How Kate Berlant Got to Prime VideoA League of Their Own series? “The way it came out [in] basically everything I’ve been in, is that someone knows me and likes my skills,” she said on Zoom.
, directed by Bo Burnham, starring in a solo play, KATE, also directed by Burnham, in New York. She also appeared in Olivia Wilde’s feature film Don’t Worry Darling – “I, like, somehow In this Hollywood blockbuster”—and, as mentioned before, A League of Their Own regular, who plays Shirley, the neurotic member of the Rockford Peaches, She doesn’t eat canned food. “Of course, it’s a thrill for me,” Berlant says of her many projects.
The actress and comedienne, a fan of Penny Marshall’s film about an all-girls baseball league during World War II, grew up drawn to the new version of
Attracted A League of Their Own
because of the source material and the desire to collaborate with everyone involved, including co-creator Abbi Jacobson. But Shirley’s nervousness also gave Berrante the chance to build new muscles. Not just physically, though she does have to attend baseball camp. Currently, she feels “pretty good” about her swing. “I didn’t really see that comedic energy, but it also felt very close to me,” she explained. “I do have a lot of her traits, just not horribly calcified like her.” With a line of humidifiers, hair in braids and a prim demeanor, Shirley is a product of her time. “It’s not modern day anxiety,” Berlant said. “We now live in a world where everyone talks about their feelings and anxieties, so it’s exciting to think about what she might look like.”
The The League of Their Own team encourages Berlant to improvise. It’s the medium in which she thrives—and when she gets up, it’s largely improvised. “I love when people give me scripts, but I also find that improvisation is how I develop characters and how I like to tell jokes,” she said.
That being said, the projects that are closest to her heart at the moment are carefully planned. The live show she wrote KATE
was like her “child”. At the time of this interview, she had just returned to Los Angeles from a sold-out New York run, but she will return to action again in the winter. In the solo pieces, Berlant is “Kate,” a badly twisted version of herself, an actress who is drawn to the camera but hides secrets. Before she takes the stage, clips of her work in A League of Their Own flash across the screen, a hidden “moment of blatant professionalism” joke.
Berlant In her solo stage show, KATE. Courtesy Image
KATE is a show about the idea of acting, a topic that fascinates Berlant. “It’s very much about this guy trying to prove himself as an actor, and outside of that is me, Kate Berlant, trying to be, ‘Hello, I’m an actor. I want to act,’ To me, that’s the vulnerability of the show,” she said. “For me, this show is very revealing of myself because it’s really a very naked attempt, and the effort is so obvious.”
This story first appeared in the November issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe .