FX’s “Fosse/Verdon” had Emmy voters tapping their toes to the tune of 17 nominations, including Best Limited Series. Gold Derby recently spoke with several of the show’s contenders, including Best Movie/Mini Actress nominee Michelle Williams, Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress competitor Margaret Qualley, director Jessica Yu, writer-producers Steven Levenson and Joel Fields, production designer Alex DiGerlando, costume designer Melissa Toth, music supervisor Steven Gizicki and music director Alex Lacamoire, as well as star Susan Misner. Scroll down and click on any name below to be taken to their full interview.
A four-time Oscar nominee for her roles in “Brokeback Mountain” (2005), “Blue Valentine” (2010), “My Week with Marilyn” (2011) and “Manchester by the Sea” (2016), Williams earned her first Emmy bid this year for playing dancer Gwen Verdon, the wife and muse of director Bob Fosse (Sam Rockwell). Williams, who’s also a nominated producer on the series, declares “I had no idea how difficult it would be to do this show.” She adds, “You do so many scenes and can never give up. Every single moment of every single take and every single scene, you are just relentless and apply yourself over and over each time as if you’re just beginning.”
Qualley plays Ann Reinking, a Tony-winning actress and dancer who had a longtime personal and professional relationship with Fosse. Having grown up dancing, she had a unique insight into recreating some of Fosse’s groundbreaking choreography, and she worked with several performers who had learned from the legendary Broadway director. “If there was a dancer that had something off about them, he would highlight what was off about them and make it this beautiful, sexy, strange thing,” she explains. She also spent several hours on the phone with Reinking, who encouraged her to “call anytime.” Qualley can now be seen on the big screen in Quentin Tarantino‘s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
A documentarian who won an Oscar for 1996’s short “Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien,” Yu is nominated for the episode “Glory,” which chronicles Fosse’s emotional breakdown in the midst of his greatest success. “I was so excited when I got this script because I thought it was extraordinary, but it’s also a very internal, a very intimate story,” she reveals. “And then you have this sort of imaginative explosion at the end that kind of brings everything to a head.” Yu previously competed at the Emmys for the nonfiction film “In the Realms of the Unreal” (2004).
Levenson and Fields compete for writing the series finale “Providence,” and are also nominated as producers. In co-creating the show with director Thomas Kail (himself a nominee for directing), Levenson was interested in “finding a way to make these stories accessible and interesting, and to explore them in a way that would be meaningful to anyone.” Fields, a recent Emmy winner for co-writing the final episode of “The Americans,” wanted to “follow the characters through the story. Rather than letting the story leading the characters, it was always about letting the characters drive the story.”
Among the behind-the-scenes talent, Toth, Lacamoire and Gizicki are all celebrating their first Emmy nominations. DiGerlando previously competed for his work on “True Detective” in 2014.
We also talked to Misner, who has a small role as Broadway star Joan McCracken. Click on any name below to be taken to their full interview:
Michelle Williams, who plays Gwen Verdon
Margaret Qualley, who plays Ann Reinking
Jessica Yu, director
Steven Levenson and Joel Fields, writers-producers
Alex DiGerlando, production designer
Melissa Toth, costume designer
Steven Gizicki and Alex Lacamoire, music supervisor and music director
Susan Misner, who plays Joan McCracken
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