“Mad Men” writer Semi Chellas has seen awards season from both sides now — both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border.
Chellas made a splashy Emmy entrance this year with two drama writing noms, shared with “Mad Men” boss Matthew Weiner. And they were some episodes: “Far Away Places,” the one in which Roger takes LSD; and “The Other Woman,” in which Joan makes a heartbreaking sacrifice.
The recognition for her first season on “Mad Men” is a sweet second act for Chellas, who is a showrunner star in her native Canada. She won her first Gemini Award a decade ago for “The 11th Hour,” the CTV drama series she co-created about a TV newsmag under pressure to go tabloid in order to boost ratings.
The “11th Hour” and other successes raised her profile at home, but Chellas still had to reinvent herself a few years ago when she headed south to focus on writing features. “Mad Men” was the one TV series she told her reps at UTA that she’d love to work on. Last year, she went in for an interview with Weiner on a Friday and was asked to start on Monday. “It all happened so fast,” she said.
When the Emmy noms were unveiled in July, she had a deja vu-moment when a major Canuck newspaper ran a story with a photo of her accepting her Gemini trophy in 2003. As much as going through the process with “11th Hour” a few times prepared her for winning (and losing) gracefully, it doesn’t compare to riding at the Emmy rodeo.
“The whole process here is dazzling,” Chellas said. “I’m still not immune to the feeling of ‘Oh my god, I landed in Hollywood.’ “