By Sheryl Aronson
On April 17th, Amazon Television hosted the Prime Emmy FYC Event at the Hollywood Athletic Club showcasing their top ten Emmy contenders.
The inside of the Club was transformed into many different sets that depicted the chosen television shows such as: “Mozart in the Jungle,” “Bosch,” “I Love Dick,” “Catastrophe,” “Transparent,” “Patriot,” “Sneaky Pete,” “Z: The Beginning of Everything” and “The Man in the High Castle.”
The Hollywood 360 visited the different rooms and interviewed some of the actors who starred in the television shows. Our first interview was with Stephen Root who plays the lead role in The Man in the High Castle. The setting was a bit eerie and dark as we were surrounded by Nazi symbols and mannequin soldiers.
Stephen Root: The Man in the High Castle
The Hollywood 360: What’s the prime story line here for your show?
Stephen Root: There are several actually. I am the head of the Resistance in 1962 if Germany had won the war with Japan. Germany would take over the East Coast of the United States and Japan would take over the West Coast.
The Hollywood 360: This story is based on a novel.
Stephen Root: Yes. It is based on the novel by Philip K. Digg.
The Hollywood 360: Tell us more about the story.
Stephen Root: We’re onto Season II now, so we’re a couple of seasons in and have gone beyond the book. We’ve gone to a new place.
The Hollywood 360: So what is now happening with the Resistance?
Stephen Root: That’s hard for me to say because I’m kind of a shadowy Resistance character that comes in and out of the story. The show continues to evolve and has tremendous actors in it.
The Hollywood 360: This is also a period piece.
Stephen Root: It’s 1962… not the real 62, but it is a period piece.
The Hollywood 360: What is interesting about your role?
Stephen Root: What’s interesting about it is… for all of Season I they talk about the Man In The High Castle, but you never saw him. In the very first episode of Season II, I was revealed and sketchily throughout Season II, you learn more about me. It’s very ethereal. You don’t know what he does.
The Hollywood 360: What’s challenging about the role?
Stephen Root: It’s interesting to be in a world that does exist in 1962, but it doesn’t. It’s a fantasy world. It’s a world where Rock and Roll never happened. It’s a world where television shows like American Reich are on. Very bizarre. It makes you step back. It makes you step back when you see the beautiful scenic design of these large Nazi symbols all over New York. It’s just very, very scary. When this second season came out, it was when the recent election happened… so it became kind of a thing…
Switching gears, Stephen Root ended by saying:
Everyone should go binge watch The Man in the High Castle.
When we strolled over to the room where the television show Mozart in the Jungle was located, the atmosphere changed to dreamy, soft lighting… candelabras, chiffon curtains and a stunning grand piano. To our supreme delight, Mr. Malcolm McDowell stood in the middle of the room looking very dapper and charming. As usual Mr. McDowell plays a juicy role and this time he slips into the character of Thomas Pembridge, the conductor of the New York Symphony.
Malcolm McDowell: Mozart in the Jungle
The Hollywood 360: Let’s hear all about this fabulous television show, Mozart in the Jungle. Talk about your part.
Malcolm McDowell: I think it’s a great show of course. It’s a wonderful part to play… Thomas Pcmbridge, the conductor. He’s like a child, a spoiled brat really. He throws his toys out of the pram just like a child… really.
But I love that about him, because he’s so unpredictable. He’s such a lunatic. However, he’s quite charming.
The Hollywood 360: Have you ever conducted? How much research had you done for the role?
Malcolm McDowell: No I never conducted. The great thing about being a conductor is there is not one way to do it, so I just did my thing on how I thought it would be. No one has complained about it. (He chuckles.) So I got away with it.
The Hollywood 360: You have played so many roles in your career…how are you adjusting to this newest one?
Malcolm McDowell: Thomas is a wonderful character and over the years I’ve played many wonderful characters. I’ve been in a lot of shows… Entourage, The Mentalist, Franklin & Bash. I love television. The best writing is on television.
The Hollywood 360: Are you doing any films right now?
Malcolm McDowell: I have a few films in the pipeline right now too. So I haven’t given up on the movies. I am also working on a one- man show. I’m just formulating it right now. That will probably be in NYC.
The Hollywood 360: Anything else would you like to say about Mozart in the Jungle?
Malcolm McDowell: It’s great because Gael Garcia Bernal is a great actor, a very nice man and is our leader. I have a romance with Bernadette Peters on the show who I’ve been trying to get my hands on for years! LOL. So finally. She’s adorable. I love her. The young kids are great. Lola Kirke. It’s a great cast. We’re very lucky.
The Hollywood 360: You’re an iconic figure in the Entertainment Industry and I asked this question to Ringo Starr…
Malcolm McDowell: I’m from Liverpool too…
The Hollywood 360: Can you tell us after all these years being in the film industry and having such a successful career as an actor, what do you take away with you, what have you gained?
Malcolm McDowell: My career has been going for a long time. 50 years. It’s given me a great life, five wonderful kids, a very suffering and wonderful wife who puts up with me. I live in a very beautiful place North of here and it’s gorgeous. I am very blessed and I always pinch myself. Is it really happening? Or is someone going to come along and take it all away?
The Hollywood 360: What would you say to the younger artists out there regarding acting? How can they have such a good stay in this industry?
Malcolm McDowell: It’s never easy, there’s no two ways about it. If you want to do it, I would say, ‘Most actors never make more than $20,000 a year, then don’t do it!’ And the ones that really have to do it, aren’t going to heed to my advice here. But if it’s the only thing in your life that you can possibly do, then nothing I’m going to say will matter, so just do it.
Malcolm McDowell’s love interest in Mozart in the Jungle is the multi-talented actress, Bernadette Peters. Donned in a black satin form fitted dress, Bernadette Peters looked ravishing. The famous red, luscious curls floated down her back and her alabaster skin radiated timeless beauty. When hearing the recognizable adorable voice answering the first question, I was enchanted.
Bernadette Peters: Mozart in the Jungle
The Hollywood 360: What role do you play in Mozart in the Jungle?
Bernadette Peters: I play Gloria and I run the whole shebang. I run the symphony orchestra. I am the chairperson of the board. I do the hiring and firing and the fund raising. I try to keep the whole thing together. It was strange because just recently, I was at Lincoln Center at the Opera, and I was walking down the stairs. I said to myself, ‘Wow. I run this place.’ That’s what my character does.
The Hollywood 360: It is refreshing that there is a female character in charge. Talk about her personality and what characteristics she possesses.
Bernadette Peters: She is a suit, but she is a huge creative entity because she was a performer… a cabaret singer. She is well informed about the creative process. So when she hired Rodrigo, she was doing something really wonderful for the symphony, but she didn’t realize he was going to be such a pain in the neck. But within all that… the stress that he causes is about trying to make everything better. She knows that eventually, because of the purity of his heart and creativity, he is going to bring the symphony where they need to get to.
The Hollywood 360: You have played so many roles in theater, film, television. Why is this role so different or special to you?
Bernadette Peters: I never really played a role like this on television. Maybe in “Gypsy” the mother was a really big motor that ran the show…this character has many aspects to her.
The Hollywood 360: It seems that television gives many older female artists an outlet to keep acting, as opposed to film.
Bernadette Peters: Yes. Television goes right into people’s homes offering the opportunity to really influence and entertain a lot of people. To have a role I really love with the depth of acting that is required, is a great privilege to do it.
The Hollywood 360: What else might you be doing career-wise?
Bernadette Peters: I am doing lots of concerts all over the country. Next week-end in Orlando, I will be at the Center For the Arts. I just sang with the Boston Pops in Chicago. That orchestra with Keith Lockhart conducting, was like having candy.
The Hollywood 360: Could you give us a statement of encouragement to the upcoming actor or artist?
Bernadette Peters: I would say to not copy anyone, so you’re being an original. That makes you more desirable. They don’t need another Bernadette Peters, they need whoever you are. If you really want this, never give up. Study your Art. Study your craft. Go in that direction.
One of America’s most wonderful film, television and stage actors, John Rothman was also available to interview inside the Mozart in the Jungle room, however, John portrays a very different kind of character in Amazon’s television show, One Mississippi. He told us that Bill, Tig Notaro’s recently widowed stepfather, has the total opposite personality than his own.
John Rothman: One Mississippi
The Hollywood 360: Talk about the character you play on One Mississippi.
John Rothman: I play the step-father. We’re just starting season II of this fantastic show that people love. The audience is going to die for the second season because it’s so funny and great. Tig also directed, she made her directing debut. Although she did make a movie that is called, “Clown Service.”
The Hollywood 360: Why do you enjoy playing your character?
John Rothman: My character is nothing like me. It’s a transformation thing. I can really be another human being. It’s the magic of acting and I don’t actually know how it happened… I become this very uptight, OCD personality disorder with a heart of gold, but has had a very hard childhood. As does Tig. People have told me that he’s not like any character they’ve ever seen before on television.
The Hollywood 360: There was Monk…the OCD Detective.
John Rothman: Yes. Tony. He’s a very good friend of mine. I was thinking about his character with his compulsions, but he was more seriously into his psychosis. I have a compulsive personality disorder and drive people crazy. I have a scene about loading the dishwasher that we’re shooting on Wednesday… (John transforms into Bill, the OCD stepfather) You must never put the Tupperware on the top, all of it goes on the bottom, it could melt. Tupperware must go on the top. The spoons must be separated. If they rest inside one another, they won’t get the proper wash.
The Hollywood 360: You have the role down.
John Rothman: There are the rules of dishwashing. You must know the rules and procedures. (We all laugh. Back to being John.)
His issues are about control and creating a place where everything is okay. If anything disturbs that and disrupts his universe… like when Tig moves back home with her life and love, it’s very challenging to maintain his sanity.
The Hollywood 360: What makes this show so interesting to the viewers?
John Rothman: It’s actually based on truth. Tig is an extraordinarily brave and exceptional human being. She survived many tragedies. And yet, she finds the humor and courage to create. People identify with her.
She’s also a terrific director. Tig makes you want to go that extra mile.
The Hollywood 360: What else would you like to say about your show?
John Rothman: People who have watched the show, just love it. The thing I love about Amazon and I love about streaming is that anyone can go to their computer and watch the whole thing. Amazon has this thing called X-Ray and the actors come up and you can push a sidebar and you can find out who the actors are.
The Hollywood 360: What would you like to say about your career in general.
John Rothman: (He looks around the room at the actors that are there.) Things are going very well. I can look around this room… Dermot Mulroney and I did “Copy Cats” and with Kevin Bacon, I did “Picture Perfect” with Jennifer Aniston. I can look around this room and see my friends that I have worked with over the years and it feels great.
Speaking of Dermot Mulroney… he was our next interview. Looking like the charismatic dashing rogue, with chiseled cheekbones, smoky brown eyes and a bit of salt and pepper hair, Dermot Mulroney talked about portraying Andrew Walsh, a male prima donna world-renowned cellist, who he portrays in Mozart in the Jungle. We found out that Dermot was a classically trained cellist and had been playing this instrument since the third grade.
Dermot Mulroney: Mozart In The Jungle
The Hollywood 360: Why are you excited about being on your new series?
Dermot Mulroney: I’m so privileged to be included in the show. I play a small part. I play Andrew Walsh who is a world-renowned cellist and of fantastic abilities. In this season, I have my own ensemble.
The Hollywood 360: Did you have to learn how to play the cello?
Dermot Mulroney: No, I already knew how to play the cello. That’s why I was in on this in the first place. I’ve been playing the cello since the third grade.
The Hollywood 360: Please talk about your musical career.
Dermot Mulroney: I’ve had the most amazing musical career. I started playing cello in the public school system. I studied acting and music at Northwestern University in Chicago and played in their symphony all four years. I studied filmmaking and music and have been able to do both in my career.
The Hollywood 360: Talk about using your cello playing abilities in different roles.
Dermot Mulroney: I played cello in a movie called, “Samantha” with Martha Plimpton, a nice little comedy. I played cello in “Daddy” an ABC movie of the week at the beginning of my career. That set me up for a lot more jobs… I play guitar in “A Thing Called Love.” I sang country music and cello in that. This all culminates now where I am playing a world-renowned cellist on Mozart in the Jungle. This morning I was playing in a scoring session for the new Spiderman movie that is coming out. Michael Giacchino, Academy Award winning composer is doing the music.
The Hollywood 360: How is it playing the music in the show?
Dermot Mulroney: Here’s what we do. Most of the other actors will learn how to mimic the fingering. But what I do is record my own piece and then still have to finger-sync that to the picture that I recorded previous to the day we are shooting the show.
The Hollywood 360: You must be so happy to have a role like this that shows off both of your talents.
Dermot Mulroney: It’s incredible. Music, more than acting took a lot more time and meticulous learning skills to approach it. To have something like that to combine with more of a free form thing like acting, is really a wonderful combination.
The Hollywood 360: Talk more about your character on Mozart in the Jungle.
Dermot Mulroney: Andrew Walsh is full of himself. He’s pompous. There’s one scene where you can tell he is jealous of Yo-Yo Ma. He’s real competitive. He has also slept his way through the orchestra. Really, the beginning of this show was about a musician who slept with everybody in the orchestra. There are a lot of people jumping in and out of bed with one another. That’s one of the things people love about the show the most. I’m guilty of that too. I’m somewhat a rake.
The Hollywood 360: Let’s talk about the work ethic that you exemplify in the entertainment industry. You’ve been at this for a while now. It seems these days that a lot of younger people think they can become big stars overnight because of YouTube.
Dermot Mulroney: Some of those young people do work very hard from dawn to dusk. I would take how hard the work is out of it, but you are certainly describing a new frontier about what fame is anymore. It has been changing over time. I’m finding it fascinating. I started in film mainly, and you wouldn’t think of doing a television show that wasn’t on mainstream television. Now, it’s the wild west and you can do everything. It doesn’t have to be great anymore… it used to be one strike, you’re out. But what we do lack, and you are referencing, is any kind of farm system for young talent to apprentice their way up. Or where a studio junior executive spots talent and puts that person in consecutive parts, so they can farm up or develop their talent. And that skill of agents, producers, directors has been lost. You see the result because it’s hard right now to find a 25- year -old male leading actor or female actor, for that matter. We’ve let ourselves down by not promoting our own talent from within.
The Hollywood 360: Anything else would you like to say about Mozart in the Jungle?
Dermot Mulroney: It’s a wonderful show. The cast couldn’t be better. Everyone is cast so perfectly for their parts. I would want to thank the Producers: Roman Coppola and Jason Schwartzman. It’s one of those things that were meant to be. The same thing goes for Bernadette and Malcolm and everyone else. I am so happy to be a part of this show.
The Hollywood 360 did manage to finally leave the Mozart in the Jungle set… or lush music chambers that hosted so many of the actors that evening. Out of the corner of my eye I caught Malcolm McDowell ogling Bernadette Peters as they laughed and cavorted together. I guess Gloria Windsor, the top boss of the orchestra and Thomas Pembridge were still at it, conducting business.
Click on photos to link to interviews with :
Bernadette Peters-Mozart in the Jungle
Malcolm Mc Dowell
Photo Credit : The Hollywood, Sheryl Aronson, Linita Masters