Dylan McDermott is back in the Emmy race for the first time in over two decades. The actor was last nominated in 1999 as Best Drama Actor for his role as Bobby Donnell on “The Practice,” for which he also earned a Golden Globe. This year, McDermott is nominated as Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor for playing Ernie, a charismatic gas station owner and pimp in Netflix’s limited series “Hollywood.” In our recent webchat (watch above) before Emmy nominations were announced, McDermott spoke about his love for the character of Ernie and how the role is a sign of his growth as an actor since his last Emmy experience.
The role is a dramatic departure for McDermott, something the actor says has been a long time coming: “I made a decision to make a comic pivot in my career. I just let myself be my funny, weird self and Ernie was certainly a part of that.” He wanted the role of Ernie to be multifaceted, something that would allow him to show more of what the actor was capable of. “I wanted him to be funny,” he declares. “I wanted him to be tragic. I wanted him to be elegant. I wanted him to be a bit of a thug. I wanted him to be an actor, a producer, a showman.”
McDermott says that he could see his growth as an actor reflected in reuniting with his Emmy-winning costar from “The Practice,” Holland Taylor. “It’s great to work with the same people because you get to mark the way you have changed and I could see my growth as an actor all that time away from ‘The Practice,'” he explains. “I can see my change as an actor and how I’ve deepened and gotten better, ‘cause there’s no there there with being an actor. You never arrive.”
McDermott believes that “Hollywood” is perfect in a time when audiences “need” to be entertained. “I think that Hollywood, funny enough, it really is the dream factory,” he exclaims. “It started off as the dream factory and I think that this show will let you just forget for a moment.” When it comes to understanding the impact of pop culture, McDermott believes that nobody is better than the show’s co-creator and executive producer Ryan Murphy. “He just understands pop culture in a way that nobody else does and he’s able to translate that. He has these ideas that he’s able to put on film and that’s why I love working with him.”
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