Holland Taylor found the experience of playing studio executive Ellen Kincaid in Netflix’s “Hollywood” to be particularly meta. The actress, who just earned an Emmy nomination for her performance, was drawn to the idea of playing in the world she knows best. “I thought it would be fantastic to play a role about Hollywood in which I was a show business professional because I am a show business professional,” says Taylor in an exclusive interview with Gold Derby before the nominations, “and it would have that special meta experience, in a sense, playing the world that is your world.” Watch the exclusive interview above.
One fun aspect of the role is Ellen’s knack for knowing exactly what she wants out of actors. In the series, we see her teaching a young actor about some of the blossoming styles of acting in the 1940s, much more naturalistic than the theatrical norm. Taylor recalls being taught by the great acting coach Stella Adler, whose teachings she admits have remained with her to this day. “It was great fun to play because I know something about that and there was a sense of genuineness of it,” she adds.
Taylor is hopeful for how “Hollywood” can resonate with viewers, especially in these difficult times. The show presents an alternate history of a major studio taking a chance on a Black, gay screenwriter and a Black actress in the leading role in the ’40s. “Certainly this show, ‘Hollywood,’ was suggesting that society does progress, society does move forward,” observes Taylor. “What we can do to speed that rolling, what we can do to help that rolling forward, we should do it and have some courage to do it.” It was a relief for Taylor, who admittedly didn’t spend a lot of time assessing how the series would be received while filming it. “Some of that was created on its feet and he hit a real nerve, a positive one.”
She previously won an Emmy for her role on “The Practice” and now has her eighth career nomination.
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