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Tag Archives: The Honourable Woman

Drama Actress Emmy Roundtable – “I Want to Play Everything I’ve Never Played Before” (Update! Watch the Full Video)

11 Jun

This is the one I have been waiting for and every year the drama actress roundtable is the highlight of The Hollywood Reporter’s Emmy series. It might be a premature declaration as there are still more discussions to come as part of this season, but I am pretty confident in this assertion after reading the transcript and watching the clips which have been made available prior to SundanceTV airing it in full come August (Update – you can now watch the full discussion at the end of this post). I do want to point to the comedy actress chat as another enlightening and fascinating entry into the roundtable Hall of Fame. And now there is another group to add to my boozy lunch wish list.

The line-up is entirely different to last year (sometimes there are repeats) with Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Honourable Woman), Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder), Taraji P. Henson (Empire), Jessica Lange (American Horror Story), Ruth Wilson (The Affair) and Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex). Gone are the questions of ‘how do you balance work and family?’ and instead there is a strong focus on their work from the shows they are currently on to past experiences. There are four Oscar nominees among these women (some multiple) and a two time winner showing the caliber of talent television attracts particularly when it comes to complex roles for women. A mixture of cable and network with ages ranging from 32 to 66 shows how well television caters to a range of experiences.

THRAs the cover so boldly states there is a focus on race, sex, age and nudity with the latter coming up on multiple occasions. Lizzy Caplan and Ruth Wilson joke about the name of their network – “Showtits” – and sex plays a big part in both Masters of Sex (it is in the title after all) and The Affair. Sex isn’t just there for sensationalism or to be gratuitous; it is worth noting that both shows have a female showrunner with Caplan going so far as pointing out that Michelle Ashford is kinda prudish and those scenes can be hard for all involved.

How to Get Away with Murder is Viola Davis’ first starring role on prime time and she talks about her initial concerns when she took the project on including her appearance. There is one point which really sticks with me and is worth quoting in full exemplifying why this roundtable series strikes a chord:

“I’ve been doing this for 27 years. I’ve performed in basements, churches, off-Broadway. I want the work to reflect my level of gifts and talent. I don’t want it to reflect my color, my sex or my age. That’s what I want most.”

The comedy actresses talked about bad auditions and incidents earlier in their careers where they maybe tried to adjust their look for an audition. This is something Maggie Gyllenhaal discusses in terms of her appearance and how she has been judged in the past in terms of being ‘sexy.’ Gyllenhaal also mentions her interest in nudity and what she looks for in a sex scene.

Cookie Lyon has made such a huge impact on the TV landscape this season and Taraji P. Henson jokes “I hate that bitch. She’s stolen my identity! My friends don’t want to talk to me unless it’s about Cookie.” I’m only halfway through Empire but within the first few minutes of seeing this character on screen it was love. Henson also reveals who she sometimes channels when she is playing Cookie and the answer is not who you might expect. There are no boundaries when it comes to want roles Henson wants to play “I want to play a superhero. I want to be a Bond girl. I want to play a man. I want to play a white woman. I want to play everything I’ve never played before.”

There are more clips to watch here before the full thing becomes available in August.

THR drama actress roundtableIn terms of the styling of the group it turns out I wasn’t proved wrong after all with an explosion of sparkle and while Ruth Wilson is the lone person in print (a beautiful Erdem frock), there is some color with Viola Davis’ Lanvin and range of styles suiting the wearer in question. Lizzy Caplan’s Donna Karan ensemble is reminiscent of her Donna Karan Atelier Emmy stunner from last year (Caplan also chose this designer when she wowed at the Met Gala last month). During the chat Caplan wears an oversized tuxedo jacket and looks super cool while doing so. Excellent lipstick game from all the ladies with Caplan’s fuchsia reminding me of my new favorite lip color. And now if you will excuse me I will be drawing hearts around this entire conversation.

Check back for more Emmy related discussions in the weeks/months to come.

Update! Watch the full uncensored Emmy Drama Actress roundtable below.

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Nominees Announced for the 17th Costume Designers Guild Awards

8 Jan

The Costume Designers Guild 17th Award nominations have been announced and we are now fully into award season. The awards will take place Tuesday, February  17 and celebrate excellence in costume design across a variety of television, film and commercial categories. The division of categories means it isn’t just period costume that is given a place to shine (as it tends to be with the Oscars or BAFTAs) and some of TV Ate My Wardrobe’s most talked about and revered shows are on the list below.

Cersei Game of Thrones

Here is the full list of nominees:

OUTSTANDING CONTEMPORARY TELEVISION SERIES 
House of Cards – Johanna Argan
Ray Donovan – Christopher Lawrence
Saturday Night Live – Tom Broecker, Eric Justian
Scandal – Lyn Paolo
True Detective – Jenny Eagan

OUTSTANDING PERIOD/FANTASY TELEVISION SERIES
Boardwalk Empire – John Dunn
Game of Thrones – Michele Clapton
The Knick – Ellen Mirojnick
Mad Men – Janie Bryant
Masters of Sex – Ane Crabtree

OUTSTANDING MADE FOR TV MOVIE OR MINI SERIES 
American Horror Story: Freak Show – Lou Eyrich
Houdini – Birgit Hutter
The Normal Heart – Daniel Orlandi
Olive Kitteridge – Jenny Eagan
Sherlock – Sarah Arthur

EXCELLENCE IN CONTEMPORARY FILM
Birdman – Albert Wolsky
Boyhood – Kari Perkins
Gone Girl – Trish Summerville
Interstellar – Mary Zophres
Wild – Melissa Bruning

EXCELLENCE IN PERIOD FILM
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Milena Canonero
The Imitation Game – Sammy Sheldon Differ
Inherent Vice – Mark Bridges
Selma – Ruth E. Carter
The Theory of Everything – Steven Noble

EXCELLENCE IN FANTASY FILM
Guardians of the Galaxy – Alexandra Byrne
The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Bob Buck, Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 – Kurt and Bart
Into the Woods – Colleen Atwood
Maleficent – Anna B. Sheppard, Jane Clive

EXCELLENCE IN COMMERCIAL COSTUME DESIGN 
Army ‘Defy Expectations, Villagers’ – Christopher Lawrence
Direct TV ‘Less Attractive’, with Rob Lowe – Mindy Le Brock, Jessica Albertson
Dos Equis ‘Most Interesting Man in the World Walks on Fire’ – Julie Vogel
Kia Soul Hamster Commercial Featuring ‘Animals’ – Anette Cseri
Smirnoff ‘The Mixologist’ – Laura Jean Shannon

The fantasy/period television category leaps out at me because every single one is outstanding when it comes to costume design (among other things) and the intricate detail that is delivered by these costume designers helps transport the viewer to worlds that have existed in the past or previously on the page. The main disappointment here for me is the absence of The Americans as Jenny Gering creates various personas for Elizabeth and Philip to adopt in their spy disguises while grounding them in their regular American family attire all without screaming “It’s the 80s!”

In terms of the contemporary TV offerings it is Lyn Paolo’s work on Scandal that has not only impacted the way we think about how powerful women dress, but there has even been an affordable clothing line featured on the show and available at The Limited so the audience can have a little bit of Olivia Pope’s style in their life. For this very reason I am disappointed to see Daniel Lawson’s work on The Good Wife missing from the nominees as Alicia Florrick’s work wear is just as striking and Lawson also has his own line (which albeit is not quite as affordable, more splurge levels of purchase).

Salvador Perez’s is the costume designer on a show which features another successful career woman, but Mindy Lahiri’s style is nothing like Olivia Pope or Alicia Florrick; however The Mindy Project is no less deserving and this is another huge omission for me. The same goes for the incredible costumes on The Honourable Woman and Ed Gibbon would be one of my choices for the TV movie/mini-series category. And there is no show that does serial killer tailoring quite like Hannibal; three piece suits and plastic bespoke kill suits shouldn’t go this well together but Christopher Hargadon has done just that. Plus he also does the lady power dressing well from Alana’s bold patterns, Freddie’s court attire to Bedelia’s silk blouses.

Congratulations to Jenny Eagan for the double nomination for True Detective and Olive Kitteridge. If only I could wear Zoe Kazan’s giant frames from the latter and pull them off.

Movie wise I don’t have too much to grumble about and The Imitation Game inspired TV Ate My Wardrobe to dip my toes into film costume design analysis; I have yet to see Inherent Vice and Selma (they are both on my list) but this is a strong category. Yesterday I watched The Theory of Everything and it covers all my 60s/70s dress and knitwear coveting areas and The Grand Budapest Hotel is striking in its heightened realism.

Trish Summerville created some of my favorite costumes in 2013 with The Hunger Games: Catching Fire and her work was no less striking for a contemporary drama for Gone Girl as I’m still thinking about Amy’s black and white collar dress. Kurt and Bart took over from Trish Summerville on The Hunger Games and they showed how Effie can still be super stylish when all she has is drab grey and no wigs to work with.

Congratulations to all the nominees and I look forward to February 17 to see who picks up the awards.

For the nominees and winners from the TV categories at last year’s 16th Costume Designers Guild Awards head here.

Best of TV Costuming 2014: Best of the Rest – From Statement Necklaces to Wedding Gowns

30 Dec

Welcome to TV Ate My Wardrobe’s “Best of 2014″ costuming series and rather than doing a straightforward countdown we’re going to do a variety of posts that look at which costumes and shows have made a huge impact this year. From items that we want in our own wardrobe to pieces that got everyone talking, we want to look at this year’s TV through the prism of costume.

So far the end of year “Best of” discussions have covered a lot of individual shows such as The AmericansHannibal and The Good Wife, along with certain trends such as leather jackets and now comes the quick-fire roundup of TV Ate My Wardrobe’s best of everything else such as accessories, special occasion gowns and even modes of transport. It is a chance to address some our favorite shows and looks of 2014.

Best Statement Necklace Wearer

The Good Wife 6.02 DianeThere can only be one winner of this and The Good Wife’s Diane Lockhart wears chain necklaces like no other. She also has a very fine collection of antique broaches/pins and a stare that can stop you dead in your tracks.

Best Fancy Hat 

Hannibal - Season 2Freddie Lounds take on court attire was even better than Hannibal checking out his own butt as he got ready for Will’s trial. This hat reads more day at the races or wedding and isn’t really court appropriate unless she is starring in a remake of His Girl Friday.

Best Casual Hat 

IMG_0770I never thought I would pick a trucker hat to appear on a ‘best of’ but Orphan Black managed to turn one into a symbol of love as Helena shared her first dance and smooch with the adorable Jesse. This love token has been dropped and all she is left with is a beanie to stuff her hair into.

Best Sunglasses

You're the WorstI can’t believe this is the first time I am talking about You’re the Worst on TV Ate My Wardrobe and Gretchen’s face in the shot above sums up how ridiculous that is. Plus her Ray-Ban Opal Yellow Wayfarers are super awesome and perfect for all kinds of hungover sunny days.

Best Sweaters

Gina B99 Wolfie sweaterAnother slam dunk as Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s Gina has excellent sweater game week in, week out including an excellent double wolfie turtleneck from the most recent episode. There might have been more competition if Robyn hadn’t mysteriously become a character who exists in the off screen wilderness on The Good Wife.

Best Tights

SelfieNobody does patterned tights quite like Selfie’s Eliza and now is also a good time to sadly bid adieu to yet another comedy show that was the perfect mix of funny, sweet and sharp. So long Eliza and Henry; you deserve more than this.

Best Bathrobes

IMG_1161Going from the sanitized hospital location with the stiff blue robes to something more decadent with quality hotel bathrobes and in Masters of Sex’s best episode this season “Fight” Bill and Virginia spent a rather sizable portion laying their souls bare while wearing this garment.

Best Late Night Drinking

HomelandOkay so this one isn’t about what a character is wearing, instead it is the manner in which this scene in the Homeland finale showcased the best of what has been a mostly very enjoyable season leaving behind the mess of almost all things Brody. There’s an initial awkwardness from Lockhart that turns into a moment of warmth thanks to a shared horrific experience and drinking whiskey from paper cups.

Best Mode of Transport Part 1

IMG_1160Lucy’s beautiful blue bike wouldn’t look out of place now as retro bicycles are on trend and it also symbolizes freedom for both Lucy – she doesn’t have to rely on a man for transport – and Thack as he experiences a non-drug induced pleasure when he takes it for a spin on The Knick.

Best Mode of Transport Part 2

The Comeback 2.08The Comeback has been a pleasure to experience even when watching through fingers or with constant Home Alone face and the season finale is just as exceptional. Valerie Cherish is my everything especially when she has to avoid a shit covered front yard and gets carried in her Emmy gown by a shirtless Brad Goreski and her publicist Billy.

Best Hoodie to Hide in

Broad City 1.08 drawstring hoodieThere is a lot to love about the costuming on Broad City and one of Abbi’s most practical pieces is this drawstring hoodie (as with April Ludgate’s mustard hoodie I am still on the hunt for it) which doubles as a Bevers blocker.

Best Dress for Time Travel

Otlander Claire blanketConfession – I still need to watch beyond episode 3 of Outlander and it is one of those shows that I just fell behind on. Claire’s 1940s simple white keyhole dress didn’t seem totally out of place for the 18th century time period she found herself in during the pilot and this allowed her to blend in as best she could without betraying the original post-World War II setting. I really need to catch up on this, don’t I?

Best Wedding Gown

Margaery GOTAnother wedding didn’t go so well (or it actually worked out better for the bride) on Game of Thrones, but that can’t take away from the exquisite beauty and detail of Margaery’s gown. The rose embellished train is stunning.

Best Business Wear 

BBC2 drama The Honourable WomanOn The Honourable Woman Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Nessa Stein has a wardrobe that contains endless billowy silk blouses and everything is super chic and well tailored. Pieces that stand out include the Roland Mouret leopard jacquard dress from the first episode and pretty much every item acts as some kind of armor between Nessa and the messiness of the world she is part of. Yep even those silk blouses represent both supreme business wear and a way to protect herself.

Best Pattern Clashing 

IMG_1014Mindy wins this one hands down.

 

TimesTalks Panel with Maggie Gyllenhaal, Taylor Schilling, Lucy Liu and Mira Sorvino

25 Jul

The New York Times hosted a discussion with four women who are on current or forthcoming shows as part of the TimesTalks series; from network, cable to streaming and all with varying levels of experience in television and film. Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Honourable Woman), Taylor Schilling (Orange is the New Black), Lucy Liu (Elementary) and Mira Sorvino (Intruders) sat down to talk about a variety of subjects including why television is so good for actresses at the moment and how they navigate some of the more challenging aspects of working in this industry.

Times TalkTelevision as a medium is constantly being championed as an outlet for complex female roles and this is something that is a staple discussion point during any panel like this.* This is Maggie Gyllenhaal’s first foray into television and the character she plays in the Sundance/BBC co-production The Honourable Woman is not one you are likely to see in a mainstream movie; she is strong, intelligent and poised and like a lot of fascinating characters there is a flip side where this crumbles. Having seen the first four episodes I can attest that Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Nessa Stein is complicated and her performance so far has been exceptional.

*Keri Russell talks about this during the recent THR roundtable and her role in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes vs. The Americans is a pretty accurate example of why TV is viewed in this way over the more reductive roles that are generally on offer for women in film.

It’s not hard to see why Gyllenhaal took on a role like this and the beauty of TV is that there is so much more time to explore and dissect a character benefiting both performer and viewer. The idea that so many people watch TV as opposed to some of the tiny indie passion projects they have made gets referenced on multiple occasions.

Netflix is given praise for putting out a project like Orange is the New Black as it’s a show that has such strength in its diversity and the lack of restrictions on the content gives further creative freedom. This is a career high for Taylor Schilling (and when they were talking about film all I could think about was her cut down role as the wife in Argo) and her enthusiasm for this opportunity is obvious, particularly when previous work/heartbreak is brought up.

The manner in which these different shows are filmed varies from Maggie Gyllenhaal receiving all eight scripts at the start and shooting scenes for multiple episodes on the same day (all written and directed by Hugo Blick) to Lucy Liu’s episode by episode traditional network model with a variety of directors (including herself). TV can be many things including auteur like projects, adaptations of popular novels with both long and short form storytelling coming into play.

One thing that comes across from this panel (and at just over an hour and a half a lot of ground is covered) is that all four of these women have experienced some things they haven’t necessarily been comfortable with and they have had to learn how to say no when it hasn’t felt right to them. Mira Sorvino is thrilled to find out that she is not alone in having felt like and there is a lot of common ground despite the differences in how they started out/where they are now. Self belief and belief from others are both driving forces and the ability to remain hopeful is a repeated notion. As one audience member points out it is kind of like having a free therapy session and getting to hear some of these candid thoughts in a free flowing long discussion makes this panel essential viewing.

Maggie Gyllenhaal brings up how ideas of perfection in this industry are something she wishes could fall away a bit. The double standard is another aspect of this and she mentions that the scrutiny is far greater on woman than it is for men (from her experience of living with an actor). Lucy Liu also points out how easy it is to share projects with the technology we have, but she also wishes that people weren’t so quick to tear something apart.

This is just a brief taster of the subjects that are covered and both Maggie Gyllenhaal and Taylor Schilling talk about the current cultural relevance of their shows among other aspects that concern the broader and more personal aspects of their careers. You can currently watch the whole panel here.

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