Movies & TV Shows

Murray Bartlett Interview: Welcome To Chippendales

Murray Bartlett talks Welcome to Chippendales, playing a real-life figure, and how his time as an aerobics instructor on Physical came in handy.

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Many may not be aware of the story behind the eponymous stripper troupe in Welcome to Chippendales, but they can rest easy knowing that the cast of the Hulu show didn’t either before signing on. Kumail Nanjiani stars as Steve Banerjee, an Indiana immigrant living in California who goes on to found the Chippendales. What begins as a lucrative business ends with bloodshed and jail time in a shocking story that has remained obscure until now.


Murray Bartlett, best known for Emmy Award-winning performance as Armond in White Lotus season 1 as well as a standout stint on Physical season 2, stars as Nick de Noia, Steve’s business partner who helps mold Chippendales into what it becomes. Welcome to Chippendales also stars Annaleigh Ashford, Juliette Lewis, and Nicola Peltz.

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Screen Rant caught up with Bartlett ahead of the premiere of Welcome to Chippendales to talk the series’ shock true story and how Physical 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 super curious about what attracted you to the role of Nick de Noia and the story at the center of Welcome to Chippendales because I had no idea any of that had gone on.

Murray Bartlett: Me neither. Yeah. I think one of the great things about this show is I think a lot of people will be in our position of you generally know, the Chippendales – or a lot of people do – but very few people know the backstory. So I was fascinated by that because it’s such a shocking, true-crime story really on steroids, but set in this fun world of the Chippendales in the 70s and the 80s. It’s so beautifully balanced in that way. It’s got great highs and lows. 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 a lot of ways. I got a real temper, and [he’s] just an amazing character to have the chance to play.

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

Murray Bartlett: Everything really, just because I didn’t know any of it. And it’s a male burlesque show, like fun, cool. There’s great depth in the show, I think, in that Steve Banerjee, who Kumail Nanjiani plays, is an Indian immigrant. It’s an immigrant story – he’s chasing the American dream. The show looks at what happens when that kind of goes off the rails and a person gets really obsessed [with] money and fame, and sort of loses sight of what the original dream was, perhaps, or gets caught up in the darker side of capitalism. And my character coming in [along with] the sort of unbridled ambition that these two characters have.

I loved you in Physical earlier this year, too. And so did you take any of the dancing and aerobic skills you learned from that to help you with Chippendales?

Murray Barlett: I’m not a professional dancer, so they were both challenging. And so I think, having to do a full aerobics class in Physical really put me through my paces. And so my fear level of dancing was lessened for what I had to do in Chippendales. But both of those roles were such a joy to play. And it’s a great thing as an actor to have challenges like that, that you have to learn how to do something and try and make it look like you know what you’re doing. I love that stuff. I get a bit obsessive and I practice over and over and over again, but that’s part of the reason why I love what I do.

About Welcome To Chippendales

Kumail Nanjiana smiling in Welcome To Chippendales

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

Check out our other Welcome to Chippendales interviews here:

  • Kumail Nanjiani & Annaleigh Ashford

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

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