Earlier this month, we had a chance to talk with GLOW co-creator Liz Flahive and stars Betty Gilpin and Alison Brie about Netflix’s latest hit show, and the difficulties in combining storytelling with, as the show puts it, “tits and blood.”
One of the bits we couldn’t include in the interview thanks to a spoiler embargo was a conversation about Brie’s inspiration for the “Zoya the Destroyer” character: original Gorgeous Lady of Wrestling Ninotchka.
With Spandex: One thing I love about the show is that it’s based on [the original] Glow and all the characters sort of have an analog to a real Glow character. How much Ninotchka did you watch? Because you are straight up Ninotchka.
Alison Brie: I watched, there’s this infamous … you know, she’s always making phone calls and talking about the KGB, so I would watch those when working on the accent. I didn’t work with a dialect coach or anything, because I wanted it to be more “Boris and Natasha” than Eastern Promises, essentially. This is what Glow is, so I did.
I watched her matches to get ideas for our final match. And to think even when we were talking to Beth Morgan, who was our costume designer, and she was designing the costume and we would look at … We didn’t want it to be too similar, but we would also just to look at the way that she moved in her outfit and walked into a ring-
A lot of like, shoulders back.
Very tall, walking tall. Which was easy while working on this show, because I felt so empowered all the time anyways that I was walking tall. I tried not to watch anything too much because I wanted Ruth to be singular, I wanted the characters to be my own, and even Zoya to kind of be her own monster. She’s a bit more wily or something than Ninotchka. But I did watch her matches. I mostly wanted to steal moves and voice.
Here’s a little bit of Ninotcha in action in the 1980s, if you’ve never seen her or heard her speak.