With the success of “M3GAN” earlier this year, Allison Williams has her biggest career achievement since “Girls,” which ran for five years on HBO to much fanfare and critical acclaim. But work hasn’t always been as rewarding as that series for Williams, as IndieWire reports a troubling anecdote the actress shared from another HBO series at a panel last weekend at the Nantucket Film Festival.
As other panel members Nicole Holofcener, Michaela Watkins, and moderator Ophira Eisenberg discussed their experiences as women working in Film and TV, Williams shared a story from her time as a stand-in on “Boardwalk Empire.” “There’s like 10 stories fighting their way from my brain to my mouth that I’m trying to keep out of my mouth,” Williams told the other panel members. “I guess one of them, just very quickly … people just underestimate your humanity often as a young woman up and coming in our business. I was a stand-in for the pilot of “Boardwalk Empire,” which was the coolest experience ever, an amazing pilot. It was shot on film. It was incredible. But I was at craft services and a member of the crew came up and said, ‘So what do you do here? You’re the on-set eye candy?’”
All the women on the panel were familiar with that disrespectful behavior. “That’s an example of, I’m at work and that’s what someone says to me,” continued Williams. “Or an actor I later worked with who watched me eat a pastry and said, ‘Don’t you want to be successful?’ You know, those kinds of comments come up inevitably. Yeah. Look how un-shocked you both are [Williams acknowledges Eisenberg and Watkins]. That familiar, fuzzy feeling. We’ve all heard it.”
But Williams then spoke about more rewarding instances during her career where such behavior on-set was less common. “But for everything like that, there’s like Lena [Dunham] who just so gently, and at basically my same age, would usher me through this very unusual experience and was such an unbelievably talented writer and director, and was able to just get me to breathe and slow down and not do anything, and in doing that, just trust the material and trust that the talent is there.” In 2016, Williams received a Critics’ Choice Television Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series for her work on “Girls.”
Eisenberg responded to Williams’ comments affirmatively. “I mean, I do think there’s sometimes this misconception that people respond very well to an intense set where someone is kind of badgering them, and that makes them,” she replied. To which Williams agreed, “It’s a very specific kind of person who thinks that. We can all picture that person.” “The very image,” Eisenberg concurred.
What does Williams have up next? She stars in Showtime‘s upcoming limited series “Fellow Travelers,” which still has no release date. And “M3GAN 2.0” is on the way, too, but won’t hit theaters until 2025.