With the 2014 Emmy Awards just days away, several nominees have opened up to Backstage ahead of the ceremony to discuss their roles in such diverse programs as American Horror Story, Modern Family, The Normal Heart, and Orange Is the New Black. Even though the programs are focused on different themes and ideas, the actors still face similar challenges of bringing their characters to life — and all of them will have walk the same red carpet come Monday, Aug. 25.
Alfred Molina, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Joe Mantello, Laverne Cox, Matt Bomer, Natasha Lyonne, and Sarah Paulson share the truth about being nominated and life on the small screen.
Jesse Tyler Ferguson knows about your frustration with Modern Family being nominated and winning all the time:
I remember years ago, before I had a footprint in the industry, watching the Emmy Awards and getting annoyed when shows would win over and over again. I do feel like if we happen to win again this year—and I think it’s honestly unlikely this year—but should we win again I feel like there will be a collective groan in the audience. And you go up there with your tail between your legs to accept this prize that no one in the room wants you to have. [But] I think we’ve won every year because our show is very good. I don’t think we’re lucky. I think we’ve had one of our strongest seasons, and if we’re lucky enough to win this year I would hold up my head.
Sarah Paulson is just in the dark as the fans when it comes to her characters on American Horror Story — but that’s okay:
You could only make the choices you can with the information you have. I can only play the truth of the scene with what I had learned about Cordelia over the course of the shooting. I just sort of feel the beauty in not knowing because you can never wink at the audience at all. And they can’t see it coming from you because you didn’t know. If I had known at the beginning of Season 2 that Lana would be the last man standing, I probably would have played the whole thing differently. And it wouldn’t have been as right. So I think it’s helpful that the writers don’t know, or they’re not telling us.
Matt Bomer reveals that he and Mark Ruffalo turned their shared fear into a bond:
We found comfort in each other and we both knew we had done a lot of work and we just trusted that. Immediately after that first day, after we expressed that fear, I just started to feel more and more comfortable, and by the end of that first take we thought this could really be a profound experience.
Laverne Cox admits there is still much to learn as an actor:
There’s what we do as actors and then there’s the show-biz part. Acting is all about humanity and telling the truth, yet so much of what we see on TV isn’t necessarily that, so it’s interesting to hear something [like ‘OITNB’] is ‘shockingly refreshing’ when it’s just truthful. It’s what we’re here for [as actors].
Alfred Molina is betting on his co-stars:
My money’s not on me—my money’s on Matt or Joe. I was talking about this with my daughter; She asked me, ‘Are you excited?’ I’m absolutely thrilled, but I don’t think for a minute I’m going to win. It’s just nice to have that recognition. People say, ‘I’m just glad to be nominated,’ and it always sounds like bullshit—excuse my French—but I get it now. I’m thrilled and delighted, but I’m no fool.
Natasha Lyonne didn’t even know she was being considered:
I thought that I was not submitted. I’m only now just becoming hip to how this inside baseball works. But I think I assumed they were going for other people, that the show does it. Certainly I never had any conversations about, “Oh, you’re a guest actress, you’re a supporting actress.”
Joe Mantello would like you to reconsider his role in The Normal Heart:
This is so strange because I’m not really an actor!
Go to Backstage for additional for complete interviews and additional Emmy coverage.