Q&A With Timeless Star Abigail Spencer and Costume Designer Mari-An Ceo

Prior to the People Magazine Q&A with the talented women behind “Timeless,” I got to participate in  Q&A session with the executive producers, Abigail and the show’s incredibly talented costume designer Mari-an Ceo. Here are some of the highlights…

Q&A with Abigail Spencer and Mari-An Ceo

Question: How has it been like being back shooting the show?:

Abigail Spencer: I don’t feel more pressure, I feel very grateful. I mean we got cancelled, I don’t know if you guys know about it and then three days later we got picked up, We moved the production from Vancouver to Los Angeles, so we’re all home. I have a nine year old, Mari-An has a 13 year old. We’re all parents so it’s nice to be home so our kids now come and see us at work. I feel grateful for being given another go at it and we are so grateful to the fans. It was really their love and their rabid appetite for the show that brought us back.

Question: Do you outsource or make all the costumes on the show?

Mari-An Ceo: For our principal actors, because they have to have multiple outfits – it’s hard enough to make one but it’s really hard to make three in a couple of days. For background players we go to costume houses and sometimes we’ll buy things depending upon what we need but with principals, we pretty much make everything.

Abigail Spencer: They make it in front of my eyes, there’s this guy named Carlos who pretty makes Ihem in front of our eyes.

Mari An – She (Abigail) asked for a dress for a photo shoot and we pretty much designed the dress together in like five minutes and Carlos draped it on her and you look down and he made it within a few hours.

Question: What are your feelings on gender issues and gender equality?

Abigail Spencer: I will say that Frances McDormand, dovetailing what she said in her speech let’s talk about an inclusion rider. If we just level the playing field across the board, because there are so many talented women in every department that are just not getting the opportunities because they haven’t been able to have enough stuff to be hired. So I am very curious about that statement, the inclusion rider. If we just reset the standard, reset the tone as actors, as artists and make those requests, I think things could really change. We have to over correct in order to achieve balance.

Question: What time period is your favorite?

Mari-an Ceo: All of them! I have this amazing experience where I go in and read a script and have to quickly learn about that era. We have to do it very quickly – I may know that part of history but then when you get into these scripts you really have to know. You really have to know where the hemline is. During certain periods in history, women held onto their clothes for 15 years – you have to make sure that you know what they were truly wearing during that time or you aren’t staying true to the clothing worn during that period.

Abigail: If I had my druthers the whole show would be about why the costumes are they way they are. It would be one long runway show!

Abigail: The best day of production is when we are in a brand new time period. We are dressed to the nines our hair and makeup department are just so great this year. It’s really funny. We shoot right next to “This is Us” and they’re all with their jeans and t-shirts and we all look like we’re really doing something. And they’re like “Oh look at them, the “Timeless” crew they always look like they’re working so hard.” We take over the whole lot, the New York streets, Milo sees me in a different outfit every time. I actually visited their set in my suffragettes outfit and Chrissy Metz was doing her scene and they were rolling and I almost accidentally walked into the frame. And I thought how funny would it be if I was sneaking behind her in the scene. It’s so nice to be right next to them because they are so lovely.

Question: As an actress, what character would you one day want to play?

Abigail Spencer: I want to play Katherine Hepburn before it’s too late. As an actor, I’m really not super into playing real people but she’s someone I would love to play. I can definitely sound like her and I can look just like her and Mari-An made one of my dreams come true this year because she actually made the Philadelphia Story dress for Lucy to wear in our Hollywood 1940’s episode and it was my dream. I’d like to play her while she was making “Philadelphia Story.” Here’s a little history on her. She was box office poison before this movie was made. She actually could not get hired – every movie she made was a total bomb and she was a total diva. She ended up doing Philadelphia Story on Broadway and her boyfriend was Howard Hughes at the time and he bought the rights to the play and gave it to her as a gift and told her, this is how you’re going to make money. So she became the producer of the movie. She made that movie happen and then the movie was so successful and that movie turned the tide for her and she became one of the most famous actresses of all time.

Question: Do you think the Times Up Movement has had an impact on your career path?

Abigail Spencer: I’ve always said no to a lot of stuff. I always protect my characters and how I represent women. Especially as a mother I was more conscious of it when my son was born. I now have a community behind me where that’s not even a conversation. I think we are really intentional with Lucy on Timeless in how she looks and we are careful not to sexualize her. She’s beautiful but she’s brilliant. The producers pitched it to me that way – her superpower is her brain. I wanted her to start out that way. I wanted her to feel very normal so when she’s having to do these extraordinary things.

TIMELESS – 2018 – EVENT – “NY Premiere Event”


A “Timeless” Experience at the New York Historical Society

TIMELESS – 2018 – EVENT – “NY Premiere Event”

When it comes to winter in New York, it truly is a mixed bag. Sometimes, you can spend the week facing sunny skies and freezing temperatures, while other days it’s 70 degrees and you can peel off the layers and take a leisurely stroll through Central Park. This past week, included one of those days where I didn’t quite know what to make of the weather. A huge Nor’easter was predicted and I was attending an event in New York City and brought my daughter along because her personal dream is to pursue a career as a costume designer and lucky for us, we were getting the chance to meet the top costume designer for the NBC show “Timeless.” Sometimes, I just love how work and life seem to intersect seamlessly.

In celebration of Women’s History Month and Timeless’ return to NBC on Sunday, March 11th, PEOPLE & Sony Pictures Television hosted a premiere event at the New-York Historical Society (N-YHS) in conjunction with the Center for Women’s History. The first such initiative of its kind in the country dedicated to spotlighting female contributions to history, N-YHS’ Center for Women’s History provided the perfect venue to highlight the important and powerful females throughout history and showcase the women of Timeless, both in-front of the camera and behind the scenes.

Just as the event was supposed to get underway, the heavy flakes started coming down but thankfully, we made it – braving the elements and stepping inside the New York Historical Society.  While I grew up in New York City and even lived on the upper west side – just five blocks away from this fascinating place –  I had never visited before. From the moment I entered the building, I was so impressed with all the exhibits that were on display especially in celebration of International Women’s History Month.

As we entered the lobby, we were able to see an authentic costumes from the NBC series “Timeless” and guess who was standing right in the middle of them? None other than the show’s star, Abigail Spencer!

TIMELESS – 2018 – EVENT – “NY Premiere Event”/Courtesy Credit: NBC

If you haven’t seen “Timeless” yet, here’s the premise in a nutshell. A beautiful historian named Lucy (played by Spencer) teams up with a group of time traveling good guys who need her help to catch some really bad people who keep manipulating history and screwing up the present and future. The group zaps themselves into pivotal moments in history – from the Hindenburg blowing up to World War I, to the suffragette movement, and more, racing back in time to catch the bad guys who are determined to change history for the worse.

After we checked out a few exhibits — including Billie Jean King’s tennis whites that she competed in at Wimbledon and a Tiffany lamp display created entirely by women, we then met in a private room with the executive producers of the show, Marney Hochman and Arika Lisanne Mittman who talked about how excited they were about the show’s return to NBC this season. They also shared some of their favorite storylines and gave us a preview of some of the incredible women in history they will be featuring this season on the show. Arika is a writer on “Timeless” and was the genius behind the second season premiere episode where Lucy is taken by her mom and evil sister (they’re both with the bad guys) back to World War I where she meets the first woman to ever win a Nobel Prize, Marie Curie. Take a look at this sneak peek clip…

Following a private blogger Q&A with the incredibly talented women behind “Timeless,” we got to see an advanced screening the premiere episode.  Editor in Chief of PEOPLE Jess Cagle then moderated a Q&A with Timeless star Abigail Spencer, co-showrunner Arika Lisanne Mittman, executive producer Marney Hochman, costume designer Mari-An Ceo, and Vice President, Chief Historian & Director of the N-YHS’ Center for Women’s History Valerie Paley who discussed the importance of highlighting women in history, the impact they have on today’s culture, and how these trailblazers are illustrated in Timeless. Take a look…

Don’t forget to tune in this Sunday, March 11 to Timeless on NBC 10pm/9c – from the intriguing storylines to the gorgeous costumes, honestly, it’s definitely must see TV!