Sarah Paulson Is Glad She Didn’t Succeed When She Was Young

October 3, 2016


Sarah Paulson’s celebrated portrayal of Prosecutor Marcia Clark in FX’s The People v. O.J. Simpson just earned her an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie. The 41-year-old star is also known for her assorted creepy roles on American Horror Story as well as playing Mary Epps in 12 Years a Slave.

Now reveling in her career success, she expresses gratitude for the all the challenges and detours she experienced along her acting journey. Things certainly took longer than what she had originally hoped when just starting out. But in a recent GQ interview, Paulson discusses the advantages of succeeding later in life. After all, her first aspirations were to become some version of Julia Roberts, and she equated a successful career as achieving that Pretty Woman kind of mega stardom. But now she reflects:

“If my career had turned out like the fantasy I had of what it was going to be, it would never have made me happy. But I couldn’t have known that until it didn’t happen. I found a success that is so much bigger and deeper and better, and it’s because it happened later. If any of what I’m having happen now–the successes–would have happened to me when I was younger, I would have been ruined. Because when you’re young, and things come super easily to you, and you have success right out of the gate, you’re liable to think that’s how it actually works. You start to think you don’t need to be fully prepared or committed to have these things meet you.”

Rather than roles coming easy to her, Paulson insists, “I muscled a lot of what I’ve achieved by sheer force of will and relentless determination.” Like so many other actors, she experienced the frustration and uncertainty of going without work for extended periods between roles. She watched a promising role dissolve into nothing at all, and witnessed an actor win an Oscar for a part she came close to landing–along with other similar disappointments.

But equipped with her gritty spirit, she kept moving forward until she landed a role–albeit the contemptible wife of a slave owner, Mary Epps–that some of her actor friends had passed on. “To me, I ‘made it’ when I got the part in ’12 Years a Slave’ and played a really hideous woman in an unapologetic way,” Paulson says of the milestone.

But Mary Epps was not exactly the fun-loving Julia Roberts kind of role she would have hoped for in her younger days. Now Paulson asserts, “I was so busy wanting to be Julia Roberts that it never occurred to me that my career could be something else. And that it could be equally rich, and–the most important thing–it would be mine, whatever it was.”

Sarah has certainly continued making her career her own. In particular, the opportunity to play Marcia Clark proved to be a pivotal moment in Paulson’s life. Not only did she receive accolades for her performance, but she formed a strong bond and appreciation for the real Marcia Clark. They are very close now.

You never know where your career detours will lead you. But wherever they do, enjoy making them your own!


‘General Hospital”s Tyler Christopher Wins Emmy Award

July 11, 2016

It’s been 20 years since Tyler Christopher started performing as the dark horse Nikolas Cassadine on the ABC daytime drama General Hospital. Although he’d previously received three Emmy nominations for the part, this fourth nomination proved to be a charm: he was recently honored with a Daytime Emmy Award for Lead Actor. However, it should be noted when he was just starting out, Tyler did win the Soap Opera Digest Award as Best Newcomer in 1997. This was no small feat for the newbie. After all, he’d originally auditioned for a different General Hospital part (the role of Stone Cates) in 1993, but didn’t land the part. It would be three years later that he was given the opportunity to again audition for the show amidst plenty of competition. Christopher, in turn, hired an acting coach to prepare for the audition in addition to working with a General Hospital onset acting coach. This preparation paid off. He landed the role of Nikolas, and was immediately well received by audiences and critics alike. His acting partner Stephen Nichols described Christopher’s inexperience as working in his favor because he brought a “childlike quality” to the character. Nichols would go on to be a great mentor for Christopher.

Christopher played Nikolas from 1996 to 1999, and then after a hiatus, he returned to the show from 2003 to the present. He also played the character of Connor Bishop for a couple of years on the soap opera after his return. His film credits include the role of Liam King in the romantic drama film Beyond the Lights. And even though Tyler experienced momentum in his early career, he’s maintained a passion for the theater over the years. During his hiatus, Tyler joined up with his close friend Ronnie Marmo in 2002 to co-found the 68-Cent Theatre Company. The company continues to feature productions in both Los Angeles and New York City.

Christopher is an actor with Native American heritage–specifically from Choctaw and Seneca descent. He once said, “I’ve been recognized within the Native American community in terms of entertainment. There’s not a lot of us out there, not tons of competition. We are definitely a minority amongst a minority, but we’re out there.” 


‘Actors on Actors’ Wins Emmy Award Celebrating Actor Interviews

July 26, 2015

Variety‘s Actors on Actors PBS series was recently honored with an Emmy Award for the category of best entertainment programming during the Television Academy’s 67th Los Angeles area Emmy Awards. Each episode of Actors on Actors is approximately ten minutes long and features two prominent actors who interview one another about various aspects of their careers. If you’ve ever wanted to be a fly on the wall at a Hollywood party to hear an insider’s take on the business, listen what stars really are saying to each other, or see who has a genuine rapport this series is for you. Many viewers comment how “inspiring” the talks are. The conversations can cover topics ranging from an appreciation for each other’s work, their personal audition stories, approaches to creating characters, challenges on set, and beyond.

The Actors on Actors episode featured above spotlights award-winning actresses Uzo Aduba from Orange is the New Black and Gina Rodriguez from Jane the Virgin; their rapport feels so genuine they could very well be speaking to each other without cameras recording them. Other actor pairings include Jessica Lange with Taylor Schilling, Don Cheadle with Claire Danes, Jennifer Aniston with Emily Blunt, Benedict Cumberbatch with Edward Norton–and the list goes on.

Listening to Jessica Chastain talk about being a newbie and smiling for the camera when the continuity worker came to document the set, or hearing Edward Norton tell the story of when he jumped well ahead of the script while on stage is both entertaining as well as reassuring to know there’s certainly room for mistakes along the path of being an actor. For those of you who have watched the Actors on Actors series, which actor pairing is your favorite?