It's been a busy few years for actress Christiane Seidel, who attracted attention in the period pieces "Boardwalk Empire" and "Godless," and who is now playing Bob Fosse's mistress, Hannah, on the FX hit "Fosse/Verdon," which is set during the making of the 1972 classic "Cabaret."
"I can get lost in researching specific time periods," she tells Lapalme for its spring issue. "The costumes, hair, and makeup are so transformative. It makes me feel like I belong in that era."
She may also exude belonging in her projects because, "As an actress, I never judge the character I play, even if it’s very difficult. My job is to justify a character’s actions and understand what motivates her. In general, we as people don’t prejudge our actions even if we realize later and regret what we did."
That outlook came in handy playing Bob Fosse's mistress! "Hannah meets Bob on set while he’s directing 'Cabaret' in Munich. He seduces her with his immense charm, charisma, and power. She easily falls for him, and they have an affair, one of many throughout his life. Gwen Verdon said, 'Bob grew up around strip clubs. Women were his hobby. He’d even cheat on his mistress. Part of him felt guilty, and another part was ecstatic.'"
"Fosse/Verdon" dramatizes the legendary creative and romantic partnership between Gwen Verdon and her husband Bob Fosse, spending time dissecting how the couple juggled being parents with being entertainment icons. As for Seidel, she has her own balancing act to perform — along with being a busy actress, she's raising toddler twins!
"It’s amazing, crazy, fun and hard," she tells Lapalme. "Their needs, either the same or the opposite, are always the first priority... 'Mom guilt' is a real thing when I’m not by their side. And finding any sort of balance would simply not be possible without my husband, who is just as involved and present as I am, and at the same time fully supportive of my career."
How does she make it work? "Some days are smooth. Other days I’m spread thin, sleep-deprived, running behind, and going nowhere and everywhere at once," she admits. "The good thing is how I’ve become way more efficient. And I’ve learned to say 'no' to a lot of things, which is super empowering by the way. I’ve also learned, still learning actually, to let go of my perfectionism — which is also freeing."
Lapalme's spring issue is out now.