Tag Archives: SAG

SAG Emmy Series: Conversation with Orange is the New Black’s Laverne Cox

7 Aug

Orange is the New Black is nominated for 12 Emmys with 5 in acting categories including the incredible Laverne Cox (for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series). As part of the Screen Actors Guild Foundation Emmy nominee Conversations series Laverne Cox sat down with Mark Peikert, Executive Editor of Backstage – the series is in partnership with Backstage – to discuss the role/episode she is nominated for and her acting journey.

Laverne CoxThe focus is on training and the acting process which sounds like it could be rather stuffy to someone who isn’t in this industry, but this is far from the case and I think I could listen to Cox talking about her experience for hours. Anyone who visits TV Ate My Wardrobe regularly will know that I love these kinds of discussions (particularly with fascinating women) from Comic-Con panels to Emmy roundtables and one reason I am such a fan of these longer discussions is that you get so much more from the person being showcased than you do in a regular interview. Part of this is because there’s something more informal about these chats so the participants will share more, but as Cox also mentions she has to shorten everything to sound bites for live TV interviews, whereas in this setting she can provide further insight.

This includes not only talking about her background in acting, but also how Orange as the New Black as a cultural phenomenon is helping a wider audience understand more about the transgender community. Cox references the Time cover as the obvious point when she realized she was becoming a spokesperson for this community, but she also mentions the reality show she was on prior to OITNB as well as the Katie Couric interview as a major shift. One aspect of this role that she mentions is how it isn’t a PSA; instead this show has provided an affirming point of reference as Sophia is a “really human, nuanced, complicated chick who people can relate to and happens to be played by someone who is actually trans.”

Cox is currently writing a book (when can I pre-order?) and while her publisher would probably like her to hold back on certain stories she goes into detail of what her first day was like on the set of OITNB (Jodie Foster gave her a tour of the set), the scene that made her realize how incredible and unique OITNB is, which piece of costuming puts her in the right Sophia headspace, her academic background and how dance training helps when performing a scene (and why she chose acting over dance).

It’s a really fun discussion and kicking off this series with Laverne Cox has set the bar high for the other participants.

Papa Pope, Pornstache, Elsbeth Tascioni and more in SAG’s Conversation with Guest Stars

16 Jun

Roundtable discussions tend to focus on leading or supporting characters and so this guest star panel from SAG is a real treat especially as it features pretty much my favorite guest star – Carrie Preston plays the magical TV unicorn Elsbeth Tascioni on The Good Wife.

Guest stars can go from a three episode arc to becoming a central figure (see Michael Emerson on Lost) or they might do a short run and gain legend status. The phrase “potentially recurring” is often mentioned to guest stars and as Annaleigh Ashford can testify with Masters of Sex it can happen; Betty departed early in season 1 and she’s been upped to a regular for the new season.

Taking part in this SAG panel are Annaleigh Ashford (Masters of Sex), Sarah Baker (Louie), Aimee Carrero (The Americans), Joe Morton (Scandal), Carrie Preston (The Good Wife) and Pablo Schreiber (Orange is the New Black).

SAG guest starLevels of experience vary, as does the way they were cast on the shows they have most recently been on with some getting offered the part without an audition like Carrie Preston and others having to go through multiple callbacks, or getting a part that is different from the one they originally went for. Pablo Schreiber was originally offered Larry on OITNB and he didn’t see him playing this role. Schreiber had already worked with creator Jenji Kohan on Weeds and so that relationship was already there, but it was actually a friend on the writing staff that suggested Pornstache.

Schreiber also goes into how they developed the Pornstache look including the process of picking out the right moustache and how bushiness was an issue. Pornstache’s hair is influenced by Dolph Lundgren in Rocky IV and while the ‘stache is fake; the hair is all Schreiber’s.

Carrie Preston mentions the amazing reputation The Good Wife has when it comes to guest stars (both Joe Morton and Pablo Schreiber have also appeared on the show) and how after appearing in the first year she didn’t get called back for a season. Thankfully the writers found an organic way to bring Elsbeth back on multiple occasions; including this very special moment in season 4.

One of the most discussed episodes of this TV season has been Louie’s “So Did the Fat Lady” and while I haven’t seen the actual episode yet (I know, it’s still sitting on my DVR) I have read a lot of the discourse surrounding it, so hearing Sarah Baker talking about the auditioning and filming process, as well as her general experience is really fascinating. Yes, I need to watch this episode.

In terms of how much the actors know when taking on these parts and how long their guest arc will be varies and someone like Shonda Rhimes doesn’t tend to share too much, although Joe Morton did know that his character was Olivia’s father on Scandal. What he doesn’t know is how long Papa Pope will be around for and generally the guest star rule is “If you don’t die there’s always a way.” As we know from other shows, even if a character does die there is still a way.

Watch the whole discussion below for more on general guest star feelings and the shows they have been on.

 

 

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