Paper Girls: How Jason Mantzoukas' Gift Led to Ali Wong Joining Cast

Prime Video's Paper Girls began with the comic series by Brian K. Vaughan Cliff Chiang, and that series would lead to the casting of two important characters. In the midst of the early days of the pandemic, the friendship between Ali Wong and Jason Mantzoukas would lead to a box of comics becoming a bigger part of their lives than previously thought.

Paper Girls: A Gift From Jason Mantzoukas Led To Ali Wong's Role
Pictured: Ali Wong as the adult version of Erin. Source: Prime Video

According to Wong, Mantzoukas had gifted her a whole box featuring the entire series of Paper Girls to help with the days of quarantine. A surprise gift from a good friend, Wong fell in love with the comic series and realized one of the main leads centered on a young Asian-American girl, Erin. Reading the whole series in a matter of days, Wong seemed to quickly fall in love with Paper Girls. It didn't come as that big of a surprise since the two friends previously shared an interest in Saga, another comic series by Vaughan.

Paper Girls: A Gift From Jason Mantzoukas Led To Ali Wong's Role
Behind-the-scenes photography of Jason Mantzoukas (Grand Father). Source: Anjali Pinto/Prime Video

Learning that the older version of Erin in the comics needed casting, Wong reached out to read for the role she knew pretty well, thanks to Mantzoukas' gift. At first, there was some concern, with Wong saying, "Before I read for it, Jason said to me, 'You know, they might have a hard time seeing you as Adult Erin because Adult Erin is a person whose dreams did not come true. Ali Wong, you are a person whose dreams all came true.'"

Paper Girls: A Gift From Jason Mantzoukas Led To Ali Wong's Role
Behind-the-scenes photography for Paper Girls. Source: Prime Video

Although nerves seemed to surround Wong's approach to the role, she ended up earning the role of Adult Erin. When she found out they were still casting for the role of Grand Father, Mantzoukas was the first person she thought of. Through some push and recommendation, Mantzoukas read for the role. A friendship between the two led to working on a show together that started from a comic series they both loved. Pretty nice. Paper Girls is available to stream on Prime Video now, and our review for the first season is available now.

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About Brittney Bender

In love with media, from TV to film, you'll find me writing recaps, TV/Film reviews, TV news, opinion pieces and more! Bisexual, queer, and proud! A bit of a creative mess with a love for dark humor, promoting important projects, and sharing interesting finds.
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