Cristin Milioti is the definition of an entertainer. She’s a musician, singer/songwriter, stage performer, Broadway star, and actress – and that’s just what we know. She won a Grammy and was nominated for a Tony Award for her breakout performance in the musical adaptation of “Once.” She collaborated with Martin Scorsese on “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and, in television, has had pivotal (in some cases, awards-worthy) roles in “How I Met Your Mother,” “Fargo,” and “Black Mirror.” Milioti has worked hard to ensure the only thing you can expect from her is to be unexpected with the projects she chooses. Typecasting is the last thing the 34-year-old performer wants, and while, early on, some have tried, Milioti has remained steadfast pivoting using her natural talents and diverse skillset.
“I never wanted to be pigeonholed,” said Milioti. “There was a time where I did two things back to back that were very similar and I just felt everyone being like ‘and that’s’ what you do now! Forever!’ And while it was a privilege to be able to do those projects, I really turned the wheel and said to myself no, no, no, I want to do all of it. That’s not to knock that particular genre, but one of the most exciting parts of my job is that I get to do as many different things as possible, as many different shows and genres and styles as possible.”
Milioti’s latest film is The Lonely Island‘s 2020 Sundance smash hit “Palm Springs.” The film was one of the most talked-about movies at the festival and even broke records selling to Neon and Hulu for $17.5 million and 69 cents, making it the biggest Sundance sale ever. The film follows two strangers, Nyles (Andy Samberg) and Sarah (Milioti), who attend a wedding at Palm Springs only to get stuck inside a time loop unexpectedly. Re-living the wedding day over and over again, the two not only begin to form a budding romance but embark upon an introspective journey.
Being a musician first and then actor, Milioti often finds herself thinking musically when it comes to developing her characters. She creates playlists for each of them and believes the kind of music someone listens too can tell you a lot about a person.
“Sarah’s playlist had a lot of Fiona Apple, Mitski, Sharon Van Etten, Casey Musgraves,” said Milioti. “It was a lot of women who wail – artists who sort of spoke to her angst and her pain as well as her release.”
During our conversation with Cristin Milioti, we discuss her work on the stage, songwriting, the nervousness that comes with singing in front of an audience, “Russian Doll,” how never seeing “Groundhog Day” gave her a fresh perspective on “Palm Springs” and much more.
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