It’s not every day that you vomit in front of Nicole Kidman, but that’s exactly what Andrew Rannells had to do his first time acting with the megastar. On the actor's first day of filming The Prom, Ryan Murphy’s adaptation of the Tony-nominated Broadway musical coming to Netflix December 11, his character experiences motion sickness. “I didn’t have any lines,” he says with a laugh. “All I had to do was repeatedly vomit into a bucket next to Nicole Kidman. I was like, ‘Well, this is not anything I will ever forget.’ She looks gorgeous, and I’m pretending to puke in a bucket.”
The Prom isn’t Rannells’s only big Broadway-to-Netflix film out this year. He currently can be seen in The Boys in the Band alongside guys he knows quite well (no need to fear a daunting first impression): Jim Parsons, Zachary Quinto, and Matt Bomer, with whom he appeared onstage in the 2018 Broadway revival of the original 1968 play. The film, now on Netflix, centers on a group of gay men in the 1960s. “Considering everything has been shut down for so many months, there’s weirdly a lot of stuff going on,” Rannells says of his busy year.
And things don’t seem to be slowing down for Rannells any time soon. During our interview he calls from Schenectady, New York, where he’s making his directorial debut in season two of Amazon’s anthology series Modern Love. The episode is based on an essay Rannells wrote for the Modern Love column of the New York Times three years ago. (Rannells is among the prized few who has been published twice in the section.) “It’s my first time directing,” he says. “I’m very excited, but I was terrified of jumping into it.”
Luckily, Rannells had a slew of fly-on-the-wall experience he could draw from during his years playing Elijah on HBO’s Girls. “After six years watching Lena [Dunham] and [director] Jesse Peretz, it was very helpful to go back and talk to them,” he says. “It feels really great to be back at work.”
Read on to learn how else Rannells is keeping busy these days.
The last thing I bought
Since I’m up in Schenectady, my first stop was to go to Target. I love a Target, and they’re not really available in Manhattan. There’s one in downtown Brooklyn, but it just doesn’t feel the same when you don’t have a car. I bought a pair of socks, cooking spray, beer, and shaving cream. I tried to make a joke to the woman who was checking me out because I was just like, “Well, this is just the most random assortment of nonsense!” I can’t help myself when I go in there. I just start grabbing things. I’m like, “Well, I need that, and I’ll grab that. And why not this weird shirt? I’ll just buy this oxford while I’m here too.” It sort of felt like a mini little vacation for a moment, just to be shopping for nonsense.
My go-to TV shows
Weirdly, I have been watching a lot of true-crime and murder documentaries lately. Showtime has Love Fraud, about a guy who scammed women out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, which is a crazy story. They also had a really great docuseries called Outcry, which was just heartbreaking. I don’t know why I’ve been drawn to true crime or what that says about me.
I also watch a fair amount of HGTV—Good Bones, Hometown, all those shows where they go to a small town and fix up the entire neighborhood. I like a makeover show. I just stumbled across one this morning that I had never seen with Nate Berkus and his husband. I didn’t know they had their own show!
My favorite Broadway show tunes
If I’m on a car ride, particularly if I’m alone, I’ll listen to all of Into the Woods. That’s one that I’ve loved since childhood. It’s really smart and the music is so beautiful, but it’s also just sort of cozy. In times of stress, I feel like that’s a good one to fall back on.
My favorite jeans
I love A.P.C. jeans. Once you break them in, they’re great.
My athleisure of choice
I’m pretty basic when it comes to workout clothes. It’s a pretty straightforward Nike situation. I tend to work out in the free T-shirts they give you when you do Jimmy Fallon or Seth Meyers. I cut off the sleeves and wear them to the gym. I had an ex-boyfriend who once told me I dressed like Tanya Harding at the gym. He was like, “You need to put in a little more effort.”
How I unwind
I end up spending a fair amount on candles for my home. I really like Malin+Goetz candles. We didn’t really have candles in the home when I was a kid, so now as an adult, I like to have a nice candle around.
My proudest chef moment
For years I was really afraid to cook fish. I don’t know why; it just freaked me out. I’m from Nebraska, a landlocked state, so we didn’t grow up eating a lot of fish. But during this quarantine I have figured out a way to successfully make salmon that I feel pretty proud of. The trick is to preheat your broiler for 10 or 15 minutes so that it’s really hot, and that helps it to cook perfectly. I didn’t know about that broiler trick.
The app I can’t get enough of
I’ve been really abusing the New York Times app. I’ve probably scrolled through that more times than I should in a day. I’m just like, Refresh, refresh, refresh, just to see if anything is happening. We all have probably struggled with how we’re getting our news, and I’ve been really thinking about that these past several months. I very much trust the New York Times. But you know what? I hate that horrible screen time graph on the iPhone. It makes you feel like a lazy, lazy person sometimes. It will be like, “Your screen time was up,” but I didn’t ask! There must be a way to shut it off because I don’t want to see it, but I don’t know how.
My hair trick for more volume
I use the Kevin Murphy Powder Puff. It’s a volumizer that’s good for men or women with shorter hair, but it doesn’t work for long hair. It’s this powder that you sprinkle into your hair, and then you mess your hair around a bit. It gives you a good solid hold. It also pumps the hell out of it.
My favorite item of clothing
My new Filson jacket. I bought it with my friend Zuzanna at a store in Brooklyn Heights. She convinced me to buy the jacket, and it’s my new favorite item of clothing. It’s an olive-brown color. It’s actually kind of cold up here, which is amazing because now I can wear it.
The sneakers I swear by
I’ve been a pretty loyal New Balance consumer for many years. I know that everybody’s a bit different, but I find that they’re a good running shoe.
The fragrance I’ve been wearing for years
I wear Le Labo Noir 29. Several years ago I sat next to a guy on a plane and he was wearing Le Labo Santal 33. I finally asked him, “What is that cologne?” And he was like, “It’s from this store, Le Labo. Just go in, spend some time, and find yourself a cologne.” So that’s what I do now. I still have that Santal 33, but I feel like a lot of people have that. Le Labo rotates their scents often, so new ones pop up. I love the whole experience of going into the store. They make the fragrance for you with the label, and it really feels like you’re doing something special for yourself.
$83.00, Le Labo
How I sweat
I’m a runner, but I’ve realized that I’ve gotten out of the habit since spending so much time in L.A. because you’re just dodging traffic or waiting for the lights. There’s a lot of hiking in L.A., but that’s not the same as running. I’m a little out of practice, I’ve got to say.
There’s a spot in L.A. called Training Mate that I used to go to with Jenna Ushkowitz, who was on Glee. They have a few locations and all of the trainers are these very attractive Australians who just yell compliments at you, tell you how hot you are, and how great you’re doing. It’s pretty hilarious. I just love it.
My favorite rom-com
Mystic Pizza. I just watched it recently, and it really holds up. It’s not the traditional answer because it’s really about the relationships between the three girls, rather than who they’re dating at any given moment. I’m a big fan.
My comfort movie snack
Once we can return to movie theaters, it doesn’t matter if I just ate dinner—I have to get popcorn. I’ll be very honest with you: I will also get a bag of Peanut M&M’s and put them in the popcorn. The first time your boyfriend sees you do that, it’s a real make-or-break moment.
The hobby I’ve picked up in quarantine
I’m trying to be handier around my home and have become slightly more ambitious about fixing things myself. But I know my limits. I was going to try to remove a garbage disposal in my sink in New York. It’s probably from the ’70s, and is probably illegal. I was going to try to take it out by myself, and then I was like, “Are you out of your mind? That’s going to be a terrible idea.” So while I do try, I also know my limits.
Caitlin Brody is the entertainment director at Condé Nast.
Originally Appeared on Glamour