It’s one of the great truths of Hollywood that many of its biggest stars were working for years before the media anointed them as “breakout stars.” (Naomi Watts and Amy Adams are two multiple-Oscar nominees that come to mind.)
Allison Miller is part of that club. The 33-year-old American actress dropped out of the University of Florida at Gainesville 12 years ago to move to Hollywood, where she already was working steadily and earning college credit for her stints on shows like “Cold Case” and “General Hospital.”
Television audiences have probably seen her face a lot in the last few weeks, as ABC is promoting its new friendship dramedy “A Million Little Things,” which premieres tonight. Miller plays Maggie Bloom, the partner of one of four male friends who come together after one of them unexpectedly passes away. While industry folk describe it as “Parenthood” meets “This Is Us,” it’s more akin to the classic film “The Big Chill,” at least in its action-packed first episode.
“I love that reference, especially because it means I get to be the Meg Tilly character,” said Miller, who was tucked into a corner of Stark Bar at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, sipping a glass of pinot gris in a full-length gold lamé Peter Pilotto gown, just before her show’s premiere at the Bing Theater there. She didn’t seem to mind the climbing toddler at the table next to her, or the crowd of Saturday afternoon tourists milling around.
“I love being able to come home for a few days, because the show films in Vancouver,” she said. Of her role as a therapist who is grappling with her own health issues, she said, “It’s great to be able to play a character that mirrors ‘real life,’ as opposed to a comedic character or something overly dramatic. I’ve been a part of so many pilots that didn’t get picked up, and I’ve even sold my own show that never got made, so I was literally skipping through the Americana [shopping center] when I got the call about our show getting a full order.”
Not that she hasn’t kept busy in the meantime. Netflix fans may know her as Sonya, the litigator on season two of “13 Reasons Why,” but she may soon have many more reasons to be recognized in public places like LACMA. “You don’t know how many bad puns we make about ‘A Million Little Things,'” she laughed. “If I had a dollar for every time someone made a joke…I’d be rich already.”