Quinta Brunson stars in a TurboTax Super Bowl ad directed by Taika Waititi.
The "Abbott Elementary" creator is also busy with the show's third season, which premiered Wednesday.
Brunson told Business Insider she saw the season's reduced episode count as a creative opportunity.
After two industry-defining strikes, a win at the 2024 Emmys, and an iconic appearance at the Renaissance tour, Quinta Brunson is back with the latest season of her acclaimed comedy series "Abbott Elementary."
But this Sunday, she’s not only an "Abbott" star — she’s also the face of TurboTax in a Super Bowl ad directed by Taika Waititi. In a teaser for the ad, Brunson struts down a set in a red dress, heralding the beginning of tax season (those 1099-MISC forms should have been sent out a week ago, folks!).
Brunson and Waititi both previously starred in Mel Brooks' "History of the World, Part II," but the Super Bowl ad was their first time working directly together, Brunson told Business Insider.
"He was creative and fun, and I think was focused on having a good time and getting the work done, which I really appreciated because we’re both busy people,” she told BI. "I love that we were on the page of, 'Let’s get this fun thing done and go home and get sleep.'"
To say that Brunson is busy right now is a bit of an understatement. After winning the Emmy Award for best actress in a comedy series in January, she’s now in the thick of “Abbott Elementary” season three. After its actors and writers struck with colleagues from across the industry in 2023, the single-camera comedy series about teachers at a Philadelphia public elementary school premiered its third season on ABC on Wednesday.
Many broadcast series saw reduced episode counts in the post-strike television season, and "Abbott Elementary" season three clocks in at 14 episodes — eight less than season two. For Brunson, the reduced episode count was a creative boon.
"Honestly, I liked having this 14-episode count because it made me think that we needed to be more creative with the time we had," Brunson told BI. "We got very comfortable with the 22 and having a lot of room for storytelling. And here, we had to go back to business, back to basics, kind of push the stories we wanted to tell into a smaller episode count."
Brunson said that one of the highlights of the new season is its "fantastic" roster of guest stars, though she wasn’t able to disclose any at the time. But the show’s premiere is already off to a great start — there's a cameo appearance from Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (plus Jason Kelce and Brandon Graham), and a trio of new characters played by Josh Segarra (“The Other Two”), Kimia Behpoornia (“Hacks”), and Benjamin Norris (“Never Have I Ever”) are introduced.
And past the accolades — of which Brunson and her "Abbott" castmates have received many — the multi-hyphenate told BI that knowing the show has an audience is the greatest reward.
"That’s what I would say the dream is when you’re making something," she told BI. "For it to find an audience that’s strong enough for you to keep making more of your show, and they actually want to see it. I’ll never forget how amazing that is for us as a cast and crew and writers."
"Abbott Elementary" season three airs Wednesdays at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
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