You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

New Faces Like Millie Bobby Brown and Ron Cephas Jones Break Into Emmy Supporting Race

Emmy voters are often creatures of habit, content to reward the usual suspects. But this year, the supporting category offers a lot of opportunities for new faces to break in. The diverse group of vets and newbies invited to the party include Jackie Hoffman (“Feud: Bette and Joan”), Chrissy Metz and Ron Cephas Jones (“This Is Us”), Alexander Skarsgard and Shailene Woodley (“Big Little Lies”), Samira Wiley (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) and David Harbour and Millie Bobby Brown (“Stranger Things”).

For 13-year-old British actress Brown, playing the enigmatic, buzz-cutted Eleven on the Duffer brothers retro Netflix drama “Stranger Things” represents a couple of firsts. “It was my first big break and really my first proper acting job,” she says. “When we were shooting [the first season] we never thought it’d be this big, and it’s kind of crazy to realize how many people have responded to it and my character, this outcast.”

Brown says “most, if not all” her scenes in the first season were “quite hard to do, because I had so few lines and you have to convey all the emotions and thoughts without any words.” It’s been estimated that she speaks barely 250 words through the entire first season.

“I remember when [the Duffers] told me I had to shave all my hair off, and it was really hard. I looked just like a boy, and people laughed at me when I went places, they thought I was so weird-looking.”

The toughest scene to play? “It was episode four, when I’m being carried down a hallway by some security guards,” she says. “It was the second scene of me crying, so I was already very emotional.”

To deal with the emotion and to help her access her feelings, Brown turned to singer Adele and her weepy epic soul ballad “Hello.” “It came out on October 23, 2015, the very same day I shot the scene, and I just sat in my trailer listening to it on ear-buds and getting very teary,” she recalls. The process worked. “I went out and did just two takes, and got it.”

Looking ahead, she says the second season is finished, “although I haven’t seen it yet.” Brown also promises fans that she’ll have “a lot more lines, and there’ll be far more explanation about the character, and so much information. I think the fans will get what they want.”

Brown’s breakout role in the show has also jump-started her movie career, and she’s in Atlanta shooting “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” for director Michael Dougherty and Warner Bros., slated for a March 22, 2019 release. “It’s my first film role, and I’m getting to do most of my own stunts. So it’s very exciting.”

Hoffman also did a lot with very little dialogue playing Mamacita in FX’s “Feud: Bette and Joan.” While leading ladies Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange had ample opportunity to chew the scenery as, respectively, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, Hoffman’s stern maid to the latter “was a big challenge, because Mama-cita had so few lines, and I’m so used to theater and lots of dialogue,” she says. “There was a lot of showing up, opening doors, then going home for three days.”

Despite this, Hoffman says the role was “a gift from God. She was German, a very strong and powerful woman, and I had so much fun with her accent, which I didn’t want to exaggerate or do as a stereotype. I wanted to keep it subtle, not too pronounced.”

Less fun for Hoffman was the physical transformation needed for the role. “The makeup was minimal, but the wig was the big time-consuming thing,” she reports. “It took over 40 minutes each time to put it on. It was intense and a painstaking process. The wig should have been nominated.”

The actress, who refers to herself as “a 56-year-old Emmy virgin” in terms of her first nom, says her hardest scenes “were the ones where I was handing out drinks, and Jessica gets progressively more enraged — and it was truly scary because she’s such a powerful performer. She was so intimidating I almost wet myself.”

For Metz, who plays Kate Pearson in “This Is Us,” landing her first Emmy nom has been “really wild.” She says the biggest challenge has been staying vulnerable.
“Most actors like to check footage for unflattering facial shots and to see if the clothes are hanging right, but I purposely don’t look at dailies to check on any of that stuff,” she says. “I think that’s why people relate to Kate so much, because she’s a real girl, trying to figure her life out, and making mistakes, and not necessarily being attractive in the process.”

Her hardest scene so far? “When Kate got on the scale in the pilot,” she says. “It was raw, real and tough to do, as you’re basically naked, but also bearing your soul. It was a defining, sobering, rock-bottom moment for her.”

Metz’s co-star Jones, 60, is a seasoned actor enjoying one of the biggest hits of his career with “This Is Us.” “It’s been a perfect storm of having a great role, with great writing, a great cast, great directors: basically the whole package,” he says. “And that’s a very rare thing in this business, so I’m incredibly gratified. And then playing a character like William, with this wonderful arc and through-line through the whole season, has been a great opportunity for me.”

The hardest scene to play was one of the last episodes, titled “Memphis,” he says, in which his son “Randall drives William back to his hometown of Memphis, where he dies. We actually went to Memphis to do it, and the death scene was very difficult, as you’re playing his life out, and I knew all season that he’d pass away, but not when and which episode.

“And it was difficult because I’d fallen in love with William. I was even hoping for a miracle cure to be written in.”

William is “a very familiar character to me. I grew up with a lot of men just like him — uncles, friends of the family — so it’s especially rewarding to be able to dig inwards and find all the different layers of this character.

“And he’s been a turning point in my career. I’ve been doing this a long time, and none of us had a clue that this would be such a popular show and resonate with such a wide audience. Often it’s all to do with the timing, and the timing for this has been perfect.”

More TV

  • Outlander 406

    'Outlander' Recap: Jamie Encounters William Again in 'Blood of My Blood'

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Blood Of My Blood,” the sixth episode of “Outlander” Season 4. The action in “Blood of My Blood” picked up almost immediately after the previous week’s episode, as evidenced by the fact that Murtagh (Duncan Lacroix) was still staying with Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and [...]

  • The Flash -- "Elseworlds, Part 1"

    'Elseworlds, Part 1' Recap: Barry Allen and Oliver Queen Swap Skills, Visit Superman

    SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “Elseworlds, Part 1,” the first part of the 2018 “Arrowverse” crossover, which aired Dec. 9. After past crossovers that introduced beloved characters’ doppelgangers, a wedding and death, “Elseworlds,” the fifth annual “Arrowverse” event, had a lot to which to live up. Unlike previous years, [...]

  • Stranger Things

    'Stranger Things' Season 3 Teaser Reveals Episode Titles, 2019 Release

    Netflix dropped a new teaser for the upcoming third season of “Stranger Things” Sunday, confirming that it will land on the streamer in 2019. The teaser also revealed the episode titles for the third season, which are as follows: “Suzie, Do You Copy?,” “The Mall Rats,” “The Case of the Missing Lifeguard,” “The Sauna Test,” [...]

  • Kyzza Terrazas Joins Garcia Bernal, Diego

    Kyzza Terrazas Joins Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna’s La Corriente del Golfo (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Launching their new production house, La Corriente de Golfo, last April, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna have tapped Mexican writer-director Kyzza Terrazas as the company’s head of development. The appointment will certainly help build the company appointing an old-rounder capable of overseeing and implementing development, writing and directing, and a longtime [...]

  • Michael Che Defends Kevin Hart on

    Michael Che Ribs Academy Over Kevin Hart Controversy on 'SNL'

    Kevin Hart may have alienated some in Hollywood over his recently resurfaced homophobic tweets, but that didn’t stop “Weekend Update” co-host Michael Che from cracking some jokes in support of Hart on Dec. 8’s “Saturday Night Live.” After briefly recapping that Hart stepped down from hosting the Oscars after the 2011 tweets came to light, [...]


    'The Umbrella Academy' Superheroes Series Premiere Date Set on Netflix

    The dysfunctional-family superheroes of “The Umbrella Academy” are landing on Netflix worldwide on Feb. 15, 2019. The live-action series is based on the “Umbrella Academy” comic books created and written by Gerard Way and illustrated by Gabriel Bá, published by Dark Horse Comics. The Netflix original series comprises 10 one-hour episodes. “The Umbrella Academy” stars [...]

  • SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- "Jason Momoa"

    Robert De Niro Appears as Robert Mueller in 'Saturday Night Live' Cold Open

    Robert De Niro made a surprise appearance as special counsel Robert Mueller in “Saturday Night Live’s” cold open. De Niro popped out of a closet in a sketch that skewered President Donald Trump and the mounting legal pressure Mueller’s investigation has put on many of Trump’s associates. Alex Moffatt played Eric Trump in a bedtime-story [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content