Holland Taylor Interview: ‘Hollywood’
Holland Taylor had a ball playing in the world of Netflix’s “Hollywood” as a veteran of Hollywood herself. The Emmy-winning actress plays Ellen Kincaid in the limited series, a movie studio executive with, as producer Ryan Murphy told her before she agreed to the part, a certain level of moxie. “She tries to figure out how to make things happen,” Taylor says in an exclusive new interview with Gold Derby. “It’s a very positive approach towards life and she’s very canny. Yes, she is vulnerable but she also is tough in the sense of resilience.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
Having grown up in the ’40s, when “Hollywood” takes place, Taylor has a special fondness for the era and felt comfort in embodying an empowered woman of that era, aided by the period-specific costumes and hairstyles. As Taylor explains, women like Ellen had “a certain composure and a certain graciousness and a certain sincerity, a real person not a posing kind of person.” There is a positive energy to Ellen, who is driven by a benevolent sense of wanting to manage things the right way, to get the right actors and to get them to make the right choices. This in part is why Taylor hails the role of Ellen Kincaid as “truly one of the most favorite characters I’ve ever played,” over her 40+ years in show business.
One of Taylor’s most memorable scenes of the season, which the actress can still remember the feeling of to this day, is when Ellen confesses her love to her best friend and work partner, Dick (Joe Mantello), looking to take their relationship to the next level. “The delicacy of that scene, Joe and I were quite nervous about it,” Taylor recalls. “We weren’t sure it was in the writing and we weren’t sure, ‘Wait a moment, at this point what has happened? The next understanding at this point is this?'” But Mantello quickly assured himself and Taylor that they had been playing their roles for long enough up to that point that they could just trust their own instincts. Taylor admits this one scene, which happens in Episode 5, was “one of the more wonderful acting experiences I’ve ever had,” especially to have it be such a sensitive scene between two mature adults that is so rarely seen on American television.
Taylor is also very positive on the approach to “Hollywood” of revising history and presenting a more hopeful idea of how the movie industry could have been. “I think these stories serve their purpose,” she offers. “I would imagine that right-thinking people seeing a fantasy of how something could have been would then be even more encouraged to follow their wish for what society would be and to do whatever they could do to help it along in that way.”