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Uma Thurman's Smash Landing: Will Star Quality Save Bombshell or Detonate It?

As Smash executive producer David Marshall Grant told us earlier in the season, back when it appeared that Ivy had locked in the lead in Tom and Julia’s musical, “Theater is so mercurial and unpredictable… that [the role of Marilyn] becomes a bit of a revolving door that maybe even more than two people enter.”

And how. This Monday at 10/9c on the NBC drama, Uma Thurman (Kill Bill) enters as Rebecca Duvall, a movie star who’s luster could be just the thing to help Bombshell née Marilyn: The Musical shake off its workshop blues and become an irresistible siren on the Great White Way.

Or… she could blow the whole thing to pieces. For one thing, from the get-go travel plans make her tardy in joining the production, forcing Derek, Eileen et al into panic mode.

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“The reception [Rebecca] gets is very mixed,” Megan Hilty, who plays Ivy, previews for TVLine. “Some people think she will save the show, some think she’ll do damage to it… and some don’t see any need for a star.”

Ivy, we presume, falls into the latter camp?

“Movie stars are always a threat to everybody,” says Hilty, who has spent her share of time on the planks. “The more famous you are, especially on Broadway, the more you trump everybody else.”

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Not endearing Rebecca to Ivy at all is the fact that with her arrival, Karen becomes the understudy for Bombshell‘s titular role. In fact, as revealed in this week’s episode of TVLine’s Spoiler Alert! (watch below, at the 2:35 mark), despite Ivy and Karen’s decision to form an alliance against the high-wattage interloper, Rebecca will take a shine to and bond with Karen during a night out, during which one of ’em sings a cover of a Snow Patrol tune.
But widening the rift between rivals Karen and Ivy may be the least of Rebecca’s impact upon the struggling production. With Thurman’s five-episode arc set to lead right into the Season 1 finale, EP Neil Maron says the way Smash‘s freshman run ends “is going to be a cliffhanger.” He adds that as the musical heads for its first out-of-town tryout, in Boston, the matter of “who is going to be playing Marilyn is still a big question.” (With reporting by Alyse Whitney)