The new series Up Here, out Friday on Hulu, follows a couple working through their anxieties in late ‘90s New York City. Mae Whitman stars as a writer who can’t get out of her own head, and she tells ABC Audio that even though she’s wanted to do a musical for a while, the thought of it also scared her.
“I’m at that point now where I’ve been lucky enough to do so many different things that it’s exciting to me to do something I haven’t done and that really terrifies me,” Whitman says. “This is genuinely the most terrifying thing I could ever possibly imagine. And I was like, well, if I’m scared of it, I should probably make myself try at least.”
Whitman says it was her Parenthood co-star Lauren Graham who convinced her to do the show.
“She slapped me around for three hours at a sushi restaurant, and basically forced me to go and was there for me every step along the way. I honestly don’t think I would have been able to do this without her,” Whitman said. “There were times where I was like, W.W.L.D. – what would Lauren do?”
Carlos Valdes stars as the other half of the show’s main romance, and says he found inspiration in the tone and execution of the FX series Fosse/Verdon.
Whitman, however, found her inspiration on the stage. She moved to New York to film Up Here and was able to catch the Tony Award-winning A Strange Loop before it left Broadway.
“I cried, I laughed, I screamed. It was incredible,” Whitman says. “The story is this person grappling with these insecurities in his head. And I was kind of like, ‘Wow, this is totally kismet. I can draw a lot of inspiration from this.’”
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