Sarah Paulson, Kirsten Dunst, Kerry Washington, Constance Zimmer, Regina King, Julianna Margulies, and, look who else, it’s Jennifer Lopez on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter Actresses Roundtable as we approach Emmy season. You’ll recall, I wrote last month about JLO campaigning for a nomination for her work in Shades Of Blue. And it looks like she’s getting into the conversation. All of these women are major players on television, all of them have a solid chance at it.
Not surprisingly, the focus of the discussion is on equality and opportunity in Hollywood. We open with Kerry talking about how it is at ShondaLand – men have to take their shirts off all the time, women can do their scenes in a parka. As Kerry describes it, “it's this weird, like, reparations moment where the girls get to do what they want to do and the guys get to do what they want to do, but they know what Shonda wants them to do”.
And then the revelation that Sarah Paulson – the GREAT Sarah Paulson – can’t get cast as a romantic lead in anything unless she’s blonde. But this is why I love her so much. Because later on, on the subject of Marcia Clark, who she plays in The People vs OJ Simpson, she reveals that she too did Marcia disservice:
“I was 19 when the whole thing happened, and I was decidedly self-interested, wanting to be an actress, and I was not focused on the case in the way that some people were and certainly not on changing my opinion or whatever the narrative about Marcia Clark was. I was letting myself believe what was being told to me by the media. I didn't question it. So now when I look back at it, I just wonder why people weren't rallying around her and why she didn't have a support system from other women saying, "Why are we talking about how short her skirt is and her bad hair?" She told me a story about how some of the court reporters would run after her with some concealer and say, "Just please put a little on." And she was like, "I do not care about that. There is a man I believe to be guilty, I would like to see justice done."
Several weeks ago, I wrote about my own shame with respect to Marcia Clark – click here for a refresher. F-ck us, all of us, for what we did to her. But, again, if we could all be redeemed by Sarah Paulson, right? No matter what her hair colour.
And then there’s Regina King, underappreciated for far too long, one of the most consistent black actresses at a time when there are too few successful black actresses, enjoying a major surge in her career and still has to be checked by her agents when she wants to say NO to multiyear deals.
“I've been working for quite some time, and I've been lucky enough and confident enough that I've been able to say: "I'm not signing any multiyear deals. We'll take it season by season." It worked out perfectly with The Leftovers and American Crime, and HBO and ABC both responded well, surprisingly. My agents were like, "You're sure you want us to go this route?"
So it’s an entire ecosystem that has to evolve, right? Not just producers and executives and investment assholes but the people who represent the talent too.
Click here to read the full article at THR.