Elisa Donovan talks to SheKnows about her hit show, the web-based NBC darling, In Gayle We Trust.
SheKnows: The success of In Gayle We Trust, a web-based series, has got to be incredibly gratifying.
Elisa Donovan: Having NBC behind it is incredible. I read the material and I immediately knew who this person was. It’s really rare. We all think we can play all parts as actors [laughs]. I know who Gayle is, I based her on my mom — a souped-up version. I just felt I have to do this. I have to say I’m so thrilled, it’s been so much fun across the board. It’s such a great treat that it is successful. That often doesn’t go together. I’m just thrilled.
SheKnows: To say your mother is proud is probably an understatement.
Elisa Donovan: She certainly is. She loves it.
SheKnows: If Gayle is based on your mother, I would think that there would be numerous avenues we could see her in for the future.
Elisa Donovan: My mom — I’m writing a book — she is a character in it. She will call me and tell me silly things that she’s doing — you know, I went to the gas station…
SheKnows: Why do you think In Gayle We Trust resonates so much with audiences?
Elisa Donovan: Particularly, at this point in entertainment on the planet, we’ve gotten to this dark, it’s got to be violent type of thing. I was so pleased to play someone who is just really positive, who still gets into absurd situations. But at the heart of it, Gayle is such a good spirit. I always try to bring that attitude to my life and the way I interact with people. It’s nice. What a great thing to be like every day. It becomes a part of your life when you’re playing characters. I’ve played some not-so-nice characters in my career [laughs]. It’s a different sort of thing to play someone that you like.
SheKnows: But Gayle still has her issues…
Elisa Donovan: Almost definitely. That doesn’t come from a delusional view [laughs] or an out of touch one. I’ve lost my dad, I’ve had challenging things in my life, as anyone has. I think those things really do make you more human and hopefully bring you closer to happiness and understanding the value of life. I generally do have a positive attitude about things.
SheKnows: The In Gayle We Trust cast is impeccable with their comic timing.
Elisa Donovan: I can’t just champion enough this cast. They are so talented and willing to play. Everybody comes prepared. At the table read, I went, “Oh my goodness. This is a room full of talented people.” On the set, we always do what’s scripted so we have it. But, then we always do improv. Creed [Bratton], he is such a great improviser. We know what the dynamic is between us. It is so much fun.
SheKnows: Is there a lot of improv on the In Gayle We Trust set?
Elisa Donovan: Yes, and the only training improvising I’ve had is drama-wise in my teens. I’ve never had comedic improv training. So these guys really give me great comic exercise all the time. It’s a newer thing to me.
SheKnows: What would you say is the biggest thing you could tell kids about getting into the world of acting as a career?
Elisa Donovan: Get used to rejection. In the beginning I was so gung ho. I had such a passion for it, even back in college. I was 18 or 19, I was living in Manhattan and auditioning. I was up for a role in Suburbia. I went in and read for the director. I was so convinced I would get this role. Then, they gave it to Martha Plimpton. I was weeping. I called my mom and she said, “Why don’t you come home?” I had this moment of realization. What is going home going to solve? I really want to do this. It was a turning point moment. I can turn back or go forward. You reach those moments at various points in your career. You must always go forward.
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