Why ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Creator Casts Dancers as Extras on the Amazon Series

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel always looks gorgeous. While much that is chalked up to the set — and the lovely cinematography — the series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino (of Gilmore Girls fame) will often cast background actors who are not just extras — but dancers. For Sherman-Palladino, the look of the Amazon show is essential.

‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Season 3 finale was cast with several dancers

Mrs. Maisel
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 3| Amazon Prime Video

Writer/director Sherman-Palladino — whose artistic partner and husband, Daniel Palladino, also works on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel — recently spoke to The New York Times. She explained in the interview how intricately-planned each Maisel scene really is.

“We stage things that people don’t think are staged,” Sherman-Palladino revealed. For example, the Bunheads alum referenced a late season 3 scene with Bailey De Young (the actor who portrays Imogene on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel).

“In the season finale, we’ve got our girl Bailey just walking down the street in slow motion to Nina Simone,” she recalled. The people moving so gracefully in the background?

“Those are dancers,” the Marvelous Mrs. Maisel creator said. “Those aren’t extras because we needed physicality, we needed crosses, we needed people, we needed presence.”

Sherman-Palladino understands that every single person in the shot is important.

“I don’t even like to call them extras because they’re so integral to our process,” she continued.

Why Amy Sherman-Palladino likes to employ dancers in her TV series

Sherman-Palladino also told The Times how important it is to her to cast professional dancers on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She shared:

Dance is an art form that unless you’re Mikhail Baryshnikov, you ain’t getting rich. There’s the rare Misty Copeland out there who’s going to grab attention enough to get a book deal and meet Prince. Most dancers are putting in their entire lives and all of their time and all of their physicality, because when you’re a dancer, it’s not just when you’re in class or when you’re in rehearsal or when you’re in performance; when you’re home, your body is your instrument.

The Maisel writer/director understands how crucial it is for these artists to find the next job.

“… there’s no taking a break from your job, because it is you,” Sherman-Pallaidno said.

Rachel Brosnahan in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Season 1 | Amazon Studios

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How dance has played a role in all seasons of ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’

Why is it so crucial to Sherman-Palladino? She comprehends, on an intrinsic level, what these dancers are going through.

“I was a dancer,” she explained to The New York Times. “There was one point where I was never out of tights.”

For the Gilmore Girls creator, her dance background informs everything she does now in TV.

“I think that everything I do is filtered through that lens,” Sherman-Palladino continued. “So I write with a dance rhythmic view of a scene in mind. And I think that my characters tend to have an energy that even when they walk down the street there’s sort of an internal beat to them.”

Several scenes in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel include dance — but her dance experienced also has affected how Sherman-Palladino runs the show as a whole.

“… I really realized, ‘oh yeah, I can finally tell my mother that the dance lessons paid off.’ It’s been channeled through an unusual way, but I definitely direct like a dancer,” she shared.