“It was so out-of-the-blue,” admits Lou Diamond Phillips as we chat via webcam (watch above) about his recent Emmy nomination for “Crossroads of History.” Created and written by Elizabeth Shapiro, this scripted History Channel series takes a comedic look at little-known moments that helped shaped the world in which we live. Phillips is nominated for playing a Taino chief in an episode that recreates Christopher Columbus’ fateful meeting, which happened purely by accident, with the now-extinct native tribe.
Phillips contends in the new Emmy Awards category Best Short Form Comedy or Drama Series Actor. His rival nominees are co-star Oscar Nunez, “Childrens Hospital” funny men Rob Corddry and Ron Huebel, and past Emmy nominee Jack McBrayer (“Your Pretty Face is Going to Hell”).
“It’s not revisionist history,” declares Phillips about the premise of this acclaimed new series. “It’s revising our perspective of history, and indeed, it is a crossroads.” The actor, who earned a Golden Globe nomination for his supporting role in “Stand and Deliver” (1988) and a Tony nomination for playing the King in “The King and I” (1996), reveals he leapt at “the opportunity to go back and kind of give a much bigger and more accurate view of history.”
And, he says, he was eager to do something a little lighter than what he’s best-known for, although he still approached the material very seriously. “Comedy sometimes can be very loose and improvisational,” he explains. “We stuck to the script because it was so well written, and approached it as if we were doing a drama. We basically let the comedy speak for itself.”
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