This week, on Nancy’s World, we’re getting a play by play of the days Nancy spent in Hollywood on the set of Grace and Frankie.
OB: Can you tell us something special about the first episode of season three?
NR: Well, my friend Robbie called me up and she says, “ So, do you want to come to L.A. and be an extra in your own (art) show?” and I’m like, “HELL YES!”. So, I went to L.A. and I had been working up until that moment on some paintings for episodes that were farther down the line. Work was insane. Anyways, I get there and a PA picks me up from the airport with my name on the sign and everything! It is early in the morning, I get dropped off at the set and Robbie is in a meeting. So, I am very happy to just be sitting there in her office, reading a book and relaxing for a little bit because I had been nuts making paintings that past week.
OB: Walk us through what was it like being on a set filled with your work?
NR: Fast forward to 4 o’clock that same afternoon, I’m still sitting in Robbie’s office and this woman walks in and introduces herself, “Hi! My name is, so-and-so and I’m taking you over to the gallery set”. We get lost because the PA is new and she’s all nervous. Finally, we walk in and there is Devra, (the main person I work with/Production Designer) and an Art Director. We are in this huge, gorgeous gallery in Hollywood, ( Kohn Gallery) filled with my paintings. They were finishing hanging the last painting. The crew was just standing there eagerly because they wanted to see my reaction. I was floored. It was my dream show. We had all been working for, like, 2 months to pull this gallery set together and everyone seemed so happy and relieved once it was done. My seeing it was like a cherry on the cake for them.
OB: Yeah, it looks brilliant on the episode. I bet it was a tedious process getting everything perfect. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?
NR: When they call you, it’s not to tell you that it’s great work, it’s to tell you to make changes. The first episode, is an art show of Frankie’s (my) work, the Set Dec Department, the creator and I were in constant communication about pieces that were directly involved with the script. They had me do a nine foot painting of Babe (Estelle Parsons) in three days. There was one painting that I had to redo because it was the wrong shade of yellow. The turn around was really short. It’s like a painting marathon. I had to learn how to make paint dry faster.
OB: Let’s not forget the fact that you got to try your hand at acting. Tell us about being an extra!
NR: First of all, I was a nervous wreck. Acting is not in my wheelhouse at all. I was 100% out of my comfort zone. All I had to do was walk up to one of my paintings and look at it for a few moments and then walk away. I had to do it around 15-20 times. You would think they had asked me to fly a spaceship to the moon. I remember wishing I had a pencil to fix things I saw in this particular painting every time I had to walk up to it. Robbie wanted me to be in the background as much as possible. She thought it would be funny for me to walk up to one of my paintings and imitate the pose. Each time they gave me direction for this it was like, “Blah, blah, blah” I couldn’t hear them because I was so nervous. At the end of the day, I jokingly said said to the crew, “ So, I should quit my day job, right?” and they didn’t say anything, but their faces said, “No, honey, keep painting. You suck at acting.” and I was okay with that.
OB: What were your observations of the crew and the way they worked?
NR: Robbie and I went down to the set early the day after I flew in. Taking in the scene is intense. This shit is the real deal. Walking onto the lot, you spot the craft service dining area and food trucks, crew members running back and forth, getting ready for the shoot. The morning rush on set was like this beautiful choreographed ballet. At one point I got to sit in Video Village and watch the monitors with the directors and producers. Fun Fact: This episode was Marta Kaufman’s directorial debut!
OB: What about the actors? Did you get to meet any of the cast?!
NR: They all wanted to meet me! The cast have seen bits and pieces of me (my work) for three seasons, so it made sense that they wanted to meet the art part of Frankie. I got to meet Sam Waterston(Sol) , Ernie Hudson(Jacob), even Kenny Loggins! Of course, I got to meet Lily and Jane! Marta (Kaufman) ran up to me at one point and said, "Jane wants to meet you!" and we had a nice conversation. When Lily walked onto the set and saw the work installed, she said "Man, I'm good!". They were all was absolutely delightful! The whole four days were just a total out-of-body experience... just a dream!