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The original ‘Catfish’? Josh Groban on playing Billy Joel in Audible’s ‘The Miranda Obsession’

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Josh Groban — or rather his voice — stars in a new Audible Original series called The Miranda Obsession, based on the true story of a Louisiana woman who, using the alias “Miranda,” made many male celebrities of the ’70s and ’80s fall in love with her, simply by talking to them on the phone. Josh plays Billy Joel, one of the stars Miranda charmed with her calls — and he tells ABC Audio that Billy’s since offered to chat with him about the experience.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’s Rachel Brosnahan plays Miranda, and she invited Josh to play Billy.  He prepared by listening to old interviews with the Piano Man, but he was concerned about mimicking Billy’s New York accent.

Josh tells ABC Audio, “I said, ‘Rachel, I’m not sure I’ll get it exactly.’ She said, ‘This is going to be kind of a dramatized account. So it doesn’t need to be exact.”

“It was really a blast to do,” Josh says. “And then I then got an email from Billy Joel saying, ‘Hey, if you ever want to talk about the story, let me know.’ So we’re at some point going to get together and chat about it, I hope!”

Josh notes that unlike most men Miranda spoke with — everyone from Richard Gere, Warren Beatty and Eric Clapton to Bob Dylan, Robert De Niro and Johnny Carson — Billy didn’t fall in love with her, because he was already dating both Elle MacPherson and Christie Brinkley.

“The man was certainly not wanting for attention,” Josh laughs. “[But] that’s just how interesting this Miranda was. It was just somebody that really intrigued him. I think he saw a bit of himself in her. They both had kind of a fire and a drive and could talk because it wasn’t romantic…He felt…like there was a freedom there to…just have a great chat with somebody.”

So was this the original catfishing? Well, surprisingly, Miranda wasn’t after money — or anything else.

“Ultimately she didn’t really break any laws, she didn’t steal any money. She didn’t really do anything except say she was somebody she wasn’t,” Josh explains. He admits that every day, fans tell him someone claiming to be him is messaging them and asking for money.

“It is the Wild West out there,” he adds. “And this was really before the Wild West broke loose. And so to be able to do it well, you had to be really good at it.”

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