Sing a little song for Judd Apatow.
When it comes to HBO’s hit series Girls, no one ever questioned Allison Williams “right” to be on the show. Nearly the entire cast was made up of relative nobodies and Williams was/is one of the best actresses and most likable characters on the show. Marnie is a B for sure, but there’s a lack of confidence and an immense amount of effort behind everything Marnie does that you just don’t get from someone like Hannah or Jessa. (You do from Shosh, too, and she almost wasn’t on the show.) Marnie wants to succeed and she strives to do so… even if, until last week, she was striving toward the wrong success.
This week, though — if only for a brief moment — we saw what Marnie should really work toward and the talent she’s had deep inside her all along. It may have been a surprise that singing was something Marnie wanted, but it shouldn’t have been a surprise to know that Allison was that good. Sadly, we were all little blinded by her 40-watt smile and the TV-friendly genetics she got from her dad, Brian. If we’d paid more attention to her last season, we’d have known Allison was more than a pretty face and awesome eye roll. She has a great voice and that’s actually how she landed her role on Girls in the first place… not necessarily just because of her dad.
Williams’ dream was set on the stage from the very beginning, but her parents made her to go to college before they’d let her chase it down. So, fresh out of Yale, Williams headed straight for Los Angeles. However, she didn’t spend long living as the clichéd wannabe actress. Williams knew YouTube was the way to be discovered and she set about finding every way possible to land another video on the video-sharing site.
The video that landed her the role of Marnie was her reworking of the Mad Men theme song, to which she added in the lyrics from the classic hit “Nature Boy.” As it just so happens, Girls EP Judd Apatow is a Mad Men super-fan and stumbled upon Williams’ video, while the show’s creator and lead, Lena Dunham, was apprehensive at first.
“I thought ‘gorgeous voice, great hair, what else is new in Hollywood,'” Dunham wrote in an email to the L.A. Times. “I had to meet Allison to understand just how cheeky and intelligent that video really was, and just why Judd felt so strongly about her.”
Pretty amazing, right? Williams is a natural on camera — not just because of her father’s genetics but because she took the time to study. During her time at Yale she worked as Tina Fey’s assistant and as a production assistant on A Prairie Home Companion.
“I wanted to learn the technical side of lighting and sound because, again, I wasn’t allowed to start acting until I graduated college,” she continued. “I wanted to know the drill. I wanted the first time I went on-set to act to be totally stressless, except for the acting.”
And she definitely knows her stuff. Aside from the Mad Men redux, Allison flirted with the camera a few other times, too. There’s the deliciously slowed-down cover of Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok” and her numerous skits with Yale’s acting improv group, Just Add Water.
In other words, Williams not only worked hard to get “discovered” but she also worked hard to know her craft. All in all, we’d say it paid off. She’s got a job on the critically acclaimed Girls and, for what it’s worth, she’s our favorite of the gang! Well played, Williams!