Allison Williams is an American actress, comedian, and musician.
She is the daughter of Jane Gillan Stoddard and NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams.Williams was raised in New Canaan, Connecticut. She attended Yale University and graduated in 2010. While at Yale, Williams was a member of the improv comedy troupe Just Add Water for four years, and was inducted to St. Elmo.
In 2010, she performed a mashup of "Nature Boy" set to RJD2's "A Beautiful Mine", the theme song for the television series Mad Men. The YouTube video of the performance received widespread praise on the Internet, and convinced family friend Judd Apatow that she should be given a part in the HBO TV series Girls. She was cast shortly after and credited her experience at Just Add Water for passing the audition.Girls premiered on April 15, 2012.
Published: August 2012
Photography by Seiji Fujimori
Stylist: Tammy Eckenswiller
Make-up Artist: Julie Harris |The Wall Group|
Hair Stylist: Ted Gibson
Manicurist: Olya Titova
Newsflash: Allison Williams Has Arrived
Williams is the comely co-star on TV's most explicit new show, Girls. Her dad's on TV, too. His show is...a little different
If Allison Williams looks ever so vaguely familiar, it might be because you saw her slow-jam cover of Ke$ha's "Tik Tok," which she recorded while she was an undergrad at Yale (and which got five million views on YouTube). Or you might remember her playing Kate Middleton in Funny or Die's sketch about the royal wedding. ("I had no idea he was so ****ing bald," she says to the camera, Prince William sitting forlornly by her side.) Or possibly her sultry remix of the Mad Men theme song, set to Nat King Cole lyrics, which earned the 23-year-old actress her first major role as an uptight Brooklynite on Girls, HBO's startlingly sex-soaked, Judd Apatow-produced new comedy series about four college grads struggling to get by in New York. But there is another explanation: Williams looks ever so vaguely like her father, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams. Here, the sexier Williams speaks.
GQ: Will men watch this show?
Allison Williams: Um, it's called Girls.
GQ: OK, but it's not set at Hooters. They might be afraid it's Sex and the City: Brooklyn.
Allison Williams: A lot of guys I know loved Sex and the City. They'll take it to their grave, but they watched every episode of it. Occasionally they'll scare you with a reference to Mr. Big.
GQ: The show is very explicit—and dark. You masturbate against a door at a party. Are you nervous about people seeing that?
Allison Williams: I'd be worried about myself as a human if I hadn't been nervous. But I'm playing a character and I found that very reassuring.
GQ: What are you worried about your parents seeing?
Allison Williams: They know I'm acting. And they're not the ones that parented that girl. That said, there are gonna be watching-through-your-fingers moments. I'll warn them about everything.
GQ: Your character has a boyfriend she doesn't respect. She jokes that he has a vagina.
Allison Williams: She hasn't been able to have that honest conversation with herself about the future of their relationship. And she's too insecure to imagine living without him.
GQ: When it comes to nudity, Lena Dunham—the creator and star—really goes for it.
Allison Williams: Over and over. That'll keep happening.
GQ: Will you get naked on the show?
Allison Williams: I would prefer to keep my clothes on. Unless there's a brisk breeze or something, I tend to keep them on.
GQ: Did you watch a lot of TV growing up?
Allison Williams: I was only allowed only to watch public television until I was 12 years old. I would come home from friends's houses with a list of demands. "OK, We have all the wrong cereals. You guys are asleep on the job." But there was a seminal moment where my dad and I watched Animal House together.
GQ: Did you always want to be an actress?
Allison Williams: I started out really into musical theater. So you can imagine I was super popular. I wasn't awkward looking at all.
GQ: When did your awkward phase end?
Allison Williams: In my mind, it ended the day my braces came off. Everything was in slow motion and I was beautifully lit.
GQ: What did you think of your father hosting SNL?
Allison Williams: I didn't know if it was a good idea. I'm very protective of his credibility. He's worked so hard to establish it. But it was great.
GQ: He's a NASCAR fan. Did you grow up at the racetrack?
Allison Williams: I've been to Talladega and Daytona. The bumper stickers on my car are as follows: There is a Yale bumper sticker, there is a first Cavalry from the Army—the group my dad was embedded with. And then there's two Dale Earnhardt stickers. It's about the most confusing back-of-car one can imagine.
Broadway veteran Ann Harada and Girls star Allison Williams attended a recent performance of Off-Broadway's Triassic Parq the Musical at the SoHo Playhouse.
In Marshall Pailet, Bryce Norbitz and Steve Wargo's musical comedy, a member of a clan of female dinosaurs spontaneously turns male, creating a chain reaction of identity crises among the other dinosaurs. The 2012 FringeNYC Best Musical winner will run through August 5, with an opening set for June 27.
Pailet directs the production, which features Lindsay Nicole Chambers, Brandon Espinoza, Wade McCollum, Claire Neumann, Lee Seymour, Shelley Thomas, and Alex Wyse.
Vocalist: Allison Williams
Director: Ralph Arend
DP: Vincent Peone
Editor: Ralph Arend
Composer: Jay Wadley
Sound Mixer: Raphael
Producer: Josh Ruben
Producer: Erika Hampson
Line-Producer: Nick Uhas
Steadicam Op: Yousheng Tang
Gaffer: Corey Fontana
Grip: Jason Beasley
Grip: Leo Schott
AC: Andrew Brinkman
DIT: Kali Riley
PA: Roland Da Rold
PA: Suzie Jozkowski
PM: Jordan Hall/Elefant Films
Art Director: Andy Myers
Prop Master - Thor Foss
Scenic - Jen Dunlap
Set Dresser - Bennie De Grase
Set Dresser - Luc Grusen
Flute: Roberta Michel
Celeste: Trevor Gureckis
Violin 1: Pauline Kim
Violin 2: Marissa Licata
Viola: Meena Bhasin
Cello: Jessie Marino
Bass: Zack Lober
Drums: Colin Stranahan
Congas: Jay Wadley
source youtube.com, uploaded by VideosRecordedLive
WASN’T this supposed to be the television season of the young woman? It was only last September when the arrival of network sitcoms like “Whitney,” “2 Broke Girls” and “New Girl” heralded the possibility that the urban exploits of women in their 20s, once largely invisible to television programmers, would become a genre as established as the gross-out crime procedural. But while those comedies found their followings, they also took criticism for their crassness, their fixations on punch lines about lady parts and their oddly inauthentic depictions of the women at the heart of those shows.
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Joe Anderson/Ifc Films
Laurie Simmons, seated, with Ms. Dunham in “Tiny Furniture.”
All of which has created an exciting if potentially perilous opportunity for Lena Dunham and her new HBO comedy, “Girls.” It comes two years after Ms. Dunham’s film debut, “Tiny Furniture,” a comedy-drama that she wrote, directed and starred in, about a recent college graduate adrift in Manhattan. That film made a splash at the South by Southwest festival with its honesty and unsentimental sense of humor, and she has channeled that spirit into “Girls.”
Ms. Dunham, 25, the show’s creator, plays Hannah, a post-college Brooklynite with big if uncertain ambitions, a perpetual lack of money and a coterie of friends with personal lives as jumbled and complicated as her own: the headstrong Jessa (played by her “Tiny Furniture” co-star Jemima Kirke), the seemingly perfect Marnie (Allison Williams) and the innocent Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet of “Mad Men” and “Parenthood”).
“Girls,” which will be shown at South by Southwest this month before making its HBO debut on April 15, arrives with the imprimatur of Judd Apatow, the “Knocked Up” director and “Bridesmaids” producer, who serves as an executive producer on the series. And it is unafraid to use its cable-television freedom to the fullest degree: its characters talk frankly about their relationships, their bodies and sex, while having plenty of it on screen, in ways that are even more awkward and bittersweet than audiences saw on HBO’s “Sex and the City.” (That touchstone series gets name checked in the pilot episode of “Girls.”) The series is bound to be scrutinized, as much for its depictions of Brooklyn as for its blunt candor about youth and young womanhood.
Ms. Dunham; Jenni Konner, an executive producer; and the “Girls” co-stars Ms. Kirke, Ms. Williams and Ms. Mamet gathered recently to talk about their work on the show and the issues it raises. These are excerpts from that conversation.
LENA DUNHAM The movie that made me want to make a movie was “Funny Ha Ha” by Andrew Bujalski. I felt like I was spying. I didn’t know you were allowed to take a conversation that feels stilted and people are saying what they mean but sort of not. I really like all the new network “girl” shows. But someone once described the attitude of women on network TV as “Check it out, guys: ladies be talkin’!” And I think we were really careful about anything that rung false.
JENNI KONNER That’s why I responded to “Tiny Furniture.” Judd makes the joke that I was the distributor of “Tiny Furniture.” I was such a huge fan that I would give out copies to everyone, like: “You need to watch this movie. It’s very important.”
School’s Out Forever
JEMIMA KIRKE My post-college experience was a bit — not disastrous, but now I’ve said it, so it was. It’s like you’re on a boat, and you’re used to the waves, and then you get off, and land feels really weird.
ALLISON WILLIAMS I graduated in 2010. That summer I floundered furiously and quickly. Like, “All right, this is go time.” I shot this video called “Mad Men Theme Song ...With a Twist,” and among the people who saw it was Judd Apatow, in the process of casting this show.
ZOSIA MAMET I didn’t go to college, so I cannot say that I had a post-college experience. Having been in the working world since I was 17 and watching all my dearest friends fall off the face of the earth when college ended, I read the pilot and loved it, greatly. I was shooting a movie in upstate New York, and I ended up making a tape in a barn, literally, on a Sunday and got cast off of my tape.
KIRKE I got pregnant while we were making “Tiny Furniture.”
WILLIAMS I didn’t know that.
KIRKE I didn’t know it either. [Laughs] Then I was really pregnant, lying on the bed, and Lena’s playing with my hair and rubbing my belly and she’s like, “Will you be in my TV show?” At first I said no way. I was like: “I’m going to be fat. I can’t do that.” But after some talking I realized this was no different than doing “Tiny Furniture” with her.
That’s What She Said
DUNHAM The stuff that I’m naturally drawn to writing is stuff I’ve felt but haven’t seen. I’d seen “Gossip Girl,” which was an aspirational high school story. And “Sex and the City,” which I grew up on and completely respect, was about women who had figured out the career, figured out their friendships and were really trying to lock the love thing down. To me there’s this time of life where you don’t even know what you want, and you don’t know how to want it. It’s much more abstract and wandering.
WILLIAMS Every time we would get sent scripts, I’d be reading it in my room and be like, [gasps] “I can’t believe that just happened.”
KIRKE I read it, and I was like, “You little thief.” Because she would take things that we’d done or said, like, last week.