WGN America will debut its second original scripted series, “Manhattan,” on July 27. In preparation for the 1940s period drama, which surrounds the scientists tasked with developing the atomic bomb in New Mexico — and their in-the-dark families — Zap2it caught up with the cast for a Q&A about their new show.
Up next is Rachel Brosnahan, who plays Abby Isaacs, one of the scientists’ young wives adjusting to life in the top-secret desert town of Los Alamos.
Zap2it: Which is more challenging: ’40s fashion or nuclear physics?
Brosnahan: Goodness. Nuclear physics.
What did you actually know about The Manhattan Project before you auditioned for the role?
Not enough! I was kind of mad that I didn’t learn more about it in school. I had learned loosely about the development of the bomb but had no idea about this strange isolated community and the families that made such an impact during that pivotal time.
If you could hang out with a real Manhattan Project scientist, who would you pick?
Impossible choice! The Manhattan Project housed some of the world’s most influential minds. But one? Oppenheimer. I’d love to hear about the project and the community from his perspective. And rumor has it, he was QUITE the ladies’ man.
Marry/kiss/kick to the curb: Einstein, Oppenheimer, Fermi.
I think they’re all equally brilliant and have made remarkable contributions that forever changed the face of science. So, that aside, here goes: I’d marry Einstein because, that hair. Kiss Oppie because I’ve gotta see if the rumors are true. And kick Fermi to the curb, because he works too much and probably never cleans the house.
What are your favorite and least favorite things about working on a period piece?
My favorite thing about working on THIS period piece is the standout cast and crew. Truly unparalleled. And my least…I can’t steal the wardrobe!
What’s one thing about this time in history — or The Manhattan Project, specifically — that you didn’t know before you started working on the show?
I can actually say I learn something new every day. Most recently, I was reading about the various incarnations of the Town Council, an ever-evolving civilian government attempting to better the community. All the subgroups (i.e. working wives, WACs, scientists) were represented and worked together to put pressure on the powers that be to help meet their needs.