Amy Landecker On ‘Transparent’ Season 2, Bruce Jenner And Changing The World

Amy Landecker

In 2014 Amy Landecker played a key role in a show that blew critics and audiences away – Transparent. After winning a 2015 Golden Globe for ‘best television series,’ Amazon’s first original scripted drama will soon be back for its second season. Landecker is Sarah Pfefferman, the daughter of transgender Maura played by Jeffrey Tambor, (who also won a Globe for his performance). Landecker says the show, created by Jill Soloway, has been transformative both personally and professionally. She also believes it’s been instrumental in opening minds and hearts, as she says, “after watching a Bruce Jenner interview, I feel like actually the show is going to change the world for people, and that’s just pretty cool.”

Watching that first episode never gets old

I know. Is it bad that I love if so much and I’m in it? I mean I cry at the end of the trailer. Jeffrey (Tambor) says that line, “I’ve been dressing up like a man my whole life,” and I still get teared up. I’ve seen it a thousand times, but it still gets me.

Any hints at what’s coming up in season 2?

I think there’s still going to be some interesting historic explorations like there was with Camp Camellia. I think she’s going to continue that kind of present day, historical sort of fluidity. It’s really exciting. I won’t tell you how, but I know it’s going to be really mind-blowing. I know for my character there’s going to be a lot of sex. I heard the word Tinder thrown around. I heard I have quite a colorful season ahead. I think we all need to be prepared to strap ourselves in for a ride, literally and figuratively.

You initially turned down the audition due to nudity concerns – do you feel different about that now?

What I realized is when you work with a female director and showrunner, there’s a level of trust. It’s different when there are men in charge of bisexual identity on camera. I didn’t know that until I met Jill and we sat down and talked. I do kind of have a rule where I’ll either have sex or I’ll be naked, but you can’t really combine the two. I can stand there naked but I don’t want to look too vulnerable in a weird way, to be naked and sexual at the same time. Jill’s the kind of director where she’s like, “whatever you’re comfortable with.” It’s going to be up to me to set those limits. But you know, you’re like, “let’s do it,” and then you find yourself with your top off and Melora Hardin’s on top of you, so what can I tell you.

Amy Landecker Melora Hardin
“When you work with a female director and showrunner, there’s a level of trust,” says Landecker, pictured on set with Melora Hardin

You’ve talked about your own divorce and the re-birth of your sexuality happening while you filmed season one. How has the show changed your life moving forward?

That is so true. I can’t even tell you. First of all, I’ve had so much healing in my personal life, and I think that the show is part of that because I got to sort of work out my own demons and struggles with my work and my moving on. You kind of exorcise it in a safe environment and then all of a sudden you feel lighter and freer. It’s going to be interesting to see Sarah, where she goes next. I don’t think she’s going to necessarily be freer and lighter. But personally, I’m single right now, which is new for me. I went straight into other relationships and never really got to just be with myself. There’s something about the show that’s given me a strong foundation and family and so many wonderful relationships. I just feel very fulfilled, and I’m sort of allowed to be in the world by myself for the first time in 25 years. That’s felt very profound and I feel like that’s one of the gifts of the show.

Do you think Transparent has given a platform to people to be more open about gender and sexuality, as with Bruce Jenner for example?

That’s what Jill said she wanted to do at the first table reading. You hope it happens, but you don’t know. If you look historically, I think Ellen (DeGeneres) came out on her show before she came out in life. I feel like handling a narrative in fiction is a wonderful way to teach stories that then open a pathway to reality and understanding. I mean, if you look at mythology, like that’s how you taught kids through storytelling, and we’re sort of all needing to hear the story first before we can face reality and feel comfortable with it.

After the success at the Golden Globes, how does it feel ramping up for season 2?

It’s interesting because on the one hand, at the first table read, when I saw Jeffrey’s performance, I really believed that he was going to win every award there was. I was on season one of Louie, and I had that exact same feeling inside. I think, for all of us there’s no way to prepare yourself for the speed with which we shot, released, and won a Golden Globe. It felt like three months. I mean, it was just “whoa!” We were all kind of catching our breath again and going season two. I mean, the only thing that’s scary about it at all is it’s when there are no eyes on it, there’s no pressure at all. It is different, when people have an expectation or they’re invested in a certain story line. You want it to resonate again. I mean, I’m just glad that I’m not Jill! The writers I think might feel the biggest amount of pressure – not pressures, maybe the wrong word – but it’s different knowing people are watching you. Just for whatever reason all the elements lined up. I don’t think we can screw that up yet!

What’s a favorite Transparent moment for you?

Definitely the most profound moment for me was the scene with Maura, with Jeffrey, telling me, you know, her truth and I think part of that was an amazing scene too, just because it comes from her passion with Tammy that goes right into this like deep, familial honesty. Something that felt very significant is that bathroom scene, where we first go to the restroom with Maura. I just know for trans people that’s a significant battleground, the bathroom. It’s where the most discrimination takes place where, you know, there are now transphobic laws being introduced. It was really profound. It just felt very real. That’s Transparent in a nutshell. You get the lesson but you get it in the thing that gives you a voracious appetite for more. It’s really fun. It’s really sexy. It’s romantic. But then in there there’s some really profound and moving stuff.

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