With the 2022 Emmy Awards nominations set to be announced in July, The Hollywood Reporter is getting the jump with a new roundtable featuring some of TV’s top drama actresses.
Sandra Oh, Rosario Dawson, Christina Ricci, Jung Ho-Yeon, Emmy Rossum and Lily James all sat down for a conversation about their work, their respective shows and the TV landscape at large.
Talking about the fan reaction to her character Misty from the hit show “Yellowjackets”, Ricci says, “I was like, this is what this woman’s been putting up with her entire life.”
She continues, “You see a woman that’s that dismissible because she has no social currency, she’s not hot, she’s not powerful, and then I’m really little and I’m wearing pastel, kitten things and dorky glasses, and people’s natural reaction is to give that person a hard time. It was amazing because I’ve never been on a set where people felt so free to give me a hard time.”
Rossum, meanwhile, recalls the reaction she got when she went to a key pitch meeting for her new show “Angelyne” dressed in full costume as the extravagant title character.
“I walked across the Universal lot in everything. And this character, she’s a living, breathing piece of art, and I’m somebody who does not covet that attention as I walk down the street,” she says. “I saw the way people on the lot looked at me, and it was the first time I understood the power of being in an ultra-curated, hyper-feminine body.”
She adds of meeting the real Angelyne, “her first words to me were, ‘So, why do you have such a hard-on to play me?’”
The women also share some of the very questionable direction they’ve been given by directors in both TV and film.
“I’ve … sussed out that relationship with the director or the showrunner, and you figure out who is that visionary that can collaborate with you and sometimes people won’t,” Dawson says. “I’ve definitely been with people whose direction is, like, ‘Can you just move your head like Rosie Perez, or do only Black people do that?’ And I’m like, ‘Did you just say that?’”
Ricci chimes in, “Or, ‘your eyes are already a little crazy, just make them less crazy for this one.”
“It’s like, ‘You’re a terrible person and a terrible communicator, but you’re at the helm of this project?’ We’re in danger,” Dawson adds.
For Oh, getting to play a character with a Korean name in “The Chair” was a new experience, which she cherished.
“The character’s name is Ji-Yoon Kim … so, every single person in that cast has to call me Ji-Yoon, has to learn it, has to go through it, will say it wrong, and that’s OK, let’s keep on trying to get it right and I will help you with that,” she says. “It’s also part of our job [pantomimes carrying something heavy on her back]. But it’s about getting to the point of normalizing it and, at the point where ‘The Chair’ comes, it’s been, like, 25 years of someone working to try to get a character whose name is actually Korean.”
James opens up about what it was like playing Pamela Anderson in “Pam & Tommy” without getting to meet Anderson herself.
“I really, truly believed she would be involved, and once [I recognized that she] wasn’t, I battled a lot with everything about the show, from the challenge as an actor to what I was trying to say and my reasons, personally, for why I wanted to explore the things within it,” she says. “It felt deeply personal, and I think that’s why I became fiercely protective. There were a lot of things I actually changed, moments of the show, because it starts off more salacious, but I never wanted it to be like we were taking advantage or [just showing a] lot of sex. And I wasn’t a producer, but I was listened to — and it made me realize I always want to be a producer.”