Masters of Sex star Lizzy Caplan was a vetted comedy actress (Mean Girls, Party Down) before landing the co-starring role on the Showtime drama. “The transition itself was really scary for me,” Caplan says during The Hollywood Reporter‘s Drama Actress Roundtable. “Luckily, it served the character really well to feel like a fish out of water, to be intimidated by the man I was working with, and to feel like he was just more established in the world I was entering into. It ended up really helping me.” Caplan stars alongside Michael Sheen, an esteemed dramatic actor, whose notable work includes the Oscar-winning and nominated films, The Queen and Frost/Nixon, respectively.
“I see myself as somebody who can do both now,” the actress says of the move into drama. Her comedic background only helps her be a better dramatic actress, she thinks. “I believe that the best dramas have moments of comedy and levity and the best comedies have moments of real depth, and emotional depth.” She argues these types of multi-dimensional roles are becoming more widespread because, “that’s what audiences are coming to expect. As an actor, you can find a role that has both.”
The conversation switched to sex and nudity on camera, as her “show is about sex!” On nudity, she has decided, “It still isn’t my favorite thing to do at work. It’s never one hundred percent comfortable, but I think it’s as close as it’s going to get.”
What’s next for Caplan? “I’d like to start working with some really good directors,” she says, “because I haven’t done all that many films, let alone those actually, really good films,” noting The Cohen Brothers and Wes Anderson as her top picks.
Caplan joined fellow actresses Maggie Gyllenhaal (The Honourable Woman), Ruth Wilson (The Affair), Taraji P. Henson (Empire), Jessica Lange (American Horror Story: Freak Show), and Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder) for the Roundtable, where they discussed the dynamic and powerful dramatic roles currently being offered for women on television.
The full Drama Actress Roundtable aired on Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter on Sunday, Aug. 2, at 11 a.m. EST on Sundance TV. Tune in this Sunday for the next episode.
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