Amazon Studios’ Contenders Emmys panel today was a celebration of two very personal series, with One Mississippi star and executive producer Tig Notaro on hand alongside Sneaky Pete EP/co-star Bryan Cranston.
A portrayal of the depths of tragedy, handled by an individual of true resilience, Amazon’s One Mississippi tells Notaro’s true story, looking back at a moment when she fought three deadly illnesses while coping with a breakup and the death of her mother. The real-life drama is palpable onscreen, and looking back on the series’ first season now, Notaro couldn’t be more pleased.
“I’m so tremendously proud,” she said, discussing the series’ semi-autobiographical nature. “I wasn’t quite sure how much we were going to veer off from factual information — I would say the pilot is almost a documentary — but after that, we definitely veer off.”
Notaro said she was particularly pleased about producing a series that is so relatable and has connected in different ways with so many viewers. Discussing the upcoming Season 2, Notaro says there will be “more of a love story,” but viewers shouldn’t expect any babies on the series anytime soon.
“There’s more focus on moving on,” the EP/star said. “I think when you go through tragedy, you’re stuck in there for a while, but I think Season 2 is more about where you go when you’ve come through the tragedy and how do you have relationships and get back into life.”
Giovanni Ribisi was not present as scheduled, but his co-star Bryan Cranston sat down with Deadline’s Pete Hammond — after crashing the Better Call Saul panel earlier — to discuss Sneaky Pete, a series based somewhat on incidents from his own early life. As Cranston recalled, the Amazon series itself stemmed from an Emmys speech he gave following a win for Breaking Bad, in which he referenced his past life as a Sneaky Pete, “circumventing responsibility and looking for a shortcut” as a teenager from a “fractured” family.
Speaking about the development of the series about a gifted con man (Ribisi) on the run from a violent gangster (Cranston), the EP touched on the series’ initial setup at CBS, with the eventual move to Amazon, casting himself in another delicious baddie part to sweeten the deal. “I slept with myself to get the job,” the actor joked. “That was a nightmare, but you have to do what you have to do.”
With the series’ positioning on Amazon, Cranston revealed his thoughts on the new binge-watching model in the fast-paced and ever-evolving medium of television. “It’s what we’re exposed to now. This is it,” he said. “The old model of waiting a week is now just that — an old model. It’s yet to be seen if that broadcast model can sustain.”
Asked about perceived similarities between con men and actors, Cranston denied any connections. “A lot of people from the civilian population will think that actors are basically liars, and the opposite is the actual truth,” he said. “The best actors will look for and seek the truth and be a dry sponge to it and let it just envelope us.”
With their first seasons in the rearview mirror, both One Mississippi and Sneaky Pete were quickly picked up for second seasons.