Betty Gilpin on faith, the technology, and empowerment in Mrs. Davis, interview

MRS. DAVIS -- “Mrs. Davis Premiere Event” -- Pictured: Betty Gilpin at the DGA on April 13, 2023 -- (Photo by: Randy Shropshire/Peacock)
MRS. DAVIS -- “Mrs. Davis Premiere Event” -- Pictured: Betty Gilpin at the DGA on April 13, 2023 -- (Photo by: Randy Shropshire/Peacock) /

The new Peacock series, Mrs. Davis, dives into topics that are both meaningful and potentially uncomfortable. Although the old saying about subjects to avoid at the dinner table might come to mind, the reality is that there are no longer taboo subjects. Through the distance of a screen, people can say, read, or do things that might not be as easy in real life. As the lead in Mrs. Davis, Betty Gilpin takes on the powerful role and guides viewers along a quest not just for a relic, but to find a path to a more meaningful life. During a recent roundtable conversation, Gilpin shared her perspective on her character, faith, the impact of technology, and embracing empowerment along the way.

Betty Gilpin has shined in many roles. From her role in Nurse Jackie to her Emmy-nominated role in GLOW, Gilpin has an innate ability to navigate humor while finding the poignancy in the moment. In the new Peacock show, Mrs. Davis, Gilpin plays Simone. While wearing the nun’s habit might be a huge wardrobe change from her role in GLOW, the powerful woman character illuminates a message, regardless of the pious wardrobe.

During a recent roundtable interview with Betty Gilpin, she shared her thoughts on her Mrs. Davis role, the impact that technology has in her life, the meaning of faith, and how this empowered woman drove her own path.

Betty Gilpin for Mrs. Davis on Peacock
MRS. DAVIS — “Mrs. Davis Premiere Event” — Pictured: Betty Gilpin at the DGA on April 13, 2023 — (Photo by: Randy Shropshire/Peacock) /

Since Mrs. Davis questions the influence that technology, specifically AI, has on people’s lives, Gilpin did not shy away from the subject. She mentioned, “I feel mixed about technology. I’m just like everyone else who is scrolling away, but then I’m snatching the phone away from my daughter.”

That dichotomy is something that is apparent in Mrs. Davis. Gilpin shared that the technology is her character’s connection to faith but there is also a downside. “What are we gambling with when we’re relying so much on having all the answers in our pocket? Do we stop asking those questions?” Although Gilpin admitted that she is not necessarily a woman of faith, she does question how a screen can be both a connection and a disconnection.

Since Gilpin plays a nun, she wanted to get the role right. Gilpin said, “I talked to a few nuns for research for this show, and they were three very different women, but all of them were very multifaceted. It is far different from the one-dimensionally pious or horror movie portrayal of nuns that we’re used to. I wanted to come out of this part with no judgment, even though I have a different belief system than Simone does. It was important to me that I approached her faith in a non-judgmental and open and loving way.”

Mrs Davis Betty Gilpin
MRS. DAVIS — “Mother of Mercy: The Call of the Horse” Episode 101 — Pictured: Betty Gilpin as Simone — (Photo by: Elizabeth Morris/Peacock) /

Throughout Simone’s journey, that multi-faceted aspect is clear as she navigates the ups and downs of her world. Whether this story is a quest, journey, or another descriptor, the reality is that each aspect draws the viewer into the experience. In many ways, the audience is compelled to grow, just like the characters on their own journey.

While Mrs. Davis is a fictional story, the concepts it addresses ask the audience to discuss the difficult subjects of free will and power. In some cases, it might be AI, a device, or it could be another outside influence pushing a person in a particular direction. Still, Gilpin understands the need for personal connection. Whether or not a screen enhances or distances that connection remains to be seen.

Even though the Mrs. Davis storyline is driven by a task, it is the relationship between the characters that makes the fantastical story relatable. As Gilpin discussed, there is a risk with putting faith in someone else. While people might want the safe option, that validation comes at a price. Every decision does have consequences.

Still, Mrs. Davis has moments of humor, outrageousness, and fun. Even from the promotional poster, it is a role reversal where the woman puts the man in the backseat. Gilpin mentioned that this show is all about being unique to itself. From moments that were loud and brazen to quiet and contemplative, it shows that life is meant to be lived and enjoyed to its fullest. Whether a screen inhibits or enhances that will always be debated.

Mrs Davis and Betty Gilpin
Mrs. Davis Peacock logo, photo provided by Peacock /

Betty Gilpin is ready to drive the Mrs. Davis storyline and conversation into the fast lane. It is a series that will have people watching and rewatching the scenes to get all the nuances. How people apply the message is up to them.

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Mrs. Davis is available to be streamed on Peacock. New episodes air on Thursdays.