Denzel Washington backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

DENZEL WASHINGTON

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

(“Fences”)

Here is what this SAG Award winner said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

Denzel Washington at the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 29, 2017.
Denzel Washington backstage at the 2017 Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

Having been involved in this project throughout its Broadway incarnation to today does that make this an extra special moment for you to win this award?

Yeah, I guess so. Seven years ago, [producer] Scott Rudin came to me with the screenplay, and I realized I hadn’t read the play. I read the play. So I called him, and said, “I want to do the play,” and that’s what we did. And we had tremendous success with it. It definitely led me to believe that we could be successful making a film.

You’re playing somebody who had in some way different kinds of challenges. How did you leap from you to him?

You don’t know my past. You don’t know my past. We’re actors. You know you don’t have to kill somebody to play a murderer. So we’re actors. You try to tap into what you can relate to be yourself or someone you love or know. And in the case of August Wilson, it’s all in a play. He’s one of the most brilliant playwrights of our time, of any time, so it’s all there. All the clues are there for you if you if you dig deep.

And because we did it first as a play, it was scary. You don’t know if it’s going to work. you don’t know if you’re going to work in it. But about the third week of rehearsal, and because I had a big part in the play, I’m working with all the actors. About the third week, Viola [Davis] showed us where she was going in that big scene. And I was like, “Oh wait a minute. Okay, I better concentrate on my stuff with her because she delivers.”

What do you think about the huge fence our president wants to build with the Hispanic world, and how many fences did you have to go through to win this award?

This is what I think: I think we as Americans better learn to unite. I think we as Americans need to put our elected officials feet to the fire and demand that they work together or they won’t get back in office. You know, this age we live in, this accelerated Information Age, we’re getting further and further apart. We’re not getting together; we’re getting further and further and further apart.

Everybody can’t be right, but I think this is an opportunity, actually. You see how people are being energized and protesting and all that but I think this is an opportunity for us to look at ourselves as a country as they are we together really and are we holding our elected officials accountable to making sure that they’re working together, not just hey you’re on your side. I win what I win. You win what you win, because this is what is happening. And God only knows where it’s going. And “Fences” was a good movie too.

Only six actors and actresses have won an Oscar three times. What would it mean to you  to join that group?

You know, this was really a surprise tonight for me. I wrote some stuff down in case we were picked for Best Ensemble. I just assumed that wasn’t getting [this award]. I’ve been at this a long time so I prepare myself for rejection early on. I was just calm, so I really was surprised and unprepared, to be honest with you. But to be chosen by your fellow actors really is an honor.

We were all the same—some of this little more famous or more money or whatever, but we all basically try to interpret roles. So yes, to be in that company … I’m somebody told me also I think there’s only six actors who had Supporting and Best Actor [Oscars], and I think I’m one of the six. So, obviously, to be in that company would be amazing.

During your speech you were emotional as you spoke about  different actors. What was it about the “Fences” cast that really touched you that made you emotional?

When I turned 60, I realized this is not the dress rehearsal. You’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse. You can’t take it with you. The Egyptians tried. All they got was robbed. So what are you going to do with what you have? And everybody has something different to give—some money sometimes some patience, some love, some kindness. I get more joy of giving to others.

I’m here to support Viola and all the rest of them and August [Wilson]. I’m good. I’ve won everything that you can win. Man gives the award. God gives the reward. My mother taught me that years ago. And it’s taken me a long time to understand it, but that’s where I’m at I get more joy of seeing others do well.

 

Emma Stone backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

EMMA STONE

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role

(“La La Land”)

Here is what this SAG Award winner said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

Emma Stone at the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 29, 2017.
Emma Stone at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

You were cut off at the end of your speech. Can you finish any thoughts you had?

That’s a really good point. They just escorted me into a Porta-Potty after that literally was like, “Ooh, what just happened?” Basically, my intention was to express that what I didn’t say was that sometimes in insecure times, I go into my head and think that what I do maybe doesn’t count for anything in the world—like it’s not enough, and I’m not saving lives. And then I was thinking about the art this year, and that in a time like this for so many horrific things are happening it is so special to be part of a group of people who want to reflect what’s happening back to the world and to make people happy.

I’m paraphrasing what I said on stage and I hope it will maybe change perspectives or help people feel less alone.  And it’s giving me a lot of a lot of happiness thinking about getting to be just even one person in the cog of all of these actors and an artist that care. And obviously, we’re also citizens of this planet and of this country or not of this country, and either way it doesn’t matter. We have to speak up against injustice and we have to kick some ass. So yeah, that’s not very eloquent here either, but yeah, that general idea.

You mentioned in your speech a little something about feeling insecure sometimes, which is not something we hear actors admit to much but they succumb to it more than we think. Would that be a fair comment?

Well, I don’t want to speak for anyone outside of myself. I think that would be unfair. I’m sure there are many actors that that don’t feel insecure a lot of the time I am not necessarily one of them. But I don’t know what that has to do with being an actor or just someone that you know kind of has a little bit of neurotic wiring. And I really care very much about being better and getting better—and I don’t even mean that as an actor. I mean that as a person. So I don’t know. I can’t speak for them, but I just maybe think a little bit too much.

People are torn sometimes when they’re at an award show to talk about what’s going on in the world at the same time. You can do it in a respectful way too. Do you think it’s important when you have a forum like this and you feel the issue is important enough to talk at least somewhat about what’s going on in the world in this case?

I think that right now is an unprecedented time, so I don’t know if I would say forever yes. But I think if we’re human beings and we see injustice we have to speak up because staying silent, as they say, only really helps the oppressor. It never helps the victim.

So I think that, yes, right now I would hope that everyone that’s seeing things being done that are absolutely unconstitutional and inhumane would say something in any venue, whether it’s at school or at an award show or in their offices or online. I would hope that people would fight for what’s right and what’s fucking human. This is a time unlike any other, so it’s amazing to see people speaking up and taking action—more than anything else—taking action.

 

 

Viola Davis backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

VIOLA DAVIS

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

(“Fences”)

Here is what this SAG Award winner said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

Viola Davis at the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 29, 2017.
Viola Davis backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

The Academy Award nominations are not so white anymore this year, such as having three black nominees in the Supporting Actress category. Do you think it had anything to do with the complaints from last year? Have you ever had any fences of discrimination?

Yeah. Everybody has had fences in this business. There is a lot of typecasting: age, sex, color, dark skin, light skin. In response to “OscarsSoWhite”? No. I think that every nominee, from Naomie Harris to Octavia Spencer to “Hidden Figures” to “Fences” to “Moonlight” to Marhershala Ali are there because they deserve to be there. They’re not there because of the color of their skin. They put in the work. So the answer to that is “no.”

You know my response from here on out? I always use the three words like February 26 [the day of the Oscar ceremony this year] is going to come and now what? Is it just going to be a trend to talk about inclusion and I’d rather say inclusion and diversity? Or is it going to be a norm that we understand that we’re all part of the narrative, that all our stories deserve to be told? And that art indeed has to reflect life in our culture, and people are going to demand it. That’s where we’re at.

We’re not “The Brady Bunch” anymore. We are “Blackish.” We are “Fresh Off the Boat.” We are “Jane the Virgin.”  We’re “Stranger Things,” with a hodgepodge of cultures and races.

You don’t mask your blackness, and often in the entertainment industry, black people are encouraged to do that. Is it intentional for you that you make it known: “I’m a black woman and I’m representing that sexuality and all those many complexities that we have”?

Well, it’s sort of both. Sometimes I feel like I’m forced to just remind people that I look different because I don’t want to sound ‘Kumbaya,’ but I just always feel that you have to look at your life like a relay race, and what your life is about when it is about running your leg of the race. So what is your leg of the race? What is your legacy going to be?

And I saw absence of women who look like me on TV as of even eight years ago. And to tell you the truth, was still sort of absent in leading roles especially when you’re darker than a paper bag. So I do intentionally say that at times because I do want to wake people up. I want to wake people up and know that it becomes a knee-jerk response to write narratives sometimes and just to have a homogenized group of people.

You know, it’s like being invited to the best party in the world and not thinking about who hasn’t been invited to the party. And I want to tell people that we in the past have not been invited to the party. So it is an intentional but when I do say it, I’m not saying it to put myself on the outside. It’s not to be ultra-political. It’s just to raise my hand and say, “Are you aware that I’m here? And I’m sexual and I have my own beauty and I have a story that deserves to be told.” That’s it.

Can you talk about what it meant for you to win this for a project that both you and Denzel Washington are very passionate about?

See, I have witnessed his hard work and I understand what is what is necessary to fulfill that role of Troy Maxon. I think at one point he had a 13-page monologue. I mean, those monologues are Shakespeare; they’re “King Lear.” Even though Troy is a garbage man, he is a giant in his life; he is the center of his universe. So I knew the sheer scope and magnitude of talent that it takes to play Troy: a big man and unapologetic man, a man of his time.

And I just thought Denzel did a tremendous job and you just always want an actor does a tremendous job to be recognized. And then it can’t so much about this project. I always say the thing that I love about Denzel is he didn’t think the leaf or the sky or shooting the ground was more important than shooting the face of the actors. That’s rare.

So I think I blew his eardrum out, but hopefully you’ll forgive me. And for me, August Wilson gave me my Equity card. I become a professional actress in 1989 doing “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” at Trinity Rep in Providence. Israel Hicks directed it, and I thought I had made it. And that was the beginning of my career. So now I feel it’s very apropos. It’s come full circle.

 

 

 

‘Orange Is the New Black’ team backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

“ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK”

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series

Here is what these SAG Award winners said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

The cast of "Orange Is the New Black" at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles.
The cast of “Orange Is the New Black” at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

How do you all stay connected without getting into feuds?

Samira Wiley: You’re asking us that most of us are women. I think a lot of us in the very first year of this show, most of us were did not have any fame or anything like that. And we really went through this journey together, figuring out how to navigate press, how to navigate being in this industry. And I think that that really fostered a camaraderie.

Kimiko Glenn: I feel like there’s a lot of respect between all of us. I know every time the show comes out, I’m like blown away. I’m texting everyone, like, “Wow that’s amazing.” I feel like it and everyone are so wonderful and sweet, and everyone is just doing their thing so well.

Emily Althaus: It’s also work. We’re going to work, and so we have the benefit of becoming great friends after working maybe such long hours or whatever but it still works, so we’re professional adults.

Glenn: It’s pretty chill.

Annie Golden: We’re professional adults who have been totally blessed. So there it is. It’s gratitude and you’re happy to be there with each other.

James McMenamin: The cast is wonderful and talented. The women are talented and strong and impassioned. And I’m just proud to be part of it.

Samira, can you tell a little about when you found out the arc of your character in this season that was so emotional? How was the process well until the end?

Wiley: Sure. Absolutely. I knew about what was going to happen to my character over a year before it got released. The real story is I knew about six to nine months before the rest of my cast knew, so the entire time we were shooting Season 4, I had a dirty little secret. I remember when that when that script first came out and everyone else you know found out just by reading it and getting to the end, I got a lot of texts a lot of calls that day. But you know, we all got through it together, just like we’ve all gotten through everything together this entire journey.

You had a case of the giggles during your acceptance speech. Was it just because you’re still a winner or was there a particular mood or a particular meaning to tonight?

Abigail Savage: We were surprised. I didn’t expect it.

Wiley: Okay, the way they work these seats, the last time we were sort of upfront, and another time we were sort of upfront, but this time, we were in the back, so we didn’t think we were going to win.

Golden: We’ve never had Taylor Schilling with us. She’s always been working when we have this award. So the fact that Taylor had to step up. And then the mood on the red carpet was so politically heavy we were like, “How’s our girl going to going to pull it out?” And she pulled it out. It’s like we were giddy.

What does it mean to all of you to be on a show as diverse as inclusive as “Orange Is the New Black” during these times that are quite divisive right now?

Lori Petty: I think we reflect reality and that all of the separations are man-made. We live on Carl Sagan’s pale blue dot, and we’ve always been one, will always be one, and they just want to cut us up. And love will conquer all this. So if they’re going to lock up a Muslim, they’re going to lock up us.

“Orange Is the New Black” is on a winning streak. What does that reflect in your personal life the success of the show?

Selenis Leyva: I think that we’re also honored to just be working with each other, to be telling real stories, diverse stories, stories that reflect our world. We’re just really blessed. And I think that it just the audience really accepts it because they can relate to it, you know what I mean? And that’s really important especially during these times. Art is going to be very important during the next four years. We’re just so blessed. Thank you.

You all bring a good vibe to this event. What is it about your show that brings such goodness here?

Jessica Pimentel: We’re all drunk!

Danielle Brooks: No, we’re not.

Dale Soules: We’re all family, and it all starts with [“Orange Is the New Black” executive producer/creator] Jenji Kohan setting the bar for all of us to be ego-free. We work together as a family, and we really love each other.

Elizabeth Rodriguez: We love and respect each other and are really thrilled to be here.

Dascha Polanco: It’s also the true representation of what the world is. I know diversity is a trend now, but this is what it really is and the stories that are being told that we’ve been working on have connected not only in America but throughout the world so this is what is. This is what the world is, and we’re very proud to be here to represent all of us.

Brooks: And I also want to say we’re very grateful for this moment.

 

‘Stranger Things’ team backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

“STRANGER THINGS”

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series

Here is what these SAG Award winners said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp, and Caleb McLaughlin at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles.
“Stranger Things” cast members Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Millie Bobby Brown, Noah Schnapp and Caleb McLaughlin at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

How strange is it to have this award?

Caleb McLaughlin: Oh my gosh, it’s a blessing. I was sitting there. I was waiting for “The Crown,” “Game of Thrones,” all of the great competition that we had. And then I just heard, “Oh my gosh.” I just heard the “s,” and I knew it was us, and I just started jumping.

Finn Wolfhard: I’ll say something very quickly. I looked to Natalia, I looked to Millie. I was like, “Guys, I’m going to sleep. See you later.” And I laid my head on the rest. And then they were, like, “Stranger Things” …

Millie Bobby Brown: And it was actually funny because the Duffers, the [“Stranger Things”] directors, we thought we had no chance. It is so incredible to be in such an incredible category with so many talented, incredible shows that have worked so hard. I really want to thank everyone I didn’t get to say on stage because David Harbour just rocked it, but I just want to say thank you so much to every single nominee in that category.

Noah Schnapp: Mr. [Matthew] Modine actually told me that it’s like it’s already like winning when you get nominated, and then being able to win after being nominated is just the feeling, the rush; it’s just such a blessing.

Gaten Matarazzo: Yeah, it really is just a great opportunity to be here, and the great thing about it is that we’re in our first season. We are in our first season of this show, and we just won this award. And it’s the whole cast, and they called our name, and I’m like, “How the hell? Like what? You’re kidding me!” And Dave’s speech was just amazing, and I could listen to that a hundred times. It was just a phenomenal job. Thank you to just everyone and David Harbour. It’s exciting.

You’re all so young. What would you say to kids who aspire to be actors?

McLaughlin: I would say just keep striving for your dreams and never give up. Don’t believe anyone that puts you down. Just keep going because you’re your own person, and you have to just keep doing it. Just keep going.

Wolfhard: My answer to that would be keep trying. Every actor has been in the position, well not every actor. Some actors like us got lucky with this, but some actors don’t get lucky, and they work their whole lives to be on a show like this. I’ve only been acting for five years, four years. Some actors have been acting their entire life, because we’re not old. That sounded awful. Sorry. Not all on the older side. We’ve only been on this planet for 14 years. I would just say keep trying; keep auditioning for stuff.

Brown: I’ve always thought just go into an audition room thinking you haven’t got the job, and that’s really bad advice but to me that really works. And when I went into “Stranger Things,” I thought, “I really am not going to get this. I mean, there’s so many talented … 306 girls, I think, auditioned for Eleven.” And I’m just like, “It’s to be going the same audition as them,” so I just thought, “I’m going to get this.”

Schnapp: So my answer would be … everyone says this but it’s really true: Just never give up and stay motivated keep trying. One day you’re going to get it if you love it. Just go after it, because if you love it, put your heart into it and your passion. One day it’ll come.

Matarazzo: So mine is to say that tonight really proves that kids can be good actors too, because there are a lot of things that a lot of people give a lot of stereotypes saying kids aren’t good actors because they don’t have experience. But it’s not about experience. It’s about your will to do what you love, and it’s about your passion for it. It is about how much you really want to do this, because you can really just do amazing things, no matter how long you’ve been on this planet.

So if any kid out there that says they aren’t as good as someone because they’re older, they are wrong because age does not matter no matter how old you are. You can be a hundred years old in there [he points to his head] even if you’re 9 years old. That’s what I have to say. Any kid can do amazing things.

David, you got very emotional in your speech. How long did you take for you prepare it?

David Harbour: I didn’t expect us to win at all, actually, because we’re the newcomers, and there’s a lot of kids in the show, and it’s a strange show to give an acting award. I think I’m so proud of this cast, and I think it’s well-deserved. I think the work that these guys are doing is so extraordinary, but I did not think we were going to win. I did know that if we did win, I’m very bad at improvisation, as the rest of the cast can tell you. So I did not want to go up there with nothing to say, so I did write this speech.

And it’s gone through many iterations. I’ve had a lot of feelings and thoughts this last week, and I wanted to express it in some way that dealt with what we do through our art and also the craft of acting. And I feel like in our society now, it’s important to remember that acting is a craft, and that this is a guild, and it is something worthy of study, and it’s something worthy of hard work and dedication. It’s not about how popular you are; it’s not about how many “likes” you get on things. I see some trends in our society going a certain way, and I think acting is, at least for my life, has been a very important component about self-expression that is very worthy of a guild. And so I wanted the speech really to be about that.

Had you run the speech by your castmates? It looked Winona Ryder was hearing it for the first time.

Harbour: I didn’t see her reaction. Actually we were at dinner the other night, and it was Cara [Buono] and the teens and myself. And I was like, “Guys, I want to say this kind of crazy speech. Can I run it by you? And Charlie [Heaton] was like, “No, no you’ll ruin it. You’ll jinx it.” But finally we beat him into submission. And I did do it for them.

But it even changed last night, based on the protests that are going on at the airports and all this stuff that’s going down. I started to change it some more, but they did help me, and they did reassure me that it was an okay thing to say and that it wasn’t pretentious,  and that I could say it. So I was very appreciative of their feedback.

 

 

Bryan Cranston backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

BRYAN CRANSTON

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie

(“All the Way”)

Here is what this SAG Award winner said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

Bryan Cranston at the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 29, 2017.
Bryan Cranston at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

What can you say about a sequel project to “All the Way” covering the rest of Lyndon Johnson’s career as president?

“The Great Society” is actually a play that has already been written and is actually being produced in Austin, Texas, right now. I’m not doing it. I’m here tonight. It was a big temptation to be to do it and to follow through, but after having lived with it for a couple years—doing the play in Boston first, and then New York, and then doing the movie for HBO, I felt I examined it, and I felt like I needed to move on and do something else. But thanks. It’s good. It’s a good play.

There’s a lot going on in the world right now that might make it hard to celebrate at award shows like this. Do you think it’s a challenge?

Is that a challenge? Yeah, there’s a lot of strife in the world and in our country, but I think it’s important to embrace the good things that we have as well. And the collective of creative people coming together and talking about the issues which you’ve seen tonight, it’s alive. And this is what artists do best is we take it take the anguish anxiety or fear and put it back into work and hopefully that creates a groundswell of understanding and acceptance and compassion. And I don’t feel that it’s you know the wrong thing to do to celebrate good work that has nothing to do with other things. It’s important to mark occasions.

When Meryl Streep gave her speech at this year’s Golden Globes, a lot of viewers were complaining on social networks that the show became too political and should be entertaining. And tonight, a lot of the actors gave political speeches. What do you say about to this people who think that this is only entertainment?

Well you know, we’re human beings and citizens before we ever became actors and activists or artists of any kind. If something is important to you. If something appears before you and in a way that that feels oppression, it’s up to the citizenry to speak out.

Not everybody agrees, but that’s part of the democracy is that were allowed to do that. In so many countries around the world, you’re not even allowed to voice objections or any dissent, but our country was founded on that so we shouldn’t be afraid of it should embrace everything so that the voices are all heard. And then people make up their own minds as to how they want to you know continue with it.

William H. Macy backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

WILLIAM H. MACY

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series

(“Shameless”)

Here is what this SAG Award winner said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

William H. Macy at the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 29, 2017.
William H. Macy at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

In “Shameless,” there’s no limit to what you do. Are you more fearless about what you can do?

What a great question. I certainly have done things I never thought I would do. I grew up in western Maryland. I’m Lutheran, for God’s sake, so I read the scripts with this same horror that the audience has in watching it. Yeah, I think it’s made me bolder. Perhaps it’s my age, but I think Frank Gallagher has something to do with the fact that I feel freer to say what I really think. I don’t need your pity

You thanked your wife, Felicity Huffman, in your speech. How does she you support you, and what does that means you?

It’s a fairytale. We both love acting. We met in the theater when we were one of us was very young, and the other was a little bit older. And it’s all we’ve ever done. It’s the language that we have. Felicity’s about to start a new series. She’s about to do a pilot. We read each other scripts to each other. We work together. Don’t try this at home, but it’s what we do, and it seems to work. And I’m blessed. I am blessed. We have a blast. That’s it.

Do you have different closets for your awards?

I’ll admit to having a number of trophies and our house. We have a balcony and we put them up there thinking it would be discreet. And then I was going to direct a film, and I they said, “Where you want to do the first reading?” And I had all these young actors come to our house. And I said, “We’ll sit around that table in the balcony.” And I realized halfway through the first rehearsal that they were there were all these awards to William H. Macy behind them. And I realized this wasn’t the best place to do it after all. I think it may be have to be an actor to understand.

You’ve done versatile roles and characters. Is there a particular character or personality that you haven’t done that you want to do?

That’s a lovely question. The bad guy, but more than bad—the truly evil guy, which is tough because I don’t like violence. I don’t like going to movies that have a lot of violence. It upsets me, and I find it’s stupid sometimes. I’d like to play the bad guy, you know maybe it’s because I played Frank Gallagher. I’d like to play the unplayable roles: the Nazi, the racist, the Ku Klux Klan guy. I’d like to give a shot at those roles.

I love comedy. I have a tendency myself to only go to films that make me laugh. I’d rather laugh than anything else. I’m growing into my age. I can’t wait to play the older guy, whatever that is. The president, the senior lawyer.

John Lithgow and Claire Foy backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

JOHN LITHGOW AND CLAIRE FOY

SAG Award wins:

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series

(“The Crown”)

Here is what these SAG Award winners said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

John Lithgow and Claire Foy at the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 29, 2017.
John Lithgow and Claire Foy at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

How enjoyable has it been to bring this story to life? And do you think that any of the British royal family has watched it?

Claire Foy: We don’t know anything. You know it’s very difficult to get a straight answer from anyone or truthful answer, unless they actually come up to us and say, “We watched it. We loved it.” And we just don’t know, which is the nature of them and the beauty of them. We don’t know, but we do know that they have a Netflix subscription, and the chances are they might have know about its existence, but yeah we don’t know for definite anything, unfortunately.

John Lithgow: What was it like bringing these people to life? Completely wonderful. It was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. Claire was in the first sentence that was spoken to me by my agent about this project. It was Peter Morgan, Stephen Daldry, Claire Foy, Winston Churchill and Netflix. And I had said “yes” at the word “Claire Foy.” I had seen her in “Little Dorrit” and “Wolf Hall.” I have many actor friends in London who have worked with Claire and know her, and the word “lovely” kept coming up.

It’s very true. She’s a completely wonderful person. She’s just as great an actor as she is a person. Everybody so delighted to hear that because they love her acting so much. And you know, it’s a beautifully written historical drama that doesn’t even look like historical drama because you get to know the characters so deeply, and they’re so beautifully played with such dimension by this incredible cast. So it was easy.

John, you are such a tall man, and Winston Churchill was so short. What’s the trick to playing that character?

Lithgow: You know, we rehearsed for about 10 days before we shot. And on about the ninth day, I asked Stephen Daldry, our director, I said, “You know, there’s an elephant in the room. Nobody has even mentioned the fact that I’m about 18 inches taller than Churchill.”

And Stephen said, “It’s not an issue.” I said, “What are we going to do?” He said, “Nothing. It’s not an issue.” And it never was. The only accommodation they made for my height was to build the Downing Street door about six inches taller than it actually is.

But beyond that, I go through life, and everybody I meet says, “You’re so much taller than I thought.” You don’t think that much about height when you look at film and television, thank God. This is the one enormous difference between me and Winston.

Lily Tomlin backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

LILY TOMLIN

SAG Award win:

Life Achievement Award

Here is what this SAG Award winner said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

 

Lily Tomlin at the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 29, 2017.
Lily Tomlin at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

This honor that you’ve been given tonight is not only for your incredible acting repertoire but also for what you’ve done in the community and things that you campaign for that you believe in. How much do you think it’s important to use awards shows like this to raise these issues in to comment on them?

I don’t know if you can’t be a little bit entertaining at the same time. It probably falls on deaf ears. I’m not sure. So many people are activists now, and they so understand about expressing themselves and taking that platform to use it. It may be it may kind of melt, but on the other hand, I think that stars that people really have affection for and have and care for in some degree, I think what they say does land home—or I hope it doesn’t just land on the ears of people who are inclined as they are already.

The main thing you really should be talking about is legislation. Any activist should really be talking about how to mount some kind of legislation against whatever it is that they are opposed to. You’ve got to change the laws. Trump is changing the laws now and that’s he’s trying to change the laws, but you know …

I don’t want to make this comparison. I’m not making it anyway, but the Nazis, they changed the law if it didn’t agree with them. They just change them, and they could do whatever they wanted. Now that was over a period of time. And so I think we have to be vigilant and stop certain behaviors so that someone who has not thought something through doesn’t get too far in the process.

If they get too far they might believe it themselves that it’s true and it should be pursued. So we need to be vigilant and we need to agree when he may have a good idea or she may have a good idea. And we should be resistant when they don’t. Oh my gosh, I feel like I’m talking to someplace in Germany many decades ago.

What do you wish you knew then that you know now that takes you into every job you do?

I guess I wish I’d known to just be more myself instead of trying to stretch my myself my face my voice everything into a character. Although I’ve had great fun with all those characters, and if I had another idea I would do one. Although I didn’t know this—see I

wasn’t ignorant I even as a young child. I knew to use sunscreen. I really did. I used to read my mother’s beauty magazines, and they would say, “Look at the skin on your behind, how good it is, compared to the skin on your face.” This is meant for an older woman.

And I thought, “That’s true. Your skin on your behind is covered up most of the time and you are not subject to the ultraviolet rays of the sun.” So I started using sunscreen, although I have been lapse. I have to admit that and that’s the result, but if I hadn’t, I think I would look better than I do now, even though I do look pretty good. But I think using sunscreen is good advice for men and women—not just women. I don’t want to make that a woman’s issue at all.

 

Sarah Paulson backstage at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards

January 30, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards took place on January 29, 2017, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.

SARAH PAULSON

SAG Award win:

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie

(“The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”)

Here is what this SAG Award winner said backstage in the SAG Awards press room.

Sarah Paulson at the 29th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles on January 29, 2017.
Sarah Paulson at the 2017 Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

Could you expand a bit on why you decided to comment on what you commented about tonight? Was it a tough decision or an easy decision?

No, it wasn’t a tough decision to come up with what I wanted to say. I am not an immigrant. I was born here, so in terms of how I can speak about it from a personal standpoint from my youth or something wasn’t available to me, so I just wanted to have an opportunity to mention the inclusivity that I think is required right now in general. The ACLU, to me, represents that sort of across the board, and they do really rely on funds from people like you and me. So at this time, it’s an odd thing because this has been a very celebratory time in my life, in terms of my work being recognized at the same time it’s sort of dovetailing with a very interesting time in our country.

And so even as I was getting ready tonight as excited as honored as I was, I felt the duality of the celebration and also the seriousness of people who are at JFK right now people, who are at LAX, people who are at airports all over the country. It just feels like a grave time. At the same time I also feel very honored and proud so I’m trying to find a place to put it where I can be celebratory and also give the day its appropriate weight.

In this time of women’s marches and whatnot, what did you take away from Marcia Clark?

Everything I possibly could. To me, she was and is an incredibly, smart, complicated—not without flaws—human woman and I find that very relatable. I too am full of flaws and complications, and sometimes I think more and more this is less true. Certainly on television, you are seeing such diverse complicated characters now more than you used to, but still what we’ve got going on outside of the entertainment industry sort of strikes a little bit of fear. I feel very honored to have played her, and I don’t know when I’ll come across a role like that again.

As an actor in this political climate, do you feel pressured to kind of make these statements?

I think we should all now be able to speak our minds as we see fit. I do think silence is not golden at this particular time. I do think if you have a platform in a place to say it with a large audience and you can reach further than you, then you should take the opportunity. But I don’t want anyone to feel that they’re failing if they’re not doing it or if they forget to or they get overwhelmed.

It’s what happens to you when you get up there. I could never have said this to you a year ago because I haven’t had the experience, but I have been getting up there more than I ever have. It is hard to keep your bearings, and when you feel the extra desire to communicate a larger world view, you do feel that that weight. But I think people should do whatever they’re moved to do in general.

What have all these accolades done for you as an actress?

Well, that’s hard too. That’s a blessing and a curse because now I fear the next time I come out of the gate with something people will be going, “Well that wasn’t as good as Marcia Clark.” But that’s just a normal human reaction to having some success.

I’m 42 years old, and I’ve been working for a long time, and I’ve certainly been employed and made my living as an actress for many, many years, but this is a whole new world that I’m living in, absolutely. And with that does come a whole new set of neuroses—at least for me particularly, where I do think, “Oh God, I hope I don’t disappoint next time I put something out there.”