Murray Bartlett Interview: Welcome to Chippendales

Murray Bartlett discusses “Welcome to the Chippendales,” playing a real-life character and how his time as an aerobics instructor on “Physical” has come in handy.


Many don’t know the story behind the stripper troupe of the same name Welcome to Chippendales, but they can have peace of mind knowing that the cast of the Hulu show didn’t either before signing on. Kumail Nanjiani plays Steve Banerjee, a California-based Indiana immigrant who later goes on to form the Chippendales. What begins as a lucrative business ends in bloodshed and imprisonment in a shocking story that has remained shrouded in mystery to this day.

Murray Bartlett, best known for his Emmy-winning performance as Armond in white lotus Season 1 and an outstanding stint Physically Season 2 stars as Nick de Noia, Steve’s business partner who helps shape Chippendales into what it will be. Welcome to Chippendales also stars Annaleigh Ashford, Juliette Lewis and Nicola Peltz.


Related: The best true crime shows on Netflix right now

screen rant met with Bartlett before the premiere of Welcome to Chippendales to tell the shocking true story of the series and how Physically helped him with the Chippendales dances.

Murray Bartlett on Welcome to Chippendales

Murray Bartlett as Nick de Noia in Welcome to Chippendales.

Screen Rant: I’m very curious as to what drew you to the role of Nick de Noia and the story at the center of Welcome to Chippendales because I had no idea that any of this had happened.

Murray Bartlett: Me neither. Yes. I think one of the great things about this show is that there will be a lot of people in our position of yours who know — or a lot of people know — Chippendales in general, but very few people know the backstory. This intrigued me because it’s such a shocking true crime story, really on steroids, but set in this fun world of Chippendales in the 70’s and 80’s. It’s so nicely balanced that way. It has great ups and downs. And there’s great joy in the show, but there’s also real darkness in it. So that was definitely attractive. And then my character, Nick de Noia, is this force of nature, creative genius and complicated in many ways. I have a real temperament, and [he’s] just an amazing character to have a chance to play.

Was there anything that particularly surprised you, either about Nick or the story in general when you found out about it?

Murray Bartlett: Actually everything just because I didn’t know about it. And it’s a male burlesque show, like fun, cool. I think the show has great depth because Steve Banerjee, who is played by Kumail Nanjiani, is an Indian immigrant. It’s an immigrant story – he’s chasing the American dream. The show explores what happens when something like this goes off the rails and a person becomes truly possessed [with] money and fame, and may lose sight of what the original dream was, or get caught up in the darker side of capitalism. And my character comes in [along with] the kind of unbridled ambition these two characters have.

I loved you Physically earlier this year too. And so you used any of the dance and aerobic skills you learned along the way to help Chippendale?

Murray Barlett: I’m not a professional dancer so they were both challenging. And so I think I need to do a full aerobics class Physically really tested me. And so my fear of dancing for what I had to do in Chippendales was lessened. But both roles were such a joy to play. And it’s great to have such challenges as an actor, that you have to learn how to do something and try to make it seem like you know what you’re doing. i love the stuff I get a bit obsessive and practice over and over again, but that’s one of the reasons I love what I do.

Via Welcome to Chippendales

Kumail Nanjiana smiles in Welcome To Chippendales

The origin story of Somen “Steve” Banerjee, an Indian-American entrepreneur who founded the stripper troupe Chippendales.

Check out our others Welcome to Chippendales Interviews here:

  • Kumail Nanjiani & Annaleigh Ashford

Next: Dahmer – Monster: The story of Jeffrey Dahmer sparked an important debate about true crimes

The first two episodes of Welcome to Chippendales are now streaming on Hulu, with new episodes premiering on Tuesdays. Murray Bartlett Interview: Welcome to Chippendales

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