'Peter Pan Live!': Allison Williams Shares Reactions From Lena Dunham, Patti Smith, and More

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·New York Bureau Chief, Yahoo Entertainment
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Allison Williams as Peter Pan in 'Peter Pan Live!' (Virginia Sherwood/NBC)
Allison Williams as Peter Pan in 'Peter Pan Live!' (Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

That sound you hear? It's crowing. And there's about to be a whole lot more of it when Peter Pan Live! airs on NBC on Thursday.

We all know its star, Allison Williams, has been crowing about the part for most of her life. After all, who can forget the time her father, newsman Brian Williams, showed a photo of her at nearly three years old dressed as the titular character? But her breakthrough role as Marnie Michaels on HBO's Girls is a pretty far cry from a boy who refuses to grow up.

"This is exactly 180 degrees from what I've been doing. ... From a very modern girl who has a lot of sex to a sort of asexual, pre-pubescent British boy from the turn of the 20th century," Williams acknowledged during a press event for the special. "When you're an actor, this is exactly what you hope for. You hope that someone has the creative mind to look at you the way you are and think, 'I feel like you could be Peter Pan,' which is such a stretch!"

Related: 'Peter Pan Live!': Watch Allison Williams Learn to Fly

That skeptical sentiment about the casting was held by many, but Williams has been working hard to sprinkle fairy dust on the situation and change their minds. Here are eight of the best reactions she heard — from people famous or otherwise:

Lena Dunham: Williams's Girls boss and co-star gave her exactly the response she should have expected. "I called her the night before it was announced and she said, 'Oh my gosh, this is the coolest thing. It's the best possible thing you could've just told me just now. It's so subversive you're going to be in drag,'" Williams recalled. "It was just such a classic Lena reaction."

Allison Williams as Peter Pan and Christopher Walken as Captain Hook (Nino Munoz/NBC)
Allison Williams as Peter Pan and Christopher Walken as Captain Hook (Nino Munoz/NBC)

Christopher Walken: The Academy Award-winner, who is playing Captain Hook in the production, gave reporters his thoughts directly. "With these people and that material, Peter Pan is a wonderful musical," he said candidly. "Allison can really sing. I don't know if anybody knows that, but she really can. It's no kidding around."

Patti Smith: Recalled Williams, "I recently met Patti Smith, who's like the coolest person alive, and she's like, 'Peter Pan, huh?' I was like, 'Yeah.' And she was like, 'Good luck. I love Peter Pan.' I was like 'OK, Patti Smith.' And eventually she got really excited for me to play him and she believed that I could pull it off."

Related: Next Stop, Neverland: See Exclusive Sketches of 'Peter Pan Live!' Sets

Andrew Rannells: "He was just sort of really ramping up his Hedwig rehearsals as I was starting to do my Peter Pan training," Williams said of her Girls co-star (who's also a former Tony nominee). "I was like, 'We're switching genders! If you need any girl tips let me know.' And he was like, 'Cool, let me know if you need any guy tips.'"

Allison Williams with former Peter Pans Cathy Rigby and Sandy Duncan (Instagram)
Allison Williams with former Peter Pans Cathy Rigby and Sandy Duncan (Instagram)

Sandy Duncan and Cathy Rigby McCoy: "We were like talk talk talk talk talk," Allison said of meeting the famed former Peter Pans (above). "It's such a weird little connection to have with these people and we'll be bound together in this forever. ... They gave me so much advice, it's too much to even share. ... The one thing they did say to me that was a little bit of something I knew already but it was kind of a bummer to hear confirmed is that this was the highlight of their careers. I was like, 'Cool. OK. 26? That feels like a good time to be on top. Let's call it a day.' But I don't see how it could get happier than this, so I kind of already knew that."

Friends and Family: Tears all around! "A lot of my friends cried, which was really sweet and also troubling because it means I never shut up about wanting to be Peter Pan and, if they've known me long enough, they've known how much I wanted to do it. All my family members cried. They have personalities and souls, so that was natural."

Related: See More Photos From Peter Pan Live!

People on the Street: "People are just protective [of Peter Pan]," Williams said, emphasizing the sense of nostalgia the story holds for many. "When people say, 'I hear you're playing Peter Pan,' the first words out of my mouth often are, 'I will take good care of him.' Because I just want them to know that I know what a gift this is. … I'm very aware of the responsibility and the privilege, and I do not take it lightly."

Herself: "My instant reaction was of course I'd do this. This is a dream. No fear yet. There isn't really any, even now."

Peter Pan Live! airs Thursday at 8 p.m. on NBC.