Thursday, June 14, 2012

Leading TV Actors Ponder Their Craft & Professional Embarrassments

Reporters from The Hollywood Reporter sat down with two groups of leading dramatic TV actors who were surprisingly willing to talk frankly and openly about their work, the challenges of their craft and their own foibles, sometimes in gruesome detail.

Representing the female actors were The Good Wife's Julianna Margulies, Homeland's Claire Danes, The Closer's Kyra Sedgwick, The Killing's Mireille Enos, Mad Men's January Jones and Shameless' Emmy Rossum. Their male counterparts included Mad Men's Jon Hamm, Homeland's Damian Lewis, Parenthood's Peter Krause, Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston, Touch's Kiefer Sutherland and Boss' Kelsey Grammer.

I found it curious that the tone of the round-table discussions between the women versus the men was starkly different. Whereas the men seemed to be jovially trying to one-up each other with gross and embarrassing tales while they munched on snacks (like cubes of cheese), the women were deferential to one another and had flowers instead of food on the table in front of them. (The men are allowed to eat but the women weren't?)

My favorite parts of the discussions:

  • January Jones said that people she sees on the street give her grief for Betty Draper's bad parenting.
  • Jones said appearing as "fat Betty" during the fifth season of Mad Men was a pain in the neck due to all the prosthetics she had to wear.
  • Peter Krause admitted to once suffering from sudden gastrointestinal problems while acting on stage in a play.
  • The Good Wife, Julianna Margulies, struggles with being the "good girl" on her show's set even when she doesn't think she needs to be there all the time, particularly for scenes where she has no lines. Her quote seemed very Katherine Heigl to me, almost a cry for help: "There are days when . . . I had worked until midnight and then I had to go and shoot something else at five in the morning. I looked at my husband and I was like, 'This is why Judy Garland was on pills. I can't keep this up. I need a pill!'"
  • Jon Hamm was once told he'd never make it as a TV star.
  • Damian Lewis related an anecdote about getting injured on stage -- sustaining a wound that required multiple stitches -- during a sword fight with Ralph Fiennes yet he continued to act as he bled profusely from the face.
 I completely concur with a person who posted a comment on YouTube after the interview with the panel of women who said that this was a fascinatingly interesting discussion, a model for what these types of discussions should be, as opposed to the vacuous fluff that passes for interviews these days.

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