'the hollywood reporter' roundtable roundup: drama actors, comedy showrunners, and drama showrunners


  • the hollywood reporter continues its roundtable series featuring drama actors, comedy showrunners, and drama showrunners

  • featured drama actors include sam rockwell (fosse/verdon), hugh grant (a very english scandal), diego luna (narcos: mexico), richard madden (game of thrones & the bodyguard), stephan james (homecoming & if beale street could talk), and billy porter (pose)

  • featured comedy showrunners include david mandel (veep), jerrod carmichael (ramy), alan yang (master of none & forever), ali rushfield (shrill), tanya saracho (vida), and bill hader (op note: [*swoons]) (barry & documentary now)

  • featured drama showrunners include john singleton (r.i.p.) (snowfall), sam esmail (homecoming & mr. robot), marti noxon (dietland & sharp objects) (op note: but buffy's what we really care about and all we'll ever really care about), nic pizzolatto (true detective), sera gamble (you), and steven canals (pose)

  • watch the latest roundtables below:


drama actors



  • billy porter comes through with truth. he's been here for thirty years, hollywood just started paying attention to him.

  • hugh grant does the self-effacing thing to mask his self-hatred as usual. admits he's played the same character too many times and for far too long because it was lucrative. later admits to being a terrible person, which is laughed off.

  • billy porter is done playing flamboyant clowns that have no depth

  • sam rockwell is done playing racists and rednecks/country types (op note: we'll see, sam)

  • diego luna was tired of only being offered the role of the effusive young man that falls in love with his best friend, but now that he's older with kids he misses it; being cast in the role that brings that sense of levity and freedom to a project.

  • everyone wants to play the villain

  • richard madden and billy porter talk about the challenge of being a leading man. the leading man is inactive and things happen to him. every other character has their own drive and their actions are clear, but leading man has a specific journey they have to follow and the other characters move them along.

  • billy porter comes through with more truth: "it's easy to be what you are when what you are is what's popular". he went through long periods of unemployment for being who he is. repeatedly seeing straight men playing gay are lauded, but he couldn't get the straight parts or the gay parts. the table laughs, but some of them are guilty of the shit he’s talking about.

  • stephan james and billy porter call out shitty casting descriptions and limited options of representation for black actors (i.e.: "thugs and drugs!") or race as the equivalent of the role descriptor (e.g.: the black soldier) and what that means.

  • billy porter was doing pilot season and receiving the same feedback he always received when he was rejected (too gay, too effeminate, etc) while he was directing top dog/underdog at the huntington theater. theater gave him more creative opportunties so he put his focus there: writing, directing and performing. the day he'd had enough of pilot season he called his sister to vent, the next day he was called to audition for pose.

  • diego luna feels for all of the directors he was such a shit towards now that he's directing.

  • billy porter convinced ryan murphy bring him onto pose to help train the inexperienced trans actors even though he wasn't happy with the character he was called to audition for. he then convinced ryan murphy to create pray tell because he knew the ballroom scene of that time and what the character would mean to ballroom scene depicted in the show and now he's nominated for an emmy for the role.

  • billy porter fought for his version of lola in kinky boots to be gay because he lived the struggle of being an effeminate gay man and knew it would mean something else to have an effeminate openly gay man celebrated for wearing drag as opposed to adding to the performance legacy of yet another straight, masculine man performing drag for the aesthetic dissonance it would create for the audience watching the character perform. he won a tony award for his role.

  • richard madden loves "rubbish pop music" (op note: richard stans, please email him an invite to ontd, thanks!)

  • they all consider themselves shy, socially awkward, or introspective.




comedy showrunners



  • tanya saracho and bill hader were my faves. this roundtable needed more of them.

  • tanya saracho and raul castillo went to high school then college together. she acted with him on looking and now he's on the show she's running, vida and creating backstory for his character which feels surreal.

  • alan yang talks about his writers using moments from their life in their show. he uses the example of an argument ebetween oscar and june about how to properly load the diswasher that one of the writers had with his wife that got ugly.

  • tanya saracho talks about the challenges of doing justice to characters. one of the characters eats a taco like a "white girl" purposely on the show because it makes sense for her backstory and her socials were full of comments from latinx people deriding the show. she also shot a sex scene that was the first of its kind (between a non binary person and a femme top) and wanted to do it justice for the communities it represents and the characters on the show, but being specific and honest enough that it resonates with people outside of those communities.




drama showrunners



  • sera gamble thought penn badgley masturbating in the streets of new york would be a dealbreaker for viewers.

  • [trigger warning]john singleton came up with the rape scene early on in snowfall.

  • each showrunner's persepctive on the outré risk.

  • sera talks about the vocal contention of fans that stan joe; "that romantic comedy behavior in real life is criminal." (op note: )

  • nic pizzolatto on managing audience expectaton and steven canals on destroying narrative for the sake of the audience

  • john singleton was a failed teenage hacker

  • sera gamble is handling her failures and current successes in stride with a very healthy sense of priority. steven canal is me with any form of success and everyone else is some mix of the oscillations between extremes.

  • marti noxon gives great professional advice about what it means to be a good showrunner based on her experiences (op note: i hope d&d's ears were burning...)

  • sam esmail is very, very tall. (op note: [*judging myself])

  • steven canal's pre-writing ritual is binging youtube (currently his go-to is the view because he's reading ladies who punch); loves writing at his kitchen table. (op note: carolinalily would you like to confirm whether or not you are in fact steven canals, if so please tell angel and indya i say "he-e-eeey...!"). john singleton used to go kayaking. sera gamble lit a saint's candle to oliver sacks while writing a pilot about traumatic brain injury. marti noxon loves finding a new place to write.

  • sera gamble wore headphones in bars, restaurants and cafes so she could eavesdrop on people's conversations and use them wholesale in scripts. she specifically used awkward first date banter for you.




sources 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

billy porter>>>>> i really appreciated everything he contributed to this roundtable explicitly discussing his struggles and the struggles of so many actors and creators of color. the roles he's become best known for are roles he had to fight for and create for himself. also, i highly recommend watching the drama actress roundtable for niecy nash alone, which i would have included but it's over two weeks old. feel free to turn this into a post about what shows you're currently watching or looking forward to watching.
also also, someone please make me a gif of richard madden at 40:20-40:23, thank you in advance.