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Listen: Judith Light on ‘Assassination of Gianni Versace,’ ‘Transparent’s’ Future

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In this week’s episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV, Debra Birnbaum, talks with Judith Light, who is nominated for an Emmy for FX’s “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story.”

Listen to this week’s podcast for free below and at Apple Podcasts:

“It’s a profound honor to me,” says Light of her nomination for her role as Marilyn Miglin, the wife of one of serial killer Andrew Cunanan’s victims. She says it’s “a real testament” to the creators. “Our world, our work, is a team sport. And the team that was brought together for this, it’s a magnificent arena to do this work.”

Light says Tom Rob Smith’s script provided her with a “road map” to the character, pointing to moments like when Marilyn taps her nails on the counter, waiting for her husband to be found. “There was something about this story about this woman, in the middle of all these men, a woman who’s strong, who’s incredibly successful and also very controlled, very contained, and very withheld,” says Light. “People were holding their breath to see when she might crack.”

Light learned of the other murders when she read Maureen Orth’s book, “Vulgar Favors.” “There was still a tremendous amount of vitriol, dismissiveness towards the gay community,” says Light, a longtime LGBTQ advocate, praising Murphy for using the crimes to shine a light on the homophobia that was so rampant at the time. “That’s why people are so compelled by the work.”

She opted not to meet Miglin, saying she wanted to avoid anything that approached caricature. “I don’t think it serves either the human being that you’re portraying, or the piece that you’re doing,” she says.

Roles for women have only gotten better, she says. “We are standing up and saying our lives are interesting, and they matter,” she says. “And there are people out there that want to see those stories. So let us have the stories.” And she praises the wave of women like Reese Witherspoon who are creating their own projects. “I see what’s happening, and I’m very excited about it,” adds Light, who’s working on some projects of her own with her husband. She wants to use her art to change the conversation about important issues. “If you’re an artist and you’re not talking about the times and the culture, I think Nina SImone said, ‘What are you doing?'” she says.

Light didn’t want to comment much on her Amazon series “Transparent,” which will be returning for its final season without star Jeffrey Tambor, following multiple misconduct allegations against the actor. “I don’t know,” she says. “It’s really hard for me.”

 

Judith Light photographed exclusively for the Variety Remote Controlled Podcast
Dan Doperalski for Variety

New episodes of “Remote Controlled” are available every Friday. Subscribe to “Remote Controlled” on iTunes, Stitcher, Soundcloud, or anywhere you download podcasts. You can find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.

Let us know what you think of Variety‘s podcasts! You can email us at podcasts@variety.com to offer comments, suggestions, and ideas for interview subjects you’d like to hear from.

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