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Exclusive interview: Big Shot’s Jessalyn Gilsig talks about her character Coach Holly and working with John Stamos

Jessalyn Gilsig and John Stamos on the set of Big Shot
Playing Holly Barnett in Big Shot is actor Jessalyn Gilsig, pictured here with John Stamos. Pic credit: Disney+/Gilles Mingasson

Stakes are high in the new Disney Plus series Big Shot. The short-tempered basketball coach Marvyn Korn (John Stamos) gets recruited to coach an all-girls high school basketball team after he is dropped from the National Collegiate Athletic Association for his unpredictable behavior.

At the high school is where we meet the cool-headed assistant coach Holly Barrett.

Playing Holly is actor Jessalyn Gilsig, best known for her role as Terri Schuester in Glee and Lauren Davis in Boston Public — a drama series created by the same writer and producer from Big Shot. 

During Gilsig’s time on Glee, her Big Shot costar John Stamos was also a frequent guest star in the musical series. However, their paths never crossed despite both appearing in the Britney/Britney episode in Season 2. Gilsig shared, “It’s so funny, people associated us both with the show, but we never actually saw each other while we were in the show.” 

During the press circuit for Big Shot, Jessalyn Gilsig took time to chat with Monsters & Critics about playing her character Holly Barrett and her audition process for the series. 

Monsters & Critics: Your character is so cool and down-to-earth. What is the best part about playing Holly? 

Jessalyn Gilsig: The best part about playing Holly is that I wear tracksuits, every day, and comfortable shoes. I’ve never worn such comfortable shoes, I’m usually in heels. It was like I came to work in my actual clothes and then I got to put on more comfortable clothes. 

The only thing that’s weird about wearing a tracksuit all of the time is that you feel like a child. So, sometimes I was like, “Do I look like a little kid?” But yeah, it was amazing! I guess I could ask Jane Lynch because that’s basically what she did on Glee. 

It was interesting to play her because I don’t typically play characters that are described as “down-to-earth,” I usually play, like you said, on Glee and other roles, women who have an agenda and are laying the groundwork for some kind of secret attack.

And, that’s really not who Holly is, at all. Holly is so genuinely committed to these girls and to this school and to the program, and even that was a challenge for me, as an actor.

M&C: What was the audition process for Big Shot like? 

Gilsig: I had worked with David Kelly in the past on a show called Boston Public, many years ago, that was my first big job and I had worked with Bill D’elia who is also one of our producers, and they just invited me to come on board. There’s no higher compliment than being invited to work with somebody that you worked with, in the past. 

M&C: That’s such a high compliment, as you said, your past characters have a fierce agenda and then they instantly thought of you when it came to playing Holly — that’s great!

Gilsig: You’re absolutely right, it made me insecure. I was like — I don’t know if I can, but I’ll give it a shot. 

Check out our full interview below.

Liked this interview? Check out our interview with Family Reunion’s Tia Mowry.

Big Shot premieres April 16 on Disney Plus.

Raven Brunner


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