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.

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.”

Claire Foy, John Lithgow and ‘The Crown’ team backstage at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards

January 9, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards took place on January 8, 2017, at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.

“THE CROWN”

Golden Globe wins:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K14qAJzMW2k

Here is what these Golden Globe winners said backstage in the Golden Globe Awards press room.

"The Crown" star Claire Foy at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 8, 2017.
Claire Foy at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 8, 2017. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/NBC)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

Claire, if you had a chance to sit down with Queen Elizabeth and have tea with her, what  would be one question you want to ask her now that you’ve been playing her for the television series?

Claire Foy: I’m really shamefully going to nick Andy Harris’ reply to this which is “Has she watched it?” And then probably I just like to hear her talk for about two hours that would be nice.

Peter and Stephen, what fascinated you about this and why do you think you were able to get such an amazing budget for it?

Peter Morgan (creator): We didn’t ask for that. Netflix gave it to us. I just sort of started this journey when writing the film “The Queen.” And it and even that was by accident. I started just thinking it was interesting what happened between the queen in her prime ministers. And that just grew and grew and grew.

And I wanted to know how must have been for her with her first prime minister, who was [Winston] Churchill, and the next thing I know these stories were coming back to me and I started thinking this is a much longer running thing, and now we’re shooting the second season at the moment. I hope that’s answered your question

How have you reacted to “The Crown’s” popularity? How did you pick John Lithgow to play Churchill?

Stephen Daldry (director): John is a very good person to answer the question about how on earth how surprising the response has been around the world.

Lithgow: It is astonishing. It delights all of us. We knew we were doing something fine. I think from day one, we knew this was going to be extraordinary. But we didn’t we didn’t dream that it would be massively popular internationally.

I suppose it’s because the monarchy is the subjective everybody’s attention and obsession internationally. And Peter and Stephen have just found a way of turning that very, very public family into an extremely fascinating private world ever and everybody connects with it. And you have to ask them about casting me. I didn’t do it myself.

Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said that “The Crown” could feasibly go on six or seven years. Any thoughts on that?

Morgan: The danger of writing a story about someone with a long life is the story goes on and on … We’re filming the second season at the moment, and that would take us through to 1964. We were there for about three episodes in at the moment, and that starts in the Suez crisis and then as Britain goes into the ‘60s, the world changes you know if we leave behind a certain kind of Britain and we enter a new kind of Britain.

And we will then at the end of Season 2, we will reach a point where we will have to start thinking about a new cast because our actors would reached what I think is the limit that they could reasonably play and we haven’t had those conversations with Netflix about going forward. I think they would like to, and I think we would like to, but it’s only now really that will have those conversations

John, how difficult was it for you to master Churchill’s speech patterns and the physicality?

Lithgow: It was difficult but it was fun it was all fun and I had tremendous help from the costumer Michele Clapton and the makeup artist Ivana Primorac and a remarkable dialect coach William Conacher, who helped me with not just the dialect but the sort of machine dream of changes explosiveness that was William. And I have to say he worked just as hard with the British actors as you did with me. He was remarkable. Put all those things together, and it came very, very easily. And I think the bottom line the greatest asset of all was the lines that were written for me.

Daldry: The bottom line is that John Lithgow is one of the great actors of our age. And that we had him in our show was a great gift, and it was a wonderful opportunity for us to explore the character Churchill. We’re blessed to have you, sir.

Do you have a favorite Churchill quote or anecdote?

Lithgow: There was a wonderful moment that Stephen and I derived. We wanted to do something appalling for Churchill to demonstrate that he should not be prime minister. There was a moment when he stands up in a cabinet meeting and staggers out of the room.

And it was my idea that he actually reach right straight into his trousers. This was inspired by a quote from Churchill when someone pointed out that he’d left his fly buttons open. And his quote was, “It’s not a problem. A dead bird never leaves its nest.”

Billy Bob Thornton backstage at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards

January 9, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 74th annual Golden Globe Awards took place on January 8, 2017, at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.

BILLY BOB THORNTON

Golden Globe win:

Best Actor in a Television Series – Drama

(“Goliath”)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7Ji6glwVsM

Here is what this Golden Globe winner said backstage in the Golden Globe Awards press room.

Billy Bob Thornton at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards
Billy Bob Thornton at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 8, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

Can you elaborate on what you said in your acceptance speech about sticking up for people?

I said that it’s easy to talk about people. It’s hard to stick your neck out. And I guess my point about that is a lot of people in the entertainment business get called “privileged” and yet … I came out here in poverty and spent a decade trying to eat. And that does things to you. At the end of the day, what separates people who come to these awards shows and who do television shows or movies or whatever it is or write a score, there are people who are willing to take a chance.

And maybe it was safer to work, but if you wanted to make something out of yourself, you’re willing to go take the chance. And so when people in this day of the social media, and when people are slamming each other left and right, what they have to remember at the end of the day is those who talk about those who do things, that’s not a very good job.

That’s why when the legitimate press … when you write a review or talk about something on your TV show, it comes from a place of knowledge, as opposed to a place of hatred or jealousy or whatever it is, you know. And I think we’re living in that society right now. I let it bother me for a few years. And now, when I accept an award, I accept it with pride, because I know I tried.

Who are you most excited to see tonight?

I was excited to see my wife being happy. I mean, she’s happy every day, but tonight, she’s just proud to be here with me and everything. But in terms of celebrities, I was very excited to see Warren Beatty because he’s one of the guys I admired growing up.

What drew you to your “Goliath” character?

I always wanted to play a lawyer, because I think lawyers and actors have the same job. A lawyer is trying to convince a jury, and an actor is trying to convince an audience. And I did it in “The Judge” with Robert Downey [Jr.] and [Robert] Duvall, but it was kind of a big cameo. It wasn’t really a full part. I’d always wanted to play a lawyer for a period of time, but mainly I wanted to play a guy who was trying to fight his way back from nowhere—and I’ve had to do that a few times, so I kind of related to the character.

You’ve said the “Goliath” was one of the best crews you ever worked with, and you recognized your PA [production assistant] in your acceptance speech. Can you talk a little bit more about the crew?

It was a very, very good crew on “Goliath.” There were people who enjoyed being there every day. They got who the actors were and related to us in that way. Luke Scott was a kid who was only 23 years old, and he passed away last year.

Luke made me want to come to work. He was the guy who, when I got there, I know that his face was such a joyous face. And he was so happy just to be there and have that job and be around a business that he wanted to be around.

To lose your life at 23 years old when you’re just starting something like that, I thought, “I can thank people all night long. I can thank lawyers and agents and everybody, but at the end of the day, the two entities I have to thank are Luke Scott, this PA that made me happy to be there, and Amazon, who was willing to do the show.”

Amazon is a company that was very kind to us and allowed us to be what we wanted to be, and in fact encouraged us to be more than what was there. But if I thank them publicly, then I need to thank every lawyer, and that takes a lot of time. So if I had to pick one out of two, I pick the kid who’s not with us anymore.

How would you say luck or blessings fit in addition to the chances you’ve taken and how good your work is?

In terms of luck and all that, I’ve kind of left it up to providence in a way because if Fred Roos hadn’t seen me in the theater back in the early ‘80s, I’d be nowhere. But then again, if this unemployed actor who I met named Don Blakeley hadn’t met me three or four years before that, I would never have been in the theater were Fred Roos saw me.

People say, “Was ‘Sling Blade’ the turning point?” or “Was ‘Once False Move’ the turning point?” And sure, you can say that in a way, but the fact of the matter is, if it weren’t for Don Blakely, this actor who would feed me when I was starving and who introduced me to somebody and put me in a play in this little theater group where Fred Roos, a big producer came and saw me, then none of that would have happened. So you have to really go way, way back.

So I think, as opposed to those defining moments that people usually pin on movies, I think you really have to think more about those people that led you to that moment. So my hat goes off to Don Blakeley, just like it went off to Luke Scott, a PA who made me want to come to work. I think the little woman and the little man aren’t recognized enough in the trajectory of someone’s career.

We have not heard about the future of “Goliath” from Amazon. What have you heard, and what are your hopes for the show going forward?

If I told you, I’d have to kill you. They would like to do another season, I know that much. This one was written in a way that it had a beginning, a middle and an end, so that was kind of the intention. But once they see what the potential is—and I honestly believe there’s more potential for the show than what was in the first season. I love the first season, but I think there’s so much more to mine.

I think we need to know where this guy came from and what happened and what it is that made him who he is and what his sense of justice actually is and what his desires are and what he does think about these people. And I think another season could unfold that and could answer a lot of those questions and lead the audience down a path that’s much stranger and much darker. I know that Amazon, to their credit, wants to do it, and I think it just depends on if they come up with the right story.

Is there some talent that you’re not so good that you wish you were better at?

Absolutely. I’m the worst dancer, maybe in history. I grew up as a musician, as a drummer, so I have a natural sense of rhythm. It’s not about that. On the dance floor, I freeze up like you can’t imagine. It’s incredible.

When I was in junior high school there was a band called the Yardleys in my hometown of Malvern, Arkansas, and they were like the Beatles to us. And they had a dance in the old high-school gymnasium.

And this senior in high school named Joan Burnett asked me to dance and her boyfriend Bucky Griggs was a drummer in the Yardleys. And she came over and got me by the hand and led me out to the middle of the dance floor because I was friends with her little brother, who was in school with me.

And I stood there sweating, like my hands are sweating, and I thought I was having a heart attack at 13. And I lost my mind I didn’t know what to do. So when I watch people dance and look at the old movies when actors couldn’t just be actors; they had to ride horses, shoot guns, dance, sing, everything—I admire those people so much, because now we can just sit in a room and a chair and talk, but they just have to do everything. I’m so fortunate, because I just can’t dance.

John Travolta, Sarah Paulson and ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story’ team backstage at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards

January 9, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 74th annual Golden Globe Awards took place on January 8, 2017, at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.

“THE PEOPLE V. O.J. SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY”

Golden Globe wins:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdMlE3bm4yE

Here is what these Golden Globe winners said backstage in the Golden Globe Awards press room.

"The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story" team at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards
“The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” team at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 8, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

What was the most gratifying part of working on this project?

Nina Jacobson (executive producer): The collaboration amongst these actors was a remarkable gift. These are all actors who under any conditions would be first on a call sheet. They all have enormous star power and yet they all work together to support each other in a way that it was immensely demanding. They all just gave so much to each other, and that was very gratifying.

What was your initial reaction when you heard of the nomination?

Jacobson: We were thrilled and excited pretty excited.

John Travolta (co-star/producer): Well, it’s the icing on the cake. You guys are amazing. You are opinion leaders, so you’re approving of our series. If you hadn’t given us all these wonderful nominations and acknowledged to this depth it would have been a disappointing year. And we’ve been very lucky this year, but you made the year, so thank you.

Now that you’ve had almost a year since “The People v. O.J. Simpson” premiered, did it surprise you the depth of the chord that this struck about contributing to the conversation about race in America? And what would you say has surprised you about the resonance of this project?

Sterling K. Brown (co-star): Unfortunately, it’s not that surprising because the show is more relevant than what it should be. You would think in 20 years time in this country that things would have progressed to such a place where you look back and be like, “Oh, how interesting that was back then.” But back then is what’s happening right now and so the fact that a primarily African-American jury in Los Angeles could find fault with the police department is not that surprising. We’ve got a lot of ocular proof over the past two years of police misconduct—an institution that supposed to protect and serve—and a lot of people don’t always feel protected or served.

And so, I think it’s because of all of the things that we’ve been able to see that there’s a level of understanding that people may not have had 20 years ago when that jury made the decision that they did to acquit. I think what’s really beautiful about what our writers and producers created was that the conversation existed in such a way that people who were appalled with that decision now understood the other side and people who actually celebrated that decision got a chance to see the amount of evidence that the prosecution had and can actually say like, “Well, maybe that wasn’t exact the right approach either.” So hopefully, both sides started to understand each other and instead of just being in fights all the time.

What do you think O.J. Simpson would think about this TV series? And do you care?

Ryan Murphy (executive producer): I don’t think we care.

Jacobson: We have never met him.

Brad Simpson (executive producer): I think that when we were developing the show, the thing that we wanted is everybody to have insight to what these main characters went through, especially the prosecution and the defense to see the other side. That was the main concern.

We made something that had a lot of complexity; that was the objective of the show. We didn’t really think about O.J. Simpson, what he would think. It was mainly about the legal teams that we wanted to present. That was the objective.

Many people on the legal team are saying that they were little upset they weren’t interviewed by the actors. Can you talk about that?

Sarah Paulson (co-star): I can’t speak to that. I didn’t speak to Marcia [Clark] until I think we had completed Episode 7. We were not trying to tell the story from any of their particular points of view, in terms of their personal stakes in it. This was this was something that we were trying to shed light on that may not have always completely lined up with their opinion about what it was that happened. I don’t really know how to answer that exactly.

Donald Glover backstage at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards

January 9, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards took place on January 8, 2017, at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.

“ATLANTA”

Golden Globe wins:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-k39j9g27E

Here is what this Golden Globe winner said backstage in the Golden Globe Awards press room.

Donald Glover at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards
Donald Glover at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 8, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

Long before it went on the air, “Atlanta” was one of those shows that was predicted to catch on. Did that scare you? Did that encourage you? And then as it became accepted, how did that encourage you?

I always when I heard that kind of stuff, it was just my instinct was to pull back. I guess my instinct is always to under-promise over-deliver. I think the last lens that we have as artist is people’s expectations we’ve done so many things there’s been so many great things already made you know that it’s important to just think about how it’s getting to people, whether it’s through their phones or how they’re hearing about it. My instinct was just kind of pull back. I suppose I was really excited.

I’ve been trying to make the show for a long time. I only cared about what people in Atlanta act like I was like if I can’t walk through a lens like you can name a show “Detroit” and then have Detroit people hate it you know so I really was just only caring about if my parents thought it was cool, my cousins thought it was cool, everybody who lived in Atlanta. If I could go to a Chick-fil-A and have people be like, “Have you seen that Donald Glover show?”

Can you talk about your shout-out to Migos?

I think they’re the Beatles of this generation and they don’t get a lot of respect outside of like Atlanta. Not that they don’t get a lot of respect, but it’s like there’s a generation—sort of like the YouTube generation—there’s a generation of kids that are growing up on something that’s completely separate from a whole group of people. And honestly, that song is just fly—like it there’s no better song to have sex to.

How are you preparing for the role of being the young Lando Calrissian?

Not getting to eat anything enjoyable for the rest of my life. Lando’s a big deal to me. It was just literally the first toy I ever got. It’s interesting when you have something that’s kind of iconic in a range where like people pay attention to it, it’s hard because you want to live up to their expectations but all you really do is live up to your own.

“Star Wars” is really high. I know the directors Chris [Miller] and Phil [Lord] they’re amazing. I love the guy playing Han [Solo]. Like it’s going to be a good time. Emily Clark. It’s going to be fun, so like I’m just getting ready to just have fun with those guys. That’s pretty much it.

You said you’ve been trying to make “Atlanta” for a long time. Did you have a struggle to explain your vision for the show and how you would tackle comedy in a different way than the sitcoms that we have become accustomed to?

I think the best things just can’t be explained … I just kind of Trojan-horsed it. I told FX it was something that it wasn’t, and I then hoped it would be enjoyable when it got there. Thank God like you know John Landgraf and the FX team and everybody was rooting for us and pushed for us.

I went home I guess like two years ago, a year-and-a-half ago after I did Bonnaroo … and my mom was clearing out my room and she handed my brother a box of just stuff. I’m just talking to my mom, and he pulls out this letter, and it was a letter I forgot I wrote that he that I sent to him from college. I was like, “Yo, I had this dream where we write a show together and we do this and we do that.”

So I guess it’s been in my head for a long time. Like I said on the stage before, I truly do believe in magic and dreams. We’ve kind of forgotten that, so I feel like that’s the kind of dreamy part of my show. It’s like you’ve got to believe in kind of human magic a little bit, if that made any sense at all.

What do you think we all can do to make a little bit more magic in the world make it a little bit better?

I think honestly right now we live in a time where things are very divisive. I think Meryl Streep was speaking on this a lot of where it’s like we all have a lot of responsibility. And I remember going to school because I wasn’t allowed to talk about magic and I wasn’t allowed.

I knew Santa Claus was fake, but I was around a lot of kids who didn’t know that, so you have that responsibility to keep that going and understand why you’re doing it because of joy. So I think human joy is super-important. It doesn’t come from computers. It just comes from belief.

Acting, making music all that stuff is believing in something that maybe someone older doesn’t truly believe that like when you see it in a child and makes you kind of believe it again, because we forget how innocent and beautiful we were. So I think it’s our responsibility to make magic again because I think a lot of the shit that’s happening now is bullshit.

 

Hugh Laurie backstage at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards

January 9, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards took place on January 8, 2017, at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.

HUGH LAURIE

Golden Globe win:

Best Supporting Actor in a Mini-Series or Television Film

(“The Night Manager”)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ilRq5mY7xRU

Here is what this Golden Globe winner said backstage in the Golden Globe Awards press room.

Hugh Laurie at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards
Hugh Laurie at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 8, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

What was your favorite part of working on “The Night Manager”?

[It’s] hard to pick out a favorite part. The whole damn thing was pretty much a dream for me, without wanting to get too maudlin about it. This was a story that I’d fallen in love with almost 25 years ago in the book was published —’93, I think it was published. In fact, it is the only time in my life I’ve ever tried to. I’m not a producer. I have no producing skills or knowledge but I actually tried to option the novel because I thought this has to be on the screen.

And 25 years ago, I rather arrogantly assumed that I would be playing the part that Tom Hiddleston plays, and then my hair fell out, and a number of other things happened, and I wound up being the villain. But I’ve just always believed that the story, the romance of the story, the nobility of the story was so overwhelming to me. Every moment that I was on set, every part of the process of making it was just such a thrill to me. It’s daunting because it mattered so much to me, but it was nonetheless through the whole thing from beginning to end

Who would you most want to work with?

I would honestly would work with Susanne Bier in an instant. I would follow her to the ends of the earth. “The Ends of the Earth” is probably the title of a cable show, now so obviously I have to read the scripts.  Whatever credit there is in this project was entirely hers.

She’s a Danish woman … what I mean is that she was entering a world a very male and very English kind of tribalism. And it would have been daunting for almost anybody, but  such is her intellect and her passion and her energy and her taste that she never wavered— not for one moment—and had control of it from beginning to end. And I would follow her wherever she leads me, I will go.

Is there a special joy in playing a bad guy and if so what is it?

Well, I suppose there is. I’ve always been a bit suspicious of that assumption. Bad people tend to be interesting because thank God they are rare.  Genuinely villainous people are aberrations; you don’t meet them every day. Psychopaths, essentially. And when you do meet them, obviously, a large part of the work is already done for you because they are inherently interesting simply because they’re rare, thank God.

A lot of actors say it’s much harder to make the guy that’s working in the bank interesting than the guy who’s going out committing terrible sins. But I honestly found so much of this story so many I would have played. I would have played the character of Jed if I were given the chance. I would have played any of these characters. I think it’s one of le Carré’s most consummate casts that he ever assembled in a novel—and that, by the way, is saying something because I could think of no better than John le Carré.

I’ve worshipped him pretty much since I could read, but this whole cast of characters, I found of them fascinating, found the character of Corcoran absolutely mesmerizing. I find Pine extraordinary. There’s something very strange and rootless, something sort of occasionally kind of sinister.

You’re looking at a lost soul and a lost soul who is capable of damaging himself and other people in the quest for whatever it is that will give his life meaning. I find them all absolutely fascinating. I can’t remember what your question was, and neither can you. Can we just call it a day?

Are you finding people in real life like your character?

Yes, they undoubtedly exist. The one peculiar thing from my point of view is that I’m not all. I was actually … legally prevented from researching those carriers. I identified a couple of likely candidates upon whom I could base the character, and I was told that under no circumstances could I talk to them because that would give them license to claim that I had to reduce their name in public, and they would then sue. And suing would be the best I could hope for or they might send the boys around.

That’s not to say even allowing for the media’s appetite for sort of gory details of misdeeds in all kinds of spheres, we have this week we seem to be whipping yourself into this frenzied belief that the world is coming to an end, and that there are villainies on the ascendancy. I don’t believe it. I think most people are kind and gentle and considerate and cooperative.

Unfortunately, villainous people, by their nature, have the power to punch above their weight. An unscrupulous person has the power by dint of their lack of scruples to do a huge amount of damage. Nonetheless, they’re rare. I do believe that, generally speaking, people are kind and generous and are getting—if anything—kinder and more generous as the centuries go by. I wasn’t around more than a century ago, I know, but I read a book.

 

Tracee Ellis Ross backstage at the 2017 Golden Globe Awards

January 9, 2017

by Carla Hay

The 74th annual Golden Globe Awards took place on January 8, 2017, at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California.

TRACEE ELLIS ROSS

Golden Globe win:

Best Actress in a Television Series – Comedy or Musical

(“Blackish”)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGWDbg9yGqM

Here is what this Golden Globe winner said backstage in the Golden Globe Awards press room.

Tracee Ellis Ross at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 8, 2017.
Tracee Ellis Ross at the 74th Annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, on January 8, 2017. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

BACKSTAGE INTERVIEW

How do you identify with your “Blackish” character?

In many ways, but in many ways I didn’t. I’m not a mother, I’m not a doctor, and I’m not married, but we’re so much alike. Bow Johnson, what I do identify with is that she’s a strong woman with a full life whose story is not told through her husband. And that really is something I identified with. She’s a woman with a big heart.

And one of the things that originally drew me to the character that I really loved she actually really loved her husband. And often, in comedies, a lot of the married comedy kind of thing that happens is that the husband and the wife don’t like each other, and that’s where the foil comes from, but love that this couple actually loved each other.

What’s your favorite memory from the “Blackish” production?

I don’t have children, but I love working with the four kids on the show. It’s been a really beautiful and fun journey watching them grow up. Marcus [Scribner] turned 17 yesterday, and watching them grow and sort of navigate this business has been a really fun experience. And we giggle and laugh at work all day long. We have a really good time. That’s probably my favorite part.

What did you think of the body of work that was considered for the nomination and helped win you this award?

Oh, I thought you meant the other women [nominees], because I was going to say I think they’re amazing … I feel really proud of the show in general. Our writers are exceptional, and every week I feel surprised by our scripts and the way that they very courageously tackle heavy subjects—and yet somehow the show is so funny.

And the way they write for my character is really interesting. As I said earlier, often as the wife character, your storyline is through your husband. And that’s not really the case on our show. And it makes it a really fun experience for me to kind of be challenged every week to find my way. There’s been a couple of favorite episodes this season.

You’ve been nominated for other awards and didn’t win. Is the reward the nomination or does winning even better?

It is the nomination, but winning is really sweet. You know, I’ve been doing this for quite a while. It’s not my first time at the rodeo even though it’s my first time at the Golden Globes, so one of the things I asked myself very early on in my career is, “What do award shows mean to me in the context of the work that I do?” And I would do it whether I was getting nominated for things or not, but I think one of the things that’s very special about being nominated and then most particularly about winning is that you actually get to thank the people that make it possible, because none of us do it alone.

It’s such a collaborative art television so the combination of ABC supporting our show and putting billboards up and making sure that people knew where to find us and then the writing that happens in our extraordinary crew and the cast are so many pieces and so winning and being able to stand on that stage and say those names and say those things and then also to have a platform to say things that are important to me in a larger way is what makes winning so special.

What was the first thing that went through your mind when you won, and how are you going to celebrate?

You mean tonight? I was like “Wait they said my name, right? This is so cool!” It was really cool and is really cool and like a special treat. And then I said my entire speech to Meryl Streep. I was looking right at her. And I was like, “Are we doing good? Great!” Yeah, I hope to party as much as possible, but I have a very big week of work, so I’ll be at work at seven in the morning.

What would you hope that young women, especially women of color, would see when they see you accept your award?

I think what I said is really what I mean. I feel like I  receive this award and hold this now I’m as a “inspired by” and “being a face for” as standing on that stage for women of color and colorful people. And I think that you know this nomination was really exciting to me, as was my Emmy nomination. I’m excited to see the industry look outside of where they usually look is very special to me and is very important, and I think it’s something we need to continue to do more of. I think it’s not since 1983 that a black woman has [won] in this category with Debbie Allen …

I think that our industry really can be at the forefront of making sure that the diversity of stories is told, and diversity does not just mean people of color. It’s all different ages and shapes and sizes, and all of it making sure that the stories that we tell and how we celebrate those stories actually represents the humanity that we all live in. So I hope that young women continue to be encouraged to be themselves—and not just young women—young men, all of us.

What does it mean to you to be the first black woman to win this award in this category in more than 30 years?

Holy moly, when you say it that way, I don’t know quite a process that! It means a lot. Goodness! I think my shoulders got a little heavier and I got a little taller all at the same time. I think that’s something I’m going have to ponder for the next couple days but I think it’s some of it is for me to ponder, and I think more of it is for our industry and all of us to ponder.

I think it’s something that we just need to do better at. I think the work is there, the stories are there, and I also feel really special to be in the category with Debbie Allen. I reposted her post because … it’s Debbie Allen, for God sakes! So yeah, very cool. It’s also cool to be a member of a family with two Golden Globe winners.

How does it feel to carve out a totally different path from your parents in show business?

Normal. It feels like it was sort of what I was raised to do, to be myself. I never felt like I was in my mother’s shadow. I know that always comes up when you have a very famous or prominent parent that people say things like that. “How does it feel to be in your parent’s shadow?”

I’ve actually always felt like I was in my mother’s embrace, and part of the way she raised me and all five of her kids is really to follow my heart and follow my dreams and do the hard work to get there. And so I feel like it’s actually kind of sweet and charming and wonderful to have a different experience and yet have so much that is the same as my mom. She’s been here, I had never been to the Globes so I got ask her what to expect.

Can you comment on some of the monologue jokes related to the incoming president?

I think I will let this moment be about my Golden Globe … I’m basking in the glow of this award.

In a few days, a lot of people think a white supremacist will be running this country. What do you suggest people do to change so this won’t happen in the future?

I will keep it focused on this moment and sort of answer that through this moment, which is that I think I’m continuing to tell our own stories and to stand up for what we believe in as individuals is very important.  And I think how I accepted my award tonight spoke to how I feel about all different kinds of stories being represented.

 

March Madness-inspired ‘Meow Madness’ kitten basketball TV special debuts on Hallmark Channel

January 7, 2017

Kittens in the inaugural "Meow Madness" TV special.
Kittens in the inaugural “Meow Madness” TV special. (Photo courtesy of Hallmark Channel)

The following is a press release from Hallmark Channel:

Hallmark Channel, the exclusive home of kitten  sports and the highly rated “Kitten Bowl” franchise , announces the network’s latest  pet-centric  programming  buzzer  beater , “Meow Madness ,” a Hallmark  Channel  Original  Special Event, will  premiere at 8 p.m. ET on April 3 , 2017.

“Meow Madness” features author and animal advocate  Beth  Stern as host and Peabody Award-winning  reporter  Mary  Carillo as commentator.  The  special will showcase adoptable kittens in the most competitive tournament the basketball world  has ever seen. Hallmark Channel  enjoys home court  advantage for the inaugural “Meow Madness” special as 100 adorable, adoptable “cat-letes” purr-fect an unstoppable zone defense while taking shots  from the “flea throw” zone as  each team claw s its way to “The Final Fur.”

“Meow Madness” is produced by 3 Ball Entertainment.  Executive Producers are Todd A.  Nelson, Ross Weintraub, DJ Nurre and Jeff Altrockm,  with Kathy Sutula serving as co-executive  producer.  3 Ball Entertainment credits include “Extreme Weight Loss” (ABC), “Bar Rescue” (Spike)  and “My Cat From Hell” (Animal Planet), among others.

Check out these “Meow Madness” videos:

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