Andrew Rannells: Meet The New Normal's Bryan

Actor Andrew Rannells leaves behind missionary work in Broadway’s most outrageous musical to redefine fatherhood in the surrogate baby sitcom The New Normal.

BY Jeremy Kinser

July 10 2012 3:00 AM ET

Above: Rannells performs his showstopper “I Believe” in The Book of Mormon.

 

“My Spidey sense told me that he’s a really big breakout star and I should write something for him,” Murphy recalls. “It’s very rare to find a leading man who’s that funny and good-looking. I knew I’d use him in something.” Murphy called Rannells and made a deal with him. “I pitched him the new show I was working on and he loved it,” Murphy adds.

Murphy wasn’t the only creative wunderkind to take an interest in the Mormon poster boy. Lena Dunham, flush with the success of her acclaimed indie Tiny Furniture, had recently landed a deal with HBO to write and produce Girls, another zeitgeist-y series, described as a recession-era answer to Sex and the City, and was looking to cast Elijah, the gay ex-boyfriend of Dunham’s character Hannah.

“Lena and Jenni [Konner, executive producer for the series] came to opening night and asked me to read,” Rannells says about his casting. “He was originally written as a yoga instructor, I recall. It wasn’t really me. Very graciously, Lena and Jenni let me tweak it to fit me. That, he says, repeating a signature phrase, “was a real gift.”

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