TV's Top Talent This Emmy Season
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When 2011 Emmy nominee Kelly Macdonald got a chance to play Boardwalk Empire’s Margaret Schroeder, the struggling widow-turned-crime boss mistress, it was like a heady drink after Prohibition.
“I think it was Martin Scorsese who said the great thing about television is that it’s what happens after the movie finishes,” says Macdonald of taking on her first long-form role for American TV after a fruitful film career. “I’ve never before had an opportunity to play such dramatic scenes week after week. The period itself is so new to me—I’ve always wanted to play something set in the ’20s, and now I’m doing it. And I’ve fallen in love with having clothes made for me!
“She’s not a one-note person in any way,” says Macdonald of her initially naïve character, who finds herself entering into the Byzantine, brutal world of Atlantic City power players. “Margaret was a bit of an enigma at first. I’m glad her strength is coming through more, and I’m fascinated by her. She’s changed a lot from the beginning of season one to [now], but there’s another huge shift coming. I almost hope she goes really bad!”
With the show’s status as a critical darling practically ensuring more trips to glam awards ceremonies for Macdonald, she’s working on embracing the nerve-wracking experiences. “I’m trying to have more fun, because I get so nervous it’s ridiculous,” she says. “It’s totally bizarre. At the Golden Globes I walked up to the table I was told I was at, and I was sitting with Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg. I thought one of our producers was playing a practical joke on me. It’s all a bit daft—and fun.”
PHOTOGRAPHS BY WILLIAMS + HIRAKAWA/ICON INTERNATIONAL INC. (POEHLER); JEFF LIPSKY/CPI SYINDICATION (HAMM); KEVIN LYNCH/CONTOUR BY GETTY IMAGES (Macdonald); JEFF LIPSKY (NOBLE); ART STREIBER/SHOWTIME (Duchovny); MR PHOTO/CORBIS OUTLINE (BRITTON); CHRIS HASTON/NBC (BRIE); JUSTIN STEPHENS/AUGUST (COLFER)