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How ‘Succession,’ ‘Hacks,’ and More Made Room for Veteran Supporting Actresses to Land Their First Emmy Noms

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The moment Sheryl Lee Ralph found out that her standout role on “Abbott Elementary” had landed her an Emmy nom was immediately immortalized for all the internet to see. On vacation with her family in Jamaica, Ralph gasped into her phone as her son filmed her shock and awe unfolding in real time. The second she confirmed the nomination, they both burst into joyful yelps, thrilled beyond the parameters of coherence. The video went viral almost as soon as her son posted it on Twitter as Ralph’s fans rushed to celebrate alongside her. After decades of turning in worthy performances, Ralph has finally — incredibly — just received her first Emmy nomination.

“It’s just the best feeling,” Ralph says now. “Recognition for your female actors of a certain age and what you do is always a wonderful thing, [whether] from your peers, from your friends, from your family or from people you didn’t even know knew and loved you.”

Ralph isn’t the only veteran performer receiving her first nomination from the Television Academy this year. From Ralph, to Jennifer Coolidge (“The White Lotus”), to Sanaa Lathan (“Succession”), 2022’s guest and supporting actress honorees include women who have long been standouts to the point that it’s a genuine shock to realize that they’d never been nominated for an Emmy before. Take Harriet Sansom Harris, whose unforgettable takes on roles including the “Desperate Housewives” snoop Felicia Tilman and Frasier Crane’s acidic agent, Bebe, have made her one of TV’s most familiar faces.

“She always has a mad glint in her eye,” says Jeanne McCarthy, casting director for “Hacks” with Nicole Abellera. “She’s one of those people that you always know is going to bring something delicious and unexpected to a party.”

Still, it took Harris’ guest turn on Emmy favorite “Hacks” as a retired stand-up comedian — alongside fellow “Frasier” alums Jean Smart and Jane Adams, no less — for the Academy to finally name Harris’ sharp performance as one of the year’s best.

“I’m glad it was for something that I really enjoyed and that I was proud of. I believed in the story,” says Harris of receiving the honor.

Asked why her “Hacks” character might have resonated with voters more than others, she has an equally reflective and logical answer. “People loved the show. You can be great on a show nobody’s watching and think, ‘Was I not good? I thought I was good!’ But people have to be watching the show. Then something kind of magical can happen, where the interests align and people have it in their lens.”

That point resonates with “Succession” star J. Smith-Cameron, whose nom for supporting actress in a drama also marks her first. As Gerri, a calculating businesswoman whose unlikely partnership with Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) makes for some of the show’s most memorable scenes, Smith-Cameron seized the opportunity to make the most of a series at the height of its cultural powers.

“People get a kick out of this character, and I think that’s a big part of it. It has to strike a chord.” As Gerri’s part in “Succession’s” ongoing power plays has grown, so too has the lore behind Smith-Cameron’s initial casting. Though Gerri was originally written as the anonymous male suit Jerry, Season 1 casting director Douglas Aibel thought of Smith-Cameron instead, and the rest is history. From there, she became determined to establish herself as someone eminently capable of balancing the show’s unique blend of comedy and tragedy. Imbuing Gerri with arch wit, Smith-Cameron quickly made herself indispensable, leapfrogging over what would’ve otherwise been a guest star nomination in Season 1 to the supporting category for Season 3.

That philosophy has extended throughout the series’ run, according to current casting director Avy Kaufman. For Season 4, which is shooting now, Kaufman says with a laugh that she’s casting a part that “can go in every direction possible.” Unlike “Hacks,” which tends to call for a very specific brand of actor for each of its roles, “Succession” leaves its possibilities more open to the idea of casting someone seemingly outside the box.

“It would be very easy if it were like, ‘45 years old, red hair, has a funny laugh,’” says Kaufman of the process. “But you just try to be as clever as you can to follow the writing.

In so doing, she’s cast everyone from Lathan, to Emmy nominee Hope Davis, to Season 2 standouts and (yes, Emmy nominees) Holly Hunter and Cherry Jones. Still, as Smith-Cameron looks over some of the names of women enjoying their first nominations this year, she wonders how she and Harris — an actor she’s long known through their years in the New York theater scene — have never worked together.

“I feel like we’d be up for the same part,” she hypothesizes about why their paths have so far failed to cross. “At this point, we’d have to be in a production of ‘Arsenic and Old Lace,’ you know? Something with two parts for women ‘of an age.’”

She’s not wrong. In browsing through the surprising list of first-time nominees in 2022’s actress categories, an undeniable theme emerges.

“It really is often the case that by the time you hit a certain age, especially as a woman, you can only be like a mother or a side character — if you even get work at all,” McCarthy acknowledges.

With shows including “Hacks,” which so specifically tells the stories of women whom Hollywood would prefer to ignore, more actors such as Harris, Adams, Laurie Metcalf and even Smart can not only co-exist, but also flesh out completely different kinds of characters. With more roles available to women beyond television’s typical parameters come more occasions to highlight performers including Harris, Smith-Cameron, Coolidge and Ralph — who might otherwise be competing for a single part. They can bring substantial depth to whatever their roles require no matter the genre.

“There seems to be an opening up of what constitutes an interesting story to tell,” McCarthy says. What’s more, “actors in their 60s are sublime. They’ve been honing their craft for decades.”

For Smith-Cameron, getting the chance to make Gerri her own, on a show that has viewers as excited to watch it as she is to bring it to life, is exactly the kind of challenge she’s always wanted as an actor. That her work has also resulted in an Emmy nom — alongside enough colleagues that “Succession” broke the acting nomination record previously held by “The West Wing” — is an especially sweet bonus.

“It’s like catching a wave,” she says, “and if you catch the right wave, you might get all the way to shore.”

Carole Horst contributed to this report.



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Jason Momoa Gets Brutally Honest About Conan The Barbarian Remake

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Jason Momoa gets brutally honest about his Conan the Barbarian remake, praising his experience but feeling it was turned into a “big pile of s–t.”

While audiences have largely moved on from the project, Jason Momoa is getting brutally honest about his Conan the Barbarian remake. Robert E. Howard’s iconic titular character was first brought to life on the big screen with Arnold Schwarzenegger’s 1982 film of the same name, which saw his Conan on a quest for vengeance for the death of his parents at the hands of snake cult leader Thulsa Doom. Though met with mixed reviews from critics and audiences alike upon its release, Schwarzenegger’s Conan the Barbarian was a box office success and became a cult favorite, spawning the sequel Conan the Destroyer, which scored poor reviews and underperformed at the box office, leading to a threequel dying in development hell.

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Warner Bros. later acquired the rights to the Conan the Barbarian character and spent years attempting to develop a remake, only for Nu Image/Millennium Films to later acquire the rights and partner with Lionsgate to produce it. Having endured a variety of directors and writers coming and going on the project, the Conan the Barbarian remake began moving forward with Marcus Nispel in the director’s chair and Jason Momoa attached for the titular role. Hitting theaters in mid-2011, Momoa’s Conan the Barbarian debuted to mostly negative reviews from critics and audiences alike and was a box office bomb, scrapping plans for a follow-up and now one of the stars at the center of the project is getting honest about the film.


In a recent cover feature with GQ, Jason Momoa reflected on some of his lesser-received films from early in his acting career. Momoa specifically looked towards his time on the Conan the Barbarian remake, praising his experiencing filming it but criticizing how it was changed in the editing process. See what Momoa said below:

“I’ve been a part of a lot of things that really sucked, and movies where it’s out of your hands. Conan [the Barbarian] was one of them. It’s one of the best experiences I had and it [was] taken over and turned into a big pile of shit.”

As is the case for a variety of other remakes in Hollywood, Momoa’s Conan the Barbarian endured a variety of troubles in its development, with the likes of The Matrix duo The Wachowskis, Schwarzenegger’s first Conan director John Milius, Robert Rodriguez and Brett Ratner all having been in various points of negotiations to helm the project. With it having been one of his first major film roles after breakout TV roles in Baywatch and Stargate: Atlantis, Momoa memorably underwent rigorous training in order to effectively portray Conan, enrolling in a six-week training program at a stunt and martial arts academy before even finishing negotiations to star in the film. Momoa also turned to future John Wick directors Chad Stahelski and David Leitch to help him build 10 pounds of muscle for his role in the Conan the Barbarian remake.


As he notes, Momoa’s Conan the Barbarian was largely dismissed by critics and audiences alike upon its release, namely for its poor script, characters and performances, though Momoa himself did ultimately receive some positive reception for his work in the film. Luckily for him and action genre fans, Momoa would go on to better make a name for himself on both the big and small screens with everything from Game of Thrones to Aquaman. While audiences await the latter character’s return in Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom in March, they can revisit Momoa’s Conan the Barbarian streaming on HBO Max now.


Source: GQ

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Jennette McCurdy Opens Up About Friendship With Miranda Cosgrove and Why She’s Not in the ‘iCarly’ Reboot

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Jennette McCurdy is opening up about her friendship with Miranda Cosgrove. In her new memoir, I’m Glad My Mom Died, the 30-year-old former actress reveals her first impression of her iCarly co-star and shares why she didn’t sign on to be a part of its recent reboot. The show ran for six seasons, which aired between 2007 and 2012.

After landing the role of Sam Puckett when she was 14, McCurdy was “fascinated” to learn of Cosgrove’s “independence,” something McCurdy wasn’t accustomed to, given her abusive relationship with her now-late mom.

“She walked alone to pick up food from a different nearby restaurant each day — alone! What’s that like? Then I’d always hear when she came walking back into the studio because she’d be playing Gwen Stefani or Avril Lavigne from her Sidekick. I knew of these artists, but Mom didn’t allow me to listen to them because she said their music might make me wanna ‘do bad things,'” McCurdy, who grew up Mormon, writes of Cosgrove. “On set, Miranda said cuss words like ‘s**t’ and ‘a**,’ and she took the Lord’s name in vain at least fifty times a day. Mom warned me not to get too close to Miranda because she doesn’t believe in God.”

The then-teens quickly developed a friendship, mostly through AIM.

“Miranda and I spent hours talking every day on it,” McCurdy recalls. “… Even though in person Miranda seemed shy and quiet, she had a distinct and hilarious personality through her written words. So many of the things she said made me laugh. Her way of observing things — people, habits, human nature. I loved her. And I was so excited we were becoming friends.”

As iCarly‘s success continued, so too did McCurdy and Cosgrove’s friendship.

“My friendship with Miranda has been a source of camaraderie and emotional support,” McCurdy writes. “I’m friends with the rest of the cast too, but my connection with Miranda is different and special. We Skype on the weekends and see movies at ArcLight after work.”

When iCarly came to an end, McCurdy worried that it’d mark the end of her friendship with Cosgrove too. That fear really came into focus when the women shot their final scene together through tears.

“The reason I’m crying is that I don’t know what will become of my friendship with Miranda. We’ve gotten so close. Like sisters, but without the passive-aggression and weird tensions,” McCurdy writes. “I have my judgments around female friendships being catty and petty and backstabby, but that couldn’t be further from the truth with Miranda. With Miranda, it’s always been so easy. Our friendship is pure.”

McCurdy soon realized, however, that her fears were unfounded.

“There was no need to worry about context; our friendship has gotten stronger since iCarly ended,” she writes. “We hang out three or four times a week. Usually one of the nights is a sleepover.”

In fact, their bond remained so close that McCurdy eventually opened up to Cosgrove about her struggles with anorexia and bulimia. 

“Miranda’s been very supportive. I appreciate her support but it’s also difficult at times,” McCurdy writes. “Before Miranda knew about this stuff, when bulimia was my secret, I could get through the ups and downs on my own. I was the only person I had to be accountable to, the only person I would disappoint. But now that she’s in on the secret, I can tell she’s hyperaware of my eating tendencies. She’s constantly observing. I’m not just disappointing myself with my slips, but her too.”

As close as the women once were, though, they did start to “drift apart” as they entered their late 20s.

“At the beginning of the decade, the people I was close to seemed like friends for life, people I could never imagine not seeing every day. But life happens. Love happens. Loss happens,” McCurdy writes. “Change and growth happen at different paces for different people, and sometimes the paces just don’t line up. It’s devastating if I think too much about it, so I usually don’t.”

That change in their dynamic came around the same time that an iCarly reboot was in the works. Cosgrove wanted McCurdy to jump on board, but the latter actress had expressed embarrassment about her time on the series.

On a phone call, McCurdy insisted, “Miranda, I’m not doing the reboot. There’s nothing you can say to convince me.” 

“She tells me she thinks the reboot could be an opportunity for all of us in the cast to ‘get back out there,’ maybe get some other opportunities from it,” McCurdy recalls of Cosgrove.

When that tactic didn’t work, Cosgrove reminded McCurdy that “it’s really good money.”

“But there are things more important than money. And my mental health and happiness fall under that category,'” McCurdy recalls telling her. “There’s a moment of silence. It’s one of those rare moments where I feel like I didn’t say too much, or too little. I feel like I represented myself accurately and there’s nothing I would change about the way I said it. I feel proud. We wrap up our conversation, promising to keep in touch, and hang up.”

When ET spoke to Cosgrove last year, she reacted to McCurdy’s decision not to reprise her role in the reboot.

“We all really wanted Jennette to be a part of the show in real life, but she’s just doing other things and we’re really happy for her,” Cosgrove said at the time, adding that McCurdy would be welcomed onto the reboot “anytime.”

I’m Glad My Mom Died is out now.

ET, Nickelodeon and Paramount+ are all subsidiaries of Paramount.

 

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Apple Orders Dramedy Series ‘Land of Women’ Starring Eva Longoria, Carmen Maura

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Apple has ordered the limited dramedy series “Land of Women” with Eva Longoria and Carmen Maura set to star.

The six-episode series is based on the Sandra Barneda novel of the same name. Longoria will star as Gala, a New York empty nester whose life is turned upside down when her husband implicates the family in financial improprieties, and she is forced to flee the city alongside her aging mother (Maura) and college-age daughter.

To escape the dangerous criminals to whom Gala’s now vanished husband is indebted, the three women hide in the same charming wine town in Northern Spain that Gala’s mother fled 50 years ago, vowing never to return. The women seek to start anew and hope their identities will remain unknown, but gossip in the small town quickly spreads, unraveling their deepest family secrets and truths.

The series is currently in pre-production in Spain and will be shot in both English and Spanish and will be made available to view in both languages.

Ramón Campos and Gema R. Neira are adapting the book for the screen, with Campos also set to serve as showrunner. Longoria will also serve as an executive producer under her UnbeliEVAble Entertainment banner along with Ben Spector. Teresa Fernández-Valdés will also executive produce. Carlos Sedes will direct. Bambu Studios will produce the show for Apple.

This is the latest Spanish-language production for Apple. The streamer also has the thriller series “Now & Then,” “Acapulco” starring Eugenio Derbez, and the recently ordered “Midnight Family,” based on the documentary of the same name.



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