Emmy TV Drama Actresses Roundtable

It’s that time of year when Emmy nominations are being discussed and to kick it all off The Hollywood Reporter have begun their Emmy roundtable discussions. The first one is with the drama actresses who also feature on the cover of this week’s Hollywood Reporter magazine and these six women discuss everything from their most nervous moment in their career to the challenges they face on their current shows. Emmy nominations will not be announced until July 19 but it is likely that some of the women who are part of this conversation will have their names read out then.

The actresses who feature in this roundtable are Claire Danes (Homeland), Emmy Rossum (Shameless), January Jones (Mad Men), Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) and Mireille Enos (The Killing). Julianna Margulies is the only actress from a network show which further reveals cable’s dominance with drama categories at the Emmys and it will be intriguing to see what the cable/network split will be like when it comes to the comedy categories (I’m predicting it will be stronger for networks). These women range from 26 to 46 in age and naturally have very different experiences in terms of the work that they have done and what is expected from them. Most of them are mothers and so the conversation does turn to family and the pressure of trying to juggle 14-hour days with being a good parent.

January Jones discusses being 8-months pregnant on the set of Mad Men and the ‘fat Betty’ suit that had the internet (and especially Twitter) in a commenting frenzy when we first saw her at the start of this season. Jones has nothing but praise for the direction of this storyline even if she had to have 7-hours of prosthetics and said “I loved it. I didn’t want to try and hide it. I thought it would become comical and weird. And I also didn’t want to have the character become pregnant because it just wouldn’t make sense.” Even though Jones loved this Betty story it doesn’t mean that she didn’t have a strong reaction to seeing herself in the suit for the first time when the episode aired and Jones says she “paused it and went screaming into the other room.”

The talk turns to body image after this and particularly roles that involve nudity and whether they would strip down for a role. The general consensus is that if it is right for the role then they will do this with Claire Danes saying “I don’t love the idea of stripping down, but I also don’t love the idea of being kind of coy or prudish for the sake of it.” A good crew is important as they will present during both physically naked moments and emotional ones.

Different shows have very different kinds of people in charge; John Wells won’t allow the Shameless actors to have their scripts or even sides on set (this horrifies Julianna Margulies), The Good Wife’s Robert and Michelle King are “incredibly receptive” when Margulies has scheduling issues and Matthew Weiner is very precise and the actors don’t ask him for anything on Mad Men. Julianne Margulies does say that she thinks “television writers have the hardest job in the business” as they have to churn out the scripts so quickly in episodic TV.

You can watch the whole roundtable discussion below and find out which actress was nervous about kissing Brad Pitt, who had a terrible audition for Coyote Ugly and who uses an iPad app to learn her lines. You can also head over to The Hollywood Reporter for shorter clips, behind the scenes images and a collection of photos from the cover shoot. I look forward to who will feature on the other panels in the drama and comedy categories. To see some of the roundtable discussions from last year head here.

The 64th Emmy Awards will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel Sunday, September 23.


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