Melissa Rauch does a 180 in the Olympic comedy The Bronze filmed in Amherst.
Known for playing the sweet Bernadette Rostenkowski-Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory, Melissa Rauch does a 180 with her portrayal in The Bronze. As bronze medalist Hope Ann Gregory, she's a foul-mouthed, boozing, washed-up Olympic gymnast. Written by Rauch and her husband and filmed in Amherst, the movie — in theaters now — tells the story of the Olympian who fades in anonymity everywhere except her hometown. "Hope falls from grace," says Rauch, "but I believe she's an inspirational character." Rauch talks about gymnastics, Amherst and the fragility of fame.
Q. What motivated you to do a film about the ultra-competitive world of gymnastics?
A. It's about the fascination with celebrity and the fact that these gymnasts retire at essentially the same age when other girls start finding themselves. They are told how to act, look and speak in a certain way. What does someone do when that's all ripped away?
Q. You wanted a small-town setting for this film. Why did you pick Amherst?
A. We really wanted the town to be a character in the movie, and Amherst was exactly what we saw in our minds. We pictured a place where you would drive by the auto body shop and the guys would wave at you, and that's exactly what happened when we first got there.
Q. Which scene in the film comes from your own experience with fame?
A. I was on the show Best Week Ever, and I would go to my local mall in New Jersey and always get a free pretzel. When the show was canceled, they stopped giving me pretzels. Like Hope, I was getting kicked when I was down.
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