Tag Archives: The Hollywood Reported

The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Drama Roundtable

2 Jun

Roundtable season is here and I was waiting for the full video to be available on YouTube before I discussed the drama actress Hollywood Reporter session. The full transcript can be read here, but some of the points don’t come across in the same amusing tone and you’ll also miss out on Sarah Paulson’s John Travolta impression.

One aspect I find fascinating is seeing who out of the group is the most vocal and who only really speaks when specifically addressed. This isn’t to say that some of these women are trying to steal the spotlight from others, it’s just some of them are much more experienced when taking part in these types of discussions or they are naturally more talkative. Having a balance between those who take charge and the more shy participants is a good roundtable attribute as it means there is always going to be someone sharing, but it doesn’t descend into talking over each other chaos.

THR drama actress

The lack of diversity on the cover is troubling and as this excellent piece points out, Jessica Paré (who I adore, definitely not a Megan hater here) is far from being a lead actress on Mad Men. Of course these roundtables are subject to who is available and this automatically rules out Kerry Washington (new baby). Washington shouldn’t be the only flag bearer of diversity and other figures such as Nicole Beharie, Lucy Liu, Danai Gurira and Archie Panjabi are a few that spring to mind. This isn’t just a Hollywood Reporter issue as the forthcoming Variety drama actress panel has a similar problem.

THRLet’s get the other negative talking point out of the way and there is an insistence when it comes to the styling of drama actress covers to go for a pastel color palette (Vanity Fair is another offender), neutrals or monochrome; bold color is seemingly reserved for comedic actresses and this coding is rather tired Also why are they all looking so timid? They all portray women who would not stand for this nervous approach so it’s disappointing to see The Hollywood Reporter go for a shot like this.

Oh and Keri Russell somehow makes the Burberry Prorsum lace and granny panties look work; this is an incredible skill as I recoiled when I first saw this on the runway last September.

*End of rant*

The actual conversation manages to skirt around the “having it all” trap – a man will never get asked about juggling family and work – with children only coming up while they discuss paparazzi intrusion and scenes that have been difficult to shoot. Julianna Margulies’ tip to get rid of paps is to wear the same outfit to the gym as it looks like the photos are from the same day and Claire Danes talks about how aggressive they are when she is with her son, which is super shitty. The difficult scene Danes shot on Homeland occurred when she was seven and a half months pregnant and she was portraying a kidnapped Carrie Mathison. Also shooting love scenes while pregnant are as awkward as you can imagine, especially when the baby is kicking super hard. Baby Danes is not a Carrie/Brody shipper.

One fascinating part of the conversation deals with career lows and while this could end up being rather trite, there is a good cross section of success/failure stories. Both Keri Russell and Claire Danes experienced success in their first shows at a young age (and both won Golden Globes for these performances) and have followed a similar career trajectory. Although Russell doesn’t seem to have experienced the same low points as Danes and seems rather content with how it’s all turned out so far. Danes talks about her acting transition period and how doing Temple Grandin changed her acting outlook “I really didn’t have any tolerance for a limited kind of secondary role. I had to wait for Carrie on Homeland. She was the first character who could match Temple’s dynamism. It was the first time I was scared into action, and that felt great.”

Julianna Margulies has also been on not one, but two hit shows and also had a large period of time between both. Whereas Sarah Paulson was on a show that was expected to do well (Studio 60) and it was canceled after one season “It was not only my expectations I was dealing with; I was dealing with everybody else’s expectations about something that was disappointing for them, too.” Jessica Paré is currently experiencing what it feels like to be on a cultural phenomenon that is coming to an end and it sounds like she’s pretty terrified at the prospect as “I’m going back to that place of not having work and not knowing what’s next.”

Awards success doesn’t always translate into an influx of fascinating offers as Vera Farmiga can attest and after her Oscar nomination for Up in the Air she didn’t get a whole lot of work. With Bates Motel she initially resisted, but after reading the script she realized there was something to the part and reimagining of this story. Later on Farmiga refers to the “sophistication in the writing of female characters on TV” and this group reinforces the notion that there are far stronger and varied roles for women on TV as opposed to film. This also translates to the creative forces behind the camera with Julianna Margulies listing all the women who work on The Good Wife “My unit production manager is a woman, two of my executive producers are women and three of the writers.” Female directors have worked on all of these shows with the exception of American Horror Story.

As I’m currently watching Felicity for the first time and I’ve written about the love triangle in a pre-social media era, a question about this show and how its defining moment in pop culture would have been received on social media is going to peak my interest. Of course it is haircut related and Keri Russell is pretty shoulder shrug about the whole thing as a shocking TV moment “You think a haircut’s going to beat out blow jobs? That’s so tame compared to what’s going on now.”

For more including a bakery venture I want to happen and unfiltered thoughts on John Travolta’s Oscar mispronunciation watch the whole discussion below.

 

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