Tag Archives: Monica Potter

Hollywood Reporter’s 2013 Drama Actress Roundtable

30 May

It’s the time of year when The Hollywood Reporter produces Emmy related TV roundtable discussions and while the quality of the conversations varies, the drama actress one is always lively and is generally my favourite of the bunch. Once again they have a group of women from shows that cover both network and cable, with the added new platform of Netflix to discuss their roles on TV, the industry and their past experiences. This year the participants are Monica Potter (Parenthood), Kerry Washington (Scandal), Kate Mara (House of Cards), Connie Britton (Nashville), Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad) and Elisabeth Moss (Mad MenTop of the Lake).

Hollywood reporter cover

The nature of this kind of roundtable discussion means that some candid remarks are made, but the participants are also guarded as they tell stories of bad experiences but don’t fill in all of the details. Monica Potter discusses her first post-baby audition where she was considered “too fat” for the role and body image is a topic that comes up more than once (I’m intrigued as to whether the guys will cover this area, doubtful but you never know as Hollywood has body issues with both genders). Elisabeth Moss rightly mentions that “It’s not just actresses, it’s all women. We all have this perception of what we’re supposed to look like.”

Expectations of how an actress should look comes up later but in a different way as they mention the backhanded compliments that people give such as they look “younger/skinnier” in real life. So don’t ever say this, it’s bad. This is part of the notion of intimacy between the viewer and the characters that come into our living rooms on a weekly basis and how the relationship is different between movies and TV; there is an investment in TV that doesn’t exist in the same way as in movies that generally have a beginning, a middle and end (depending on how long running the franchise is).

One aspect that I enjoy about these discussions is how they try to dispel the idea that everyone hates each other and it’s a relentless competition; while I’m sure there are those factions they make a point of mentioning how supportive actresses can be. Monica Potter mentions that having successful women on TV “should be fun and celebrated” and Connie Britton reiterates this by saying that “It’s a lot more fun if you can share stories and make friends, and be in it together with people as opposed to if you isolate yourself.”

Several topics are covered including other audition woes (Kerry Washington talks about the lack of roles for women of color), social media, political involvement and if they contribute to the creative process of their character. One thing I would like to see with these roundtables is a change in some of the questions as I feel like the best advice/worst advice comes up every single time. The penultimate question is a fun one as they are asked if they could be on any show in history what would it be? I love that both Kate Mara and Elisabeth Moss geek out over My So-Called Life (and earlier Moss is very open about her love of Parenthood).

With any group discussion there are always some participants that are more vocal than the rest but at no point does it feel like one person is railroading the conversation. Elisabeth Moss comes across as very funny, something we don’t get to see that often on Mad Men and Connie Britton seems as wise as Tami Taylor. This is definitely a group of women I would like to go for drinks with.

Watch the whole interview below and head over to The Hollywood Reporter for behind the scenes photos of the group. The monochromatic styling of the cover is on trend and I much prefer this more casual approach they over last year’s gown affair. In unsurprising news I really want to find out the shades/brands of lipstick they are wearing (especially Elisabeth Moss’).

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