The 22nd annual Screen Actors Guild Awards took place on Jan. 30, 2016, at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. Here is what this Screen Actors Guild Award winner said backstage in the Screen Actors Guild Awards press room.
Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Who has been your biggest advocate in your career?
There was a guy in Aptos Junior High School named James Pravettoni. And his first thing to me was he yelled out, “Let him alone! He knows what he’s doing.” And I thought, “Whatever causes that kind of comment, this is what I want to do.” It was the first time I ever acted.
Can you talk about any fan letter you’ve gotten since you’ve gotten this role in “Transparent” that you think about when you’re making the show?
Fan letters are a little bit general, but I’ve gotten letters where people have actually tell me how very important it is to their life and how it has helped them in their freedom and achieving their authenticity and through some very, very hard times. And tonight, in my speech, I especially wanted to reach out to the people who are not Maura Pfefferman and don’t shop in the mall and the people who are really scraping by to get their freedom and their medicine and their hormone shots and their surgeries. It’s not a red-carpet thing. It’s a people thing. Al Pacino said in “And Justice for All”: “They’re people.”
You’ve talked a lot about what “Transparent” means for inclusion. But what can you say about the entertainment aspect of the show?
Thing about this is that those who are not paying attention to streaming are missing out on a big thing, because the stories are being told, and the entertainment is being reformed. The story arc and the way characterization is being done and the whole thing is changing. The whole quotient of what it takes to entertain people.
I’m an actor, and I did reparatory theater, and I did eight shows a week. I opened the show on a Friday on Amazon, and on Saturday, people are emailing me telling me, “I’m finished. Where’s the next season.” Brave new world, and welcome to it.
Does someone in real life inspire Maura Pfefferman?
I have three great teachers: Zachary Drucker, Reese Ernst and Jenny Boylan. The breadcrumbs are in the script. I would say — and it sounds a little glib — I think playing Maura, I get to access more of Jeffrey Tambor than when I’m playing Jeffrey Tambor. That’s a big lesson for me — that I get to play more of me. And we’re still learning. We start our third season this Friday. So here we go.
What would you like to say to the next U.S. President?
I would say it’s a nation of very different people. And we need our authenticity, and we need to feel safe, and we need to feel free. Help us. Enable us. Engage us. Listen to us.
How do you think transgender people are affected when they travel?
The whole nature of everything has changed. Everyone has to change their vocabulary a little bit. Everybody has to wake up, from government to teachers to janitors in high school to TSA people. Non-education is no longer an alibi. We have to be educated.
For more info: Screen Actors Guild Awards website
RELATED LINKS ON byteclay.com:
Screen Actors Guild Award interviews