‘UnWrapped’ Podcast: Toni Collette, Molly Shannon and Vanessa Bayer Discuss the Challenges of Playing Characters Based on Real People

The stars of “The Staircase” and “I Love That for You” open up about what helped them the most in preparing to play their latest roles

On this episode of WrapWomen’s “UnWrapped” podcast actresses Toni Collette (“The Staircase”), Molly Shannon (“I Love That for You”) and Vanessa Bayer (“I Love That for You”) chat with hosts Emily Vogel and Andi Ortiz about how they’ve prepared for their latest roles based on real people – from studying home video tapes to touring QVC headquarters. 

First up, we hear from Oscar and Emmy Award-winning actress Toni Collette, who  currently stars in HBO Max’s “The Staircase.” The eight-episode series, which premiered May 5, tells the story of North Carolina-based crime novelist Michael Peterson (Colin Firth), who was convicted of murdering his wife Kathleen, played by Collette. 

“UnWrapped” hosts Emily Vogel and Andi Ortiz also speak with “I Love That for You” co-stars Molly Shannon and Vanessa Bayer, who also co-created and co-wrote the show. The Showtime series follows Joanna Gold (Bayer), a survivor of childhood cancer who lands her dream job working at a home shopping channel alongside her hero, longtime host Jackie (Molly Shannon). Though the women aren’t portraying any specific QVC hosts, the series is loosely based on Bayer’s own  experience with childhood cancer and her actual obsession with home shopping TV (and the hosts that sold to her).

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Episode Highlights: 

  • Toni Collette reveals which key moments from Kathleen’s home videos shaped her character in “The Staircase”
  • Molly Shannon talks about the surprisingly “grueling” training process of becoming a QVC host
  • Vanessa Bayer says her childhood battle with cancer inspired her to go into comedy
  • Toni Collette says the cast of “The Staircase” performed full wedding ceremony and reception where the actress and Colin Firth exchanged vows
  • Molly Shannon shares what Bayer taught her about the art of being a home shopping network host
  • Vanessa Bayer says out of all the celebrities she’s ever met, she was most starstruck by QVC hosts 

About “UnWrapped:”

“UnWrapped” is a monthly podcast produced by WrapWomen, dedicated to empowering the next generation of women in media and entertainment. Hosted by Emily Vogel and Andi Ortiz, each episode “unwraps” topics from entertainment news and industry trends to career advice, Hollywood headlines and more. 

Special guests include industry leaders, actors, producers and studio execs. The aim of the series is to connect those looking for knowledge and access to those with the knowledge and access, providing the WrapWomen community tools to succeed in their personal and professional lives.

New episodes of “UnWrapped” drop the last Friday of every month. You can listen on TheWrap.comWrapWomen.comSpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsAmazon Music or wherever you get your podcasts. 

About WrapWomen

WrapWomen is a power base of influential women from entertainment, media, technology and brands committed to changing the face of their industries. Through media and live events including the BE Mentorship Conference and flagship Power Women Summit, we provide a platform to accelerate the vision of women who are building towards a more equitable world. Our events attract a broad network and community of professional women who are decision-makers and mothers, leaders and wives, innovators and activists. 

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