The legendary Carol Burnett held court in Pasadena in support of her new show Palm Royale during Apple TV+’s TCA presentation on Monday. Surrounded by her cast including Ricky Martin, Laura Dern, Josh Lucas and Amber Chardae Robinson, Burnett teased what fans will see when the series premieres on Wednesday, March 20.
Loosely based on Juliet McDaniel’s novel Mr. and Mrs. American Pie and produced by Apple Studios, Palm Royale is a true underdog story that follows Maxine Simmons (Kristen Wiig) as she endeavors to break into Palm Beach high society. As Maxine attempts to cross that impermeable line between the haves and the have-nots, Palm Royale asks the same question that still baffles us today: “How much of yourself are you willing to sacrifice to get what someone else has?”
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Burnett revealed she decided to take the role in the series because she was keen to work with the actors in the ensemble cast.
“All I had to do was hear who was going to be in it: Kristen [Wiig], Laura, Ricky—it’s just an incredible cast. I didn’t even read the script. I wanted to work with these people and get to know them. We had dinner and a lot of fun,” Burnett shared. “Of course, in the first few episodes, I’m in a coma and I still got paid. So it was a slam dunk.”
She added, “I did read the script; I was kidding before. To read that and to know that I could have fun with the directors and the way it was written. And they let me do what I do. Well, playing doctor [with Martin] was in the script, which I know sounds kind of lascivious, but they really did play doctor. Ricky in some of those scenes was just heaven.”
Martin remembers early call days with Burnett and how she brought “light and love” when they shot scenes together, even when she was in a coma. He said, “I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to spend time with her on set; it was very beautiful. Oh, and I gave her a lot of hand massages. She loves those.”
The Puerto Rican singer and actor is making his return to TV for the general market five years after portraying Antonio D’Amico in FX’s The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story following much acclaim. Martin was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie in 2018.
Martin revealed he’s also currently working on new music but he returned to acting because it’s something “that really fulfills [him] and [he] feels so much passion for.”
Robinson, who plays Virginia in the series, shared what it was like playing a Black woman in 1969, which was a different experience than that of the white people of the era.
“Being an African American in 1969 and a woman is a very specific period for us. We were dealing with things that weren’t as luxurious as the clothes that Kristen [Wiig] was buying. But I think that’s what appealed to me in the script and this role, was that she was living in a reality that really showed what was going on. She’s dealing with being a fish out of water in this place and time and navigating that. I think we did a really good job.”
With premiere coming along quickly, Burnett is already looking toward the future.
“In this show, everyone has wonderful moments and it was just a joy going into work every day. You know what? At my age, it’s a joy to be anywhere. [Laughs] This was something special to me. I hope there’s a second season because I don’t want to be out of work.”
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