Woman to Watch: Breakout Actress Abby Quinn Shines Alongside Hollywood’s Heavyweights
Abby Quinn is the breakout actress to watch out for. She has been landing one role after another —from Landline with Jenny Slate and Edie Falco to Better Call Saul and Black Mirror. Currently, the actress can be seen in the film, After The Wedding, alongside Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, and Billy Crudup. This fall and winter, you can watch Abby in the latest adaptation of Little Women (written and directed by Greta Gerwig) as Annie and starring as Mabel Buchman in the revival of ’90s sitcom, Mad About You. “When I was doing press for After The Wedding, that’s when I heard I got the role for Mad About You, so those couple of weeks were really exciting. It’s been a lot of fun so far,” says the busy Michigan native.
Abby has shown that she can hold her own while working alongside legendary actresses, including Julianne Moore [After the Wedding] and Meryl Streep [Little Women], and humbly shares her surreal and incredible experience. “It feels pretty crazy! I’ve been watching Julianne Moore, Emma Watson, and Meryl Streep my whole life on screen. They’re really some of my favorite actresses; I admire them. It’s been really incredible and I learned so much,” she says about working with the three. “I don’t think it will ever feel normal to be working with some of my idols.”
What inspired you to become an actress?
Abby Quinn: My mom raised us to be very bold and not afraid of what people think. I feel like that was instilled in me at an early age. I just did a play like every chance that I could up until I graduated from high school, starting from when I was 6 or 7. It was never a question for me. I think that I was enjoying it so much that I never really wanted to stop. It’s just been a part of who I am for my whole life.
You have a lot coming up, which project are you most excited about?
AQ: Well, we’re filming Mad About You right now. We’re on week three, so I’m really excited about that. I’ve never done a sitcom before. Pretty much from Monday to Thursday, we’re rehearsing the episode, and then we’re in front of a live audience on Friday. It’s been really exciting because I’ve been so used to shooting movies. This feels a bit more like theater, which I do really like because that’s how I started acting. I’m also really excited to see Little Women. The version that came out in the ’90s is one of my favorite movies of all time. I am so excited to see that and I think the trailer looks amazing.
Tell us about your character, Mabel, in Mad About You.
AQ: The reboot picks up from when Mabel is 17, and she’s moving into NYU as a freshman. And I think, she and her parents [played by Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser] are this unit. They really depend on each other, even though Mabel is a bit rebellious. She really loves her parents and they’re really close. I think it’s equally hard for her to go off to college as it is for them, even though she won’t admit it. She is a very interesting and cool character to play because she’s opinionated and strong-willed.
What can viewers expect from the Mad About You reboot?
AQ: I think the heart of it is the same show. It really does center around this marriage and it’s still just as funny. People are still laughing out loud at every take, the live audience. The reaction has been so good. I’m hoping that people get the same feeling in this reboot as they did in the original, which is, I’m going to laugh but I’m also going to feel for this couple and root for them. There’s a lot of humor and heart in the reboot.
There is a lot of buzz and anticipation around Greta Gerwig’s adaptation of Little Women, tell us about your character.
AQ: I play Annie Moffat, and Emma Watson’s character, Meg, is coming to this ball and she’s feeling out of place. She doesn’t have a fancy dress and her family doesn’t usually go to really fancy balls. My character is looking out for her, in a way. She offers to let Meg wear one of her dresses so she can feel like she fits in. It was fun playing someone who is really open and kind, and wants to take Meg under her wing. It was just two scenes, but it was a lot of fun because we were all in corsets and beautiful ball gowns. I think it’s going to look really stunning visually.
What was your reaction when you landed your roles in Little Women and Mad About You?
AQ: It was a feeling of shock just like every time. The process of auditioning just feels so long. By the time it happens, it’s this mixture of exhaustion and relief and so much excitement. For Little Women, my mom introduced me to the movie and it’s one of her favorites as well. So I just called her and was like screaming. That may have felt the most surreal, just because I feel attached to the story and because the cast is just filled with most of my favorite actors. For Mad About You, I felt so attached to my character that I just knew I was going to be devastated if I didn’t get it —which is something that I try to avoid. But it was pretty impossible for this one. That was a crazy day, hearing that I did get it. It was so exciting for me!
How did you prepare for your roles in Little Women and Mad About You? They are completely different roles.
AQ: For Little Women, I rewatched the movie, which I’ve seen like, 30 times at this point. I read the script a bunch of times and it’s so beautifully written. For both parts, I worked with my acting coach, Rebecca Kitt. For Mad About You, I’ve been watching the show a lot, and again working with my acting coach. Right now, I think it’s more so me finding the balance in filming a sitcom and also being aware that there are cameras, while also keeping in mind that sitcoms have to be a bit bigger and performative than an indie film, which I’m kind of used to at this point.
If you could give your younger self advice, what would it be?
AQ: This is probably advice that I will need now and forever: just being okay with being who you are and owning that, instead of feeling like you have to present something and to be someone else in order to get a part or have people like you. After auditioning for a couple of years now and working in the industry, what’s most important and rare is to just stay true to who you are. I would just tell my younger self, be who you are unapologetically and don’t be hurt if people don’t take a liking to you. It’s just most important to like yourself.
Follow Abby on Instagram: @abbyquinnya. Don’t miss her in Mad About You on Spectrum Originals beginning November 20th and Little Women in theaters December 25.