From ‘The Act’ to ‘True Detective,’ Supporting Roles Come With Multiple Layers

Variety | 6/4/2019 | Amber Dowling
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Television can be quick to define its female characters, ushering them under such umbrella terms as “powerful, “flawed,” “quirky” or “love interest.” But thanks to an increase in series that expand timelines and can cover decades on-screen, there’s finally a fuller picture when it comes to supporting female characters.

“Women go through this really transformative life passage over different periods of their lives and to get to explore that on-screen really allows you to bring to life the whole woman, a fully fledged, fully actualized woman,” says Carmen Ejogo of “True Detective.” “That’s something that actresses have had to work very hard to earn the right to bring to the screen. So it’s always alluring when that kind of role comes your way.”

Ejogo - Amelia - Timelines - Season - HBO

Ejogo played Amelia in multiple timelines on the third season of the HBO limited series, which allowed both the actress and the audience to go deeper with her. “There’s a sensuality to Amelia in the 1980s that she doesn’t really own, but by the 1990s she’s just that much more confident about her own sensuality,” she says.

Seasoned actresses such as Patricia Arquette in Hulu’s “The Act” and Mireille Enos of Amazon’s “Hanna” admit they haven’t necessarily seen an increase in these types of opportunities, but they agree the format gives them a fuller picture when conceptualizing their characters and allows them to move beyond what might otherwise be a one-dimensional “villain” role.

Act - Arquette - Character - Dee - Dee

In “The Act,” Arquette was able to dig more into character Dee Dee Blanchard’s hereditary history of mental illness via flashbacks, while the coming-of-age nature of “Hanna” allowed Enos to delve further into her character’s motivations.

“These roles add another color to the human experience,” Arquette says. “There are experiences in our lives that do inform us. It’s a fascinating thing to see who someone thought they’d be or...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Variety
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