“This Is Us” Star Isabel Oliver Marcus Shares Behind-The-Scenes Secrets In Exclusive Interview! (@IsabelOMarcus)
Photo Credit: Jammie Koko
- How did you land your role on “This Is Us”?
After about a year of living in LA, and five total years of coming to LA to audition, I was visiting family in Texas (home state) when I got the call. They let me send in a taped audition, even though there was a lot of secrecy around the role. When they “pinned” me (let me know they might want to use me/checked my union status etc), I flew out and stayed with friends and had a chemistry read. It felt like a lifetime, and the blink of an eye, but all told it was a week from getting the call to being in set.
- Which character do you play?
My character is Allison, she’s teenage Randall’s girlfriend.
- How would you describe her?
“Red-Headed Teen Girl” is how they listed the role for the audition. But she’s more than that. She’s smart, ambitious, very much an over-thinker, and she likes to bake. You’ll just have to keep watching to find out more about her!
- How is your character different from others you’ve played in the past?
The nature of the show—technically, stylistically—is a little more subtle. It’s an opportunity to really explore cinematic acting in a television setting. I would say that the biggest difference is the working environment. It’s my first television role. Ever. So the set is bigger, there’s so many more people, so many more jobs people are doing around me, such professionalism on set etc. It’s just a new atmosphere, so it’s an interesting challenge to grow a complete character, do the work I know how to do, and also learn to be on that kind of set.
- What is a typical day like on-set?
I get to set, go to my trailer, try to get some work done but can’t because I’m so excited about where I am. Then I go to the makeup trailer, probably meet some beautiful person like Mandy Moore, go back to my trailer and freak out. Lunch. It’s delicious. Then to set! We shoot somethin, we wait while they reset, we shoot, we wait, it’s amazing. By the time I leave I’m riding such an dateline wave that I could take on the world—even though it’s 9pm.
- Why do you think the show is doing so well?
I think that it’s a time in the world when we crave a good catharsis. There are so many things around us—political, social, technological, and all of them can desensitize us. What This Is Us does by telling such strong stories so truthfully is to cut through the layers of things going on around us and make us feel, think, behave in primal, spontaneous ways that we don’t often have the opportunity to do. No matter what side of things you fall, in this day and age, it’s important to have some things that bring you back to your most basic level. In many ways, it also makes us feel closer to one another, because when we are reduced to those basic fears, loves, desires, we are really all the same. And we see this reflected in the issues dealt with on the show: what it means to be a family, what it means to be a friend, and how we define ourselves—or escape the definitions—of race, body image etc. These are all universal issues.
- What has been your favorite episode to film so far?
I loved the mall scene in episode 12 when we finally get to hear the redhead speak. It was such a cool thing to shoot on location, and I had such a good time working with the director, Zetna Fuentes, the writer, and everyone on set. It also wasn’t as emotionally charged as many of the other episodes I did—no one died.
- What is a behind-the-scenes secret you can share with us?
Everyone is prettier in person.
- What do you enjoy doing when you’re not acting?
I’m working my way through online classes for my last year of high school. I love reading, ceiling my dog, and watching new shows.
- What is your dream role?
I’m currently really hoping to have a shot at Ariel in the live action Little Mermaid. Red heads represent!
- Who are your favorite actors?
Meryl Streep is a really obvious answer, but she’s a cliche for a reason. I have so much respect for her range, her talent, and her character even outside her individual roles. She presents herself so beautifully. I also have so much respect for Emma Stone, and Anne Hathaway was my idol when I was younger. I watched Ella Enchanted a million times.
- Do you have any other upcoming projects you can share with us?
Not as yet. I certainly will once I get the go-ahead! And I’ve been on quite a few auditions recently.
- What are your social media accounts?
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