When Amazon brought its new comedy series Transparent to Summer TV Press Tour 2014 today — it’s from Jill Soloway (Afternoon Delight, Six Feet Under and United States of Tara), and explores the family dynamic when three adult siblings (Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, Gaby Hoffman) learn their father (Jeffrey Tambor) is a transwoman — one TV critic wanted to discuss Tambor wearing dresses.
The critic said he’s seen Tambor in dresses a lot and asked the actor to explain/discuss. “Are you talking about Hill Street Blues,” Tambor asked.
“And Arrested Development — I’ve seen you in dresses a very long time,” the critic responded.
“What a legacy,” Tambor mumbled, than began to explain how, “This is far different… I celebrated my 70th birthday two days ago on the set, and this is probably the most transformative experience I’ve had… It shows how far television has gone in terms of content. ”
Inevitably, Soloway got asked why she cast Tambor in the role of the father, rather than a transgender woman. “It’s super complicated” she responded — then said she’d written the role for Tambour, which seemed simple enough.
Amazon will premiere all 10 episodes of this five-hour project at one, in September. Soloway said she’s always envisioned it as a five-hour movie.
A member of the press asked her if she was worried about the lack of sympathetic characters in the show. Soloway began to talk about how tired she is of network execs telling her women on TV must be likeable — tired of network execs telling her, “No woman would ever do that… The Rules about what a woman would do are super antiquated,” she answered energetically.
The cast bristled at repeated suggestions by the press that they were foregoing more money, for the sake of creative freedom afforded to them by Amazon. “I’m getting matched at my network fee!” shrieked Gabby Hoffman.
“I believe in this side of the street,” Tambor said. ” In terms of content, I love what is happening. I wrote [Amazon comedy chief] Joe [Lewis] an email and said, ‘I’m overwhelmed and having the time of my life.’ …This is all I ever wanted to do as an actor. It reminds me of Broadway.”
Things got prickly as the press continued with that line of questioning. “These are heavy hitters!” Tambor said pointing to the other panelists. “And following us [At Summer TV Press Tour] there are major hitters,” he said — a reference to Roman Coppola, Jason Schwartzman, Chris Carter, Titus Welliver, etc., who were waiting for their Amazon Q&A panels after his. “We’re following where the content is, where the opportunity is, and nobody is looking on this as lesser — and we’re going to talk money a little later,” He said, turning to Lewis, who was on stage at a podium.