Emmy Magazine Features

When he read The Good Lord Bird, Ethan Hawke felt the pull of history, and it led him to his starring role as abolitionist John Brown. “A large portion of this country doesn’t want to talk about the Civil War being about slavery,” Hawke says. But “with love and wit,” the Showtime series takes up this “serious American conversation” about life and liberty.

The magnetic, empathetic S. Epatha Merkerson forms bonds and finds laughs on every set, all the while impressing with her true-to-the-core performances. No wonder Dick Wolf has kept her on the call sheet for more than 20 years.

Black women are the force behind A Black Lady Sketch Show, Robin Thede’s answer to the white- male-dominated world of sketch TV.

How does a series about the roots of evil engender so much goodwill? Ask Tom Ellis of Netflix’s Lucifer, now starting season five. “Even though it’s about the Devil, our show has a really good message,” he says. “It’s about people taking responsibility for their actions and trying to accept everyone around them.”

Thank goodness, The Boys will soon return to save the world from superpowered scoundrels. In the meantime, cast members — on three continents — break through their screens (or so it seems) for emmy’s interactive photo shoot.

The interests of Chloë Sevigny guide her “to more artistic things,” says director Jim Jarmusch. So it’s not surprising that a desire to work with director Luca Guadagnino led her to HBO’s We Are Who We Are.

In the time of Covid, what more could we want to hear from our lab-coated healers than “How can I help?” On NBC’s New Amsterdam, the devoted doctors say that — and mean it. And though the creators never conceived of the coronavirus when the series debuted, they now find themselves with one of the most relevant shows around.

“If she can do this, she can do anything !” So said a prominent producer when she saw Amanda Peet in IFC’s Brockmire — and then cast her as the lead in Dirty John: The Betty Broderick Story.

Janelle Monáe assumes the lead in Homecoming as a woman desperate to know her own name. During production she stayed in character (“I want that spirit to always show up”)and even quarantine couldn’t keep her from continuous creating.

Jeff Goldblum is interested in everything, and in his new series he goes where his inquiring mind takes him.

As a wee boy in Wales, Matthew Rhys was already working on his American accent when he and his pals played The A-Team. Some three decades on, that accent perfected, he awed audiences in The Americans as a Russian spy in deep cover. Now, in HBO’s new Perry Mason, he returns to TV with the origin story of the dogged defense lawyer, a staple of U.S. pop culture for almost a century.

Signing on to a multi-year series post Hamilton "felt like a huge decision,” says the busy Daveed Diggs, though ultimately the right one.

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