TV's Top Talent This Emmy Season
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It took a Hail Mary pass to score Connie Britton for the role of Tami Taylor on Friday Night Lights that earned her a 2011 Emmy nomination.
Britton understood when the devoted football coach’s wife she played took a backseat to the gridiron drama in the film that inspired the series, but balked at reinventing the role. “I told them, ‘Absolutely not,’” she says. “I thought it would just be self-destructive for me to do it on a TV show where it would be a prolonged agony of that same thing.” But she was persuaded when Taylor, upgraded to a high school counselor, became crucial to the story line of small-town athletics, drawing critical raves and a dedicated audience that kept the show alive for five seasons despite challenging ratings.
“It feels doubly rewarding because I feel such a sense of victory that we were able to give this coach’s wife character a voice and really see her impact in the community,” she says. “Tami’s really someone you want to get behind. Audiences found her very relatable and representative of things they cared about because of the accessibility, the authenticity and the genuine struggles these characters went through.”
With Lights in the end zone, she has an upcoming role in Ryan Murphy’s anticipated FX series American Horror Story. “I said, ‘Okay, I’m not going to play a wife and a mother,’ but Ryan said, ‘This is not something we’ve ever seen you do before.’ It’s a very different kind of marriage, family relationship and environment, and one that ends up being very scary.
“I just think I’m the luckiest person in the world,” she says. “I’m fully aware I am only made better by the people around me, and I just want to keep that going.”
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)
Fashion shoot: December 2013 issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine.