When Abby Quinn watches Greta Gerwig’s new adaptation of Little Women she’ll see a very familiar face: her own.
“It’s so exciting because it was my favorite movie ever growing up,” said Quinn, who said her family watched the 1994 version every Christmas. “So, even auditioning for this was crazy to me…I found out I got the part. I was beside myself, I didn’t know what to do.”
What she did do was go to Boston for a week and play Annie Moffat, a wealthy friend of Meg March. Quinn’s in two scenes, both involving large parties and a lot of beautiful gowns.
“It really transported me in to that world,” said the Detroit Country Day School alumna. “It was the greatest experience ever.”
The Bloomfield Hills native has been having a lot of great experiences lately. Not only was Quinn in Little Women, but she also starred with Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams in After the Wedding.
And then there was this teeny, tiny project she did with Helen Hunt and Paul Reiser – the Mad About You revival. Quinn plays the teenage daughter, Mabel, of their characters, Paul and Jamie Buchman, who is about to head off to NYU.
Quinn, who is 23, had never seen the original series, which ran from 1992-1999. When she read the script though, she knew this was something she wanted to be a part of.
“I was really drawn to Mabel because she’s very outspoken, very opinionated, and she’s still so young,” she said.
For those who watched the original show, don’t expect Mabel to be anything like the twenty-something shown in an episode’s flash-forward. Hunt and Reiser made it clear they didn’t want Quinn to replicate that. They wanted her to make it her own.
That confidence to be creative and voice her opinions on characters goes back to her time at Detroit Country Day, where she was surrounded by passionate people who taught her so much.
It’s also where she made her stage debut, as a Munchkin in the Wizard of Oz in the first grade. Quinn did a play every year after that and also attended a theater camp in Telluride, Colorado, which was influential. Quinn landed an agent at 14 and sent out audition tapes from home for years.
She then went to Carnegie Mellon University – her dream school – for a year before deciding to head out to Los Angeles. She figured she would go for a year and then come back to school. Hollywood had other ideas.
After moving, she soon found herself cast her first movie, Landline with Jenny Slate and Edie Falco, which helped set the tone for what she’s drawn to in projects. The roles kept coming after that, including episodes of Better Call Saul and Black Mirror, the latter directed by Jodie Foster.
“I’ve been able to work with a lot of powerhouse female directors and actors,” Quinn said. “Also, male directors and actors who are very respectful and collaborative. I feel really lucky.”
Now that filming on Mad About You has finished, Quinn is open to being cast in just about anything. Especially if it’s a role that challenges her.
“I want to keep seeking out experiences like that, that really scare me…characters that might be really different from me and where it’s not something that comes so easy,” she said.
She would love to do a film or a musical in New York like 2012’s Once.
Perhaps a theater revival will appear on Quinn’s resume in the near future.
Photo: Cat Gwynn