that was hard. We almost closed. It was difficult. Norbert came in and was amazing. Jeremy was fantastic in the play by the way. I mean he was wonderful. He just didn't want to do it.

Then Norbert came in and was amazing and was on book and there was something exciting about that. We were all of a sudden rehearsing during the day. It was very there's no business like show business. It was kind of very exciting and hard. And Norbert would go on with the book. It was really cool and the audience loved it of course. And then we got Bill Macy to come.

For me the positive was I got to work with not just two great actors but all of these great actors. I got to do many different versions of the play in a way. And because there are not many female Mamet characters it was nice to have that.

My favorite part of doing that has to absolutely be Raul Esparza, who I think he's one of the single greatest, not only actors, but human beings on the planet. He's just a lovely, lovely man and we had so much fun. And I learned so much about what you can do on stage from him. He just was so vicious, and fabulous, and terrifying, and amazing. We had to really stick together because it was the two of us and the crew and stuff. So we really kind of went through the trenches together. He never was anything but incredibly professional and kind. I loved working with him. I hope I get to do it again. He's wonderful.

You learned so many life lessons from going through something like that so quickly, right?

Yeah, you really do. I mean I thought at least something like that is probably not going to happen again. It's like doing a regular Broadway show should be easy. If everyone just stays, I'll think that it's a piece of cake!

It's such a great part for you. It must be great to say David Mamet's words.

I mean, I'm such a huge Mamet fan. I really wish I was a man at times because there's so many great Mamet roles for men. I love his work. It makes my skin crawl and it's awful and I love it. He's brilliant. But there aren't that many parts for girls. I'm hoping to do Oleanna at some point because that's like the only other one.


Make sure to check back on Sunday to see the full interview!

Elisabeth Moss stars as 'Peggy Olson' on the award-winning series Mad Men, which is currently airing its final seven episodes. In addition to the series' numerous honors, Moss has received five Emmy Award nominations, a Golden Globe nomination, and two Screen Actors Guild Award nominations for her performance on the show and has joined with the cast to win the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Ensemble in a Drama Series three consecutive years. Additionally, Moss's performance in Jane Campion's highly-acclaimed seven-part miniseries Top of the Lake earned her numerous accolades and prizes, including the Golden Globe and Critics Choice TV Awards for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Movie or Miniseries as well as Emmy and SAG Award nominations in the same category. Prior to Mad Men, Moss played 'Zoey Bartlett,' daughter to Martin Sheen's president, for seven seasons on Aaron Sorkin's critically praised and award-winning drama, The West Wing.

On the big screen, Moss has completed production on four films: High-Rise, a film directed by Ben Wheatley also starring Tom Hiddleston, Sienna Miller and Jeremy Irons; the dramaMeadowland, directed by Reed Morano and starring Olivia Wilde and Luke Wilson, which will make its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival; Queen of the Earth , the psychological thriller written and directed by Alex Ross Perry and premiered to stellar reviews at the Berlin International Film Festival; and Truth, in which she stars opposite Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett in the political drama about the scandal that erupted after Dan Rather reported on 60 Minutes II that George W. Bush had gotten preferential treatment that put him in the National Guard to avoid the Vietnam War draft.

Moss's additional film credits include The One I Love, in which she starred with Mark Duplass (Sundance Film Festival 2014); Listen up Philip, directed by Alex Ross Perry and starring Jason Schwartzman (Sundance Film Festival 2014); Walter Salles's adaptation of the classic Jack Kerouac novel On the Road, Get Him to the Greek , The Missing Girl Interrupted ,Mumford, A Thousand Acres, and Virgin, for which she was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress.

Moss is currently starring in The Heidi Chronicles, a Broadway revival of Wendy Wassterstein's Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning play in which Moss plays the title character. Her additional theater credits include The Children's Hour in London's West End opposite Keira Knightley, the Broadway revival of David Mamet's Speed the Plow opposite William H Macy and her New York theater debut at the Atlantic Theater Company in Franny's Way.


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From This Author Richard Ridge