Leslie Bibb Says Working on the Star-Studded ‘Palm Royale’ Was a ‘Masterclass in Acting’

TV Shows

Apple TV+ brought viewers to Palm Royale earlier this year, making way for a strong ensemble of empowering female characters, among which included Leslie Bibb‘s Dinah Donahue.

Becoming Maxine’s (Kristen Wiig) first reluctant friend of the season, Dinah is initially harsh to the newcomer until she helps her access an abortion, a next-to-impossible task in the 1969-set comedy. Realizing she might be able to trust Maxine to an extent, Dinah may be blackmailed into sponsoring Maxine at her ultra-exclusive club, but over time their dynamic transforms into something resembling a friendship.

When it came to taking on the role, Bibb says, “There’s this vulnerability underneath her that I was always trying to find. I think that that’s who we all are as people. Nobody’s just an a**hole. There’s a reason we all have some trauma that led us to this point in our lives.” Whatever that trauma might be, it’s clear that Dinah’s a realist.

Leslie Bibb with Kristen Wiig in 'Palm Royale'

Apple TV+

“She doesn’t have children, and she’s made the choice not to have children. And I think she’s very realistic about things,” Bibb points out. “She says it in a very [nonchalant way], but I think underneath she’s breaking in two. It’s tearing her apart, but she can’t show anybody.” That vulnerability shows itself to Maxine a bit, proving to the audience that Dinah isn’t the harsh front she puts on.

And Bibb credits her character’s behavior with being a woman under Dinah’s circumstances at that period in time. “At that time, women couldn’t open a bank account. It seems archaic, but it really wasn’t that long ago. I am just fascinated with the social dynamics those women have with one another and then how they’re all playing chess in a way.”

Among the women she’s sharing the screen with Wiig are the likes of Carol Burnett, Laura Dern, and Allison Janney, just to name a few. “It was a thrill. It’s like a masterclass in acting,” Bibb gushes.

While she has great moments with many of the ensemble, her relationship with Maxine is probably the most revealing in a sense. Bibb notes that Dinah feels like, “[she] can’t tell if [she] should be taking notes about [Maxine] or should be killing [her] because she’s ruining Dinah’s f**king life,” by being present in the club. “So I think that’s the push and pull with them is that Dinah is starved for somebody who can see her and Maxine sees her, but also Maxine doesn’t have unclean hands. She starts to play the game as well.”

When the finale rolled around and Maxine calls out her husband for cheating onstage at the season’s big Beach Ball, she also airs some of the other women’s dirty laundry, but not Dinah’s. This didn’t go unnoticed by Bibb who acknowledges that Maxine could have outed her character for her extramarital affair and related abortion. “What she’s doing is insane and inspiring and it’s terrifying,” Bibb says of Maxine’s big closing monologue. “She’s lighting her entire life on fire. And that’s something I think Dinah has enough respect for.”

As for what Bibb hopes to see next, when the show returns for Season 2, Bibb says, “I know that writer’s room has been open. We go into 1970, so that’s going to be very interesting because everything is changing really fast. All I hope is that it has the same depth and sort of complexity [as Season 1]. There are a lot of things happening with Dinah.  I don’t think she’s ever really present,” Bibb notes. In her affair, Bibb believes that was the only time Dinah got a break. “Because the rest of the time, it’s like I’m swimming with sharks.”

Catch Bibb in Palm Royale on Apple TV+ and stay tuned for Season 2.

Palm Royale, Streaming now, Apple TV+

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