A TV star was violated by the public eye. A whistleblower with ulterior motives. An investor who wasn’t as revolutionary as she advertised. A shocking death becomes a sensational woman. Liar with a flair for drama. A young mother offers her daughter a domestic job at a time.
Even though the characters look completely different, two threads tie them together – they’re both based on or inspired by real women, and they’ve earned those who play them heroines in limited or anthology series Emmy nominee.
For the first time in more than a decade, each nominee in the category has played a character inspired (if not directly based on) a real person. The last time this happened was in 2009 when Jessica Lange won with HBO’s “Grey Gardens.”
Given the influx of fact-based contenders on this year’s ballots, it’s no surprise that this category scanned, a crowded field that ultimately didn’t have room for heavyweights including Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Viola Davis, and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Unlike nominated roles, so is why and how each actor brings them to life. type Go directly to the nominees and those who work closely with them to learn how they navigate the blurred line between fact and fiction.
Julia Garner” Inventing Anna”
No one would think twice if Anna Sorokin was mistaken for Shonda Rhimes’ fiction. The fact that she’s a real-life con man who swindled New York City’s elite out of money and dignity by impersonating a German heiress named Anna Delvey makes her a Remus based on her Netflix deal. The perfect theme for the first episode.
Like Anna, Garner’s undeniable charm and acerbic class superiority proved her ability to take on dubious challenges, making her a woman known for enigma. She also does it with a tone of voice that cannot be described simply by an accent. Rather, it’s an experience worth seeing — and a memory. Executive producer Betsy Beers noted, “She is, like Anna, a chameleon with an incredible ability to really be the character she’s playing.”
Colette plays Katherine Peterson,a North Carolina woman whose horrific death in 2001 sparked a media frenzy. Whether it’s news coverage or the now-famous 2004 documentary “The Staircase,” which closely follows her husband Michael (Colin Firth)’s trial and conviction for her murder, Katherine is often seen as a past tense. exist. Colette wanted to change that, using the victim’s memory to give the woman a voice.
“I definitely feel a responsibility to Katherine and her existing family,” Colette said. “It’s actually our job as actors to make everything as honest as possible. Whether the story is based on what happened or is fictional, the challenge is the same – to bring the truth.”
Creator Antonio Campos puts Catherine at the heart of the series through flashbacks, while Colette bravely plunges into recreating three brutal and tragic death scenarios – each testing the ramifications of what’s possible. theory. In this series, Kathleen is finally no longer just a name spoken on stage.
Sarah Paulson” Impeachment: An American Crime Story”
Paulson often quotes the valuable advice her “12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen gave her as she prepared to play a vindictive slave-owner woman: “You can’t judge this woman.”
She evoked those words again when she played Linda Tripp, one of the most judged women in American history. Whether it’s Tripp having Monica Lewinsky reveal her romance with President Bill Clinton, or Paulson’s previous Emmy-winning role in “The People v. OJ Simpson” as Marcia Clark , she said that to play a real person is to find her own motives and understand her own motives, without changing public opinion.
“Having a wonderful blueprint of the fact that you really get to know a person makes it easier for me to be free in some way because I have a real spine, and I know it’s the spine of irrevocable things,” she said.
The story of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes doesn’t need to be embellished for drama. The Silicon Valley prodigy went from god to disgrace in surprising ways, and Seyfried said it was a crime to change either.
“When you’re doing something based on factual events, you always have to be careful and let the weirdness of the true story speak for itself,” she said. “Truth is always, always, stranger than fiction, and if you put too much into something, it loses something.”
Inspired by her category’s fact-based performances, Seyfried says there’s a desire to tell the stories of women’s lived experiences, rather than men’s perceptions.
“I think women, regardless of their political affiliation, are tired of being discussed, legislated, imagined, lectured, and marketed by men who don’t want to listen or learn,” she added. “So, we’re seeing a lot of stories about what it’s actually like to be a woman in this world, in all our ways, in this world, rather than what a man thinks to be a woman in their very limited circumstances. What it’s like. The method.”
Qualley has the most unique delicate balance. “The Handmaid” was inspired by Stephanie Rand’s memoir “The Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive,” but the series follows a very different character whose experiences are similar to those of Rand. Alex Russell, a young woman out of an abusive relationship, takes a job as a maid to support her daughter; Qualley has to accept Land’s experience and chart her own course. Creator Molly Smith Metzler says it would be easier to simply bring in Rand’s compelling source material, but it’s not for the woman she or Qualley is trying to personify on screen. fair.
“Margaret and I had to make Alex her own, with poor decision-making skills, a gallows sense of humor and a tumultuous relationship with her family,” Metzler said. “Throughout our work in creating Alex and her arc, our goal was to honor the emotional spine that Stephanie is going through while making it our own.”
James’ transformation into the Pamela Anderson of the ’90s may be a compelling but ostensible recreation of a cultural moment of exploitation. Instead, she always sees it as a bigger opportunity than herself and has “strongly protected” it.
“It’s a women’s experience, and I knew the show was going to explore how this kind of abuse affects women,” she said. “I am blown away by how we are victimizing women. I am passionate about exploring this bravely and honestly. I have always felt a huge responsibility to capture the essence of Pamela Anderson while also showing a lot of myself .”
She also had to be careful not to lose herself in the responsibility of it all: “The tightrope exists in constantly feeling like the guardian of the person I’m playing while trying to just exist in the moment and respond.”