On Sunday at the DGA Theater in Hollywood, Deadline’s annual The Contenders Emmys event went off without a hitch and attracted 24 networks and studios who were present to showcase 43 Emmy-worthy productions. The day-long event saw plenty of panel sessions full of interactive discussions featuring creators, actors, executive producers and was held before an invitation-only audience that was made up of Television Academy voters as well as PGA, SAG-AFTRA, WGAW and DGA members.
The Handmaid’s Tale, I love you, America, McMafia, Mr. Mercedes, Waco, One Strange Rock, Genius, LA to Vegas, Killing Eve, Mosaic and The Looming Tower were just some of the productions that took center-stage. And some of the biggest names from Hollywood were present onstage to talk about their respective productions including Darren Aronofsky, Catherine ZetaJones, Sharon Stone, Daniel Brühl, Antonio Banderas, Ron Howard, Zach Galifianakis, Dakota Fanning, Jason Bateman, Sandra Oh and Jeff Daniels.
Former Grey’s Anatomy star Sandra Oh, who is starring in BBC America’s intriguing Killing Eve as an MI5 security officer who is on the pursuit of a glamorous but psychotic female contract killer, spoke about how the drama explores the thriller genre in the most unique manner.
“Immediately what struck me was the tone and Phoebe’s [Waller-Bridge, creator] unique and fresh voice. She was exploring the genre of thriller in a completely unique way,” Oh said. “Also, the fact that this was a psychological thriller drama with an intense dance between these two characters of Eve and Villanelle, it was just so juicy. The show gives a beautiful account of each character in a completely rounded way.”
Speaking about characterisation, Oh stated, “While they (the books) were great source materials and you see the background of where these characters are coming from, I felt very conscious of trying to create my own characters and the tone is different. I wanted to stay in the show’s world.”
The eight episode series, presently on-air, having opened to strong reviews, is based on the novels by Luke Jennings, and in addition to Oh starring as Eve, it also features Jodie Comer as the villainous Villanelle and sees the two intelligent women chase each other. A second season has been confirmed as well.
In another session, Sharon Stone spoke about why HBO’s miniseries Mosaic is the best vehicle for her to star in. “It is a great role and I feel very blessed because I took time out from my career, and to come back to this type of intriguing work… I found it very, very wonderful,” Stone said.
The series comes from Steven Soderbergh, whose past credits include the Oscar-winning Traffic, the Ocean’s Eleven franchise starring George Clooney and Brad Pitt and Erin Brokovich, which fetched Julia Roberts her one and only Oscar.
Soderbergh is directing the murder mystery with Stone essaying the role of Olivia Lake. “It’s really a dream come true for me. I think he’s one of the most remarkable and really forward thinking directors,” Stone said about working with the director.
The high-profile Catherine Zeta-Jones was also present to discuss her Lifetime show Cocaine Godmother and revealed how she relished the opportunity to play drug queenpin Griselda Blanco.
“This character is the polar opposite of what I believe in morally and how I would want to live one’s life,” said Zeta-Jones. “There’s something fascinating about her when you think of her as a woman in that workplace,” before adding: “I just loved playing her.”
Hulu’s The Looming Tower, which tackles terrorism and is a ten-part series that traces the events leading up to 9/11. It is about how things began which led to the horrifying attack that changed the world for the worst. Jeff Daniels, who found incredible success on television with The Newsroom, and stars in this series in the role of FBI agent John O Neil, during the panel discussion, spoke about how he knew little about the man he was essaying prior to signing this series.
“I feel like I am a viewer, learning right along with the audience,” said Daniels. “What I learned is that these guys were the best and the brightest and we don’t have that now. That scares the s**t out of me.”
– With information from Deadline