THR Emmy Roundtable: 6 Drama Actresses on Death Threats, Post-Baby Auditions
This story first appeared in the June 7 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The only thing lacking in The Hollywood Reporter's kickoff Emmy Roundtable event held April 6 in Hollywood was, well, drama. The six women who gathered to talk on a sunny Saturday afternoon -- Connie Britton, 46 (ABC's Nashville), Anna Gunn, 44 (AMC's Breaking Bad), Kate Mara, 30 (Netflix's House of Cards), Elisabeth Moss, 30 (AMC's Mad Men, Sundance's Top of the Lake), Monica Potter, 41 (NBC's Parenthood), and Kerry Washington, 36 (ABC's Scandal) -- chatted with such relaxed candor about their lives and work, it was easy to forget they headline some of the most dramatic series on television. Between trading war stories about terrible jobs, wearing Spanx to auditions, their confusion over social media and one's utter love for Cheez Whiz, these ladies launched THR's Emmy Roundtable Series 2013.
The Hollywood Reporter: What was the worst job you had while trying to become an actress?
Monica Potter: I worked at a restaurant called Chi-Chi's -- for one day.
Kerry Washington: Did you get fired or did you leave?
Potter: I quit. That was in Cleveland, back in the day … but go ahead, I didn't mean to [interrupt]! Welcome to The Real Housewives. And no, I'm not Camille Grammer. Don't say it!
Elisabeth Moss: You're so not Camille!
Connie Britton: I worked at The Gap and discovered I am not a good folder. That was when I was really pounding the pavement in New York for acting work. I also did murder mystery dinner theater in the Poconos.
Potter: Now we're talking!
Anna Gunn: Oh, that's good.
Potter: I did a Mexican game show. It was called Nubeluz. I had to sing and dance. It was like You Can't Do That on Television, except the FCC wouldn't let us into Mexico because we were holding kids' heads underwater. So it was filmed in Lima, Peru.
Britton: Wow, how exotic!
Moss: I worked at the silent movie theater here in L.A., but that actually was kind of cool. Though, I didn't like cleaning the bathrooms as much. People are really messy in movie theaters. You'd expect it to be a respectful experience, not popcorn all over the floor, and Coke, and … sticky.
Kate Mara: That's not what's sticky. (Laughter.)
Washington: It wasn't one of my worst jobs, but I used to be a substitute teacher for New York City schools. It was great and hard, and I even did it after I started working in films. But I had to stop after I did Save the Last Dance because the students were like, "Chenille is substituting!"
Potter: So you're like really smart in real life, huh?
Washington: No, no.
Potter: You probably went to college too.
Washington: I did.
Potter: I'm going to college! My oldest is in college now, and I thought, "Wouldn't it be fun to go to school with him?"
Washington: Yeah, he's not having that.
Gunn: My worst job was in Chicago during the summer. I was a terrible waitress, a terrible temp, so the only job I could get that would let me off to audition was for a cleaning service called Merry Maids. We were doing cleanouts for apartments after leases were up in huge towers downtown. Humid, 110-degree weather, and the A/C was off. I thought, "I have to make this acting thing work or I'm going to be scrubbing toilets."
THR: What's the most surprising thing about being a working actress?
Mara: Maybe I'm just lucky, but I feel like people are generally nice and generous and not that dramatic.
Moss: Yeah, especially actresses. I think people expect us to be clawing at each other.
Potter: It's a sisterhood. But it's not all roses and daisies. Uh oh, I think I just quoted a Real Housewife. (Laughter.)
Gunn (To Britton): I remember seeing you at auditions years ago, and we struck up a friendship just from seeing each other in those rooms. It was nice to meet somebody that you could talk to and there wasn't the vibe of, "Oh, I can't talk to you because we're going in for the same job."
THR: Last year, January Jones told THR a story about her audition for Coyote Ugly during which Jerry Bruckheimer told her she was a terrible dancer. What's your worst audition?