Netflix’s GLOW is quite unlike anything on TV right now: a female-driven sports comedy with shades of a character-driven drama, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Don’t get us started on the Cold War satire…
The series revolves around a group of out-of-work actresses who take a gamble on an ambitiously pitched ladies wrestling show run by a washed-up B-movie director (Marc Maron) and a wealthy, boyish wrestling fanatic (Chris Lowell). It’s based on a real-life wrestling show of the same name from the 1980s, which was low-budget, cringe-worthy and often hilarious.
Much like the ladies in the show, the cast had zero wrestling experience heading in to the production, but the show’s producers (including Orange is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan) had no intention of packing the highlights reel with stunt doubles. In the weeks leading up to the first day of filming, all the actresses undertook intensive wrestling classes led by WWE legend Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Needless to say, the learning curve was steep.
“There was no time for second guessing yourself on this one,” Betty Gilpin (Debbie Egan) told RadioTimes.com, “you use your body in a really powerful and functional way in every scene”.
It also provided her with an opportunity to get to know her co-stars, not least Alison Brie, who plays her ringside rival Ruth Wilder. The show finds great strength in the chemistry between its band of wrestling debutants.
“It was a great bonding experience. It was really scary, and fun and powerful,” Brie said.
“We got to know each other as a cast with our faces in each other’s armpits, butts and knees,” Gilpin added.
As the show progresses, the actresses-turned-wrestlers begin to feel empowered by the sport. Did the cast of GLOW feel the same way?
“Yeah, absolutely,” Brie said, “because we were inhabiting our bodies in a totally different way, feeling more like athletes than actors a lot of the time.”
“I had never had to think about my body only for function; I had only sort of thought of it in actress terms,” Gilpin said, “in terms of fitting into a costume. Even though the costumes were so tiny, how I looked was the last thing I was thinking about”.
Though the two develop fantastic chemistry across a series of wrestling matches throughout the series, they have greater aspirations for future bouts.
Their ideal wrestling partner?
“Of course it’d be fun to get in the ring with The Rock. I mean he has tons of time so I’m sure we can schedule something!” Said Brie.
GLOW is released on Netflix on Friday 23 June