Felicity Huffman

Actress


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In the over two-hour solo portion of her interview, Felicity Huffman discusses her childhood love of acting and her first television role, on an ABC Afterschool Special. She describes attending New York University and meeting her future husband, actor William H. Macy when she studied with him and playwright David Mamet at the Practical Aesthetics Workshop (now the Atlantic Acting School). She then details founding the Atlantic Theater Company in New York, an appearance on The X-Files, and being cast on the Aaron Sorkin-created show, Sports Night. For Sports Night, Huffman describes the casting process, working with Sorkin and director Thomas Schlamme, and the ultimate demise of the show. She then moves on to Desperate Housewives, including being cast on the show, her character, “Lynette Scavo,” specific episodes, and working with show creator Marc Cherry. Huffman describes her current role on John Ridley’s American Crime, and concludes by giving advice to aspiring actors and sharing how she would like to be remembered. In their nearly one-hour joint interview, Huffman and Macy tell the story of how they met and the first time they appeared on stage together. They discuss the challenges of balancing their careers and their marriage, the pros and cons of working together, and their favorite stories about each other. They touch on TV movies they worked on together and conclude by sharing where they see themselves in ten years. Adrienne Faillace conducted the interviews on February 2, 2016 in Los Angeles, CA.

“I love the art of TV or film or theater because it can transport you and you can connect to what is wonderful and magical or awful and moving about being human, the truth of the human soul, and it’s a kind of magic.”

Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her childhood and early influences; on studying with David Mamet and William H. Macy, and co-founding the Atlantic Theater Company
On early television appearances; on being fired from a Neil Simon play and a TV pilot
On being cast on Sports Night; on production of the show; on her character, "Dana Whitaker"
On the cancellation of Sports Night; on the premise of the show; on William H. Macy's role on Sports Night
On appearing on Frasier; on the film "Transamerica"; on winning a Golden Globe and being nominated for an Academy Award for "Transamerica"

Chapter 2

On being cast on Desperate Housewives; on the show's production schedule; on working with show creator Marc Cherry
On working with the cast of Desperate Housewives; on her character, "Lynette Scavo"
On the five-year time jump between seasons 4 and 5 of Desperate Housewives; on the popularity of the show; on specific episodes
On winning an Emmy for Desperate Housewives; on being cast on American Crime; on working with John Ridley and Timothy Hutton
On the anthology format of American Crime; on live-tweeting American Crime
On what she enjoys about acting; on opportunities from women in the television industry; on advice to aspiring actors

Chapter 3

START OF JOINT INTERVIEW WITH FELICITY HUFFMAN AND WILLIAM H. MACY: On how they met; on David Mamet; on the first play in which they appeared together
On the pros and cons of working together; on TV movies they appeared in; on the challenges of guest-starring on a TV series
On starting a family together; on seeing each other in love scenes with other actors; on receiving their stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
On the film "Rudderless"; on how they help each other prepare for roles
On watching each other's work and their own; on balancing their careers and their marriage; on their favorite stories about each other; on where they see themselves in ten years
Shows

ABC Afterschool Specials

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Felicity Huffman on appearing on an ABC Afterschool Special called "Home Run for Love" when she was fifteen
02:06

American Crime

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Felicity Huffman on being cast on American Crime, meeting with show creator John Ridley, and grappling with her character, "Barb Hanlon's," motivations
04:41
Felicity Huffman on shooting the pilot episode of American Crime and working with show creator John Ridley and co-star Timothy Hutton
04:50
Felicity Huffman on the anthology format of American Crime
00:42
Felicity Huffman on her character on season 2 of American Crime, "Leslie Graham"
02:33
Felicity Huffman on live-tweeting during the broadcasts of American Crime
04:31

Cheers

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Felicity Huffman on a moment during her time on Frasier that was a nod to Cheers
01:36

Desperate Housewives

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Felicity Huffman on being cast on Desperate Housewives
02:58
Felicity Huffman on shooting the first season of Desperate Housewives after appearing in "Transamerica," and the immediate success of the show
03:05
Felicity Huffman on the production schedule for Desperate Housewives
00:57
Felicity Huffman on her experience with fame during her time on Desperate Housewives
00:45
Felicity Huffman on her initial impressions of the Desperate Housewives script and show creator Marc Cherry's writing
02:14
Felicity Huffman on working with Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry
01:54
Felicity Huffman on working with the cast of Desperate Housewives
01:16
Felicity Huffman on her Desperate Housewives character, "Lynette Scavo"
01:54
Felicity Huffman on the wardrobe of her Desperate Housewives character, "Lynette Scavo"
01:43
Felicity Huffman on her Desperate Housewives character, "Lynette Scavo's" struggle with balancing motherhood and work, and how it related to Huffman's real work-life balance
03:54
Felicity Huffman on her Desperate Housewives character, "Lynette Scavo," being diagnosed with cancer in season 3 of the show
01:52
Felicity Huffman on the five-year time jump between the fourth and fifth seasons of Desperate Housewives
01:12
Felicity Huffman on the relationship between her Desperate Housewives character, "Lynette Scavo" and her husband, "Tom Scavo," played by Doug Savant
03:29
Felicity Huffman on why Desperate Housewives resonated with so many people
01:28
Felicity Huffman on her favorite scenes and moments on Desperate Housewives
01:11
Felicity Huffman on the Desperate Housewives episode, "Bang"
01:58
Felicity Huffman on the Desperate Housewives episode, "Something's Coming"
02:03
Felicity Huffman on winning the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Desperate Housewives in 2005
01:53
Felicity Huffman on the legacy of Desperate Housewives
01:51
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Huffman's experience at the advertising upfronts for the first season of Desperate Housewives and how Macy helped her in a tough moment
01:21

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Felicity Huffman on winning the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Desperate Housewives in 2005
01:53

Frasier

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Felicity Huffman on her experiences during her guest arc on Frasier, and how that role led to her being cast in "Transamerica"
04:23
Felicity Huffman on a moment during her time on Frasier that was a nod to Cheers
01:36

Shameless

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Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on what it's like to see their real-life spouse acting in love scenes, particularly when Macy's character on Shameless was in love
02:26

Sports Night

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Felicity Huffman on being cast on Sports Night
03:21
Felicity Huffman on what she likes about Aaron Sorkin's writing, particularly on Sports Night
01:45
Felicity Huffman on working with director Thomas Schlamme on Sports Night
00:54
Felicity Huffman on the production of Sports Night
01:32
Felicity Huffman on working with Robert Guillaume on Sports Night and the stroke he suffered during production of the show
01:24
Felicity Huffman on her character on Sports Night, "Dana Whitaker"
01:08
Felicity Huffman on her conflicted feelings about the relationship between her character on Sports Night, "Dana Whitaker" and Peter Krause's character, "Casey McCall"
01:52
Felicity Huffman on not remembering when Sports Night was cancelled, but recalling the moment it was picked up for a second season
01:39
Felicity Huffman on filming the finale of Sports Night
01:47
Felicity Huffman on the premise of Sports Night
01:26
Felicity Huffman on the end of Sports Night and William H. Macy's character on the show ("Sam Donovan")
02:13
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy's guest appearance on Sports Night
01:07

X-Files, The

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Felicity Huffman on appearing on an episode of The X-Files in 1993
02:24
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
Felicity Huffman on ABC's hands-off approach to American Crime
00:46

Characters & Catchphrases

View Topic
Felicity Huffman on her character on Sports Night, "Dana Whitaker"
01:08
Felicity Huffman on her conflicted feelings about the relationship between her character on Sports Night, "Dana Whitaker" and Peter Krause's character, "Casey McCall"
01:52
Felicity Huffman on her Desperate Housewives character, "Lynette Scavo"
01:54
Felicity Huffman on her character on season 2 of American Crime, "Leslie Graham"
02:33

Classic TV series episodes

View Topic
Felicity Huffman on the episode of Sports Night where her character, "Dana Whitaker" kissed Peter Krause's character, "Casey McCall"
00:50

Comedy

View Topic
Felicity Huffman on the episode of Sports Night where her character, "Dana Whitaker" kissed Peter Krause's character, "Casey McCall"
00:50

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Felicity Huffman on her early interest in acting and theater
00:57
Felicity Huffman on studying with David Mamet and William H. Macy at the Practical Esthetics Workshop (now the Atlantic Acting School) and co-founding the Atlantic Theater Company
04:40
Felicity Huffman on mentors she's had throughout her life
01:18

Criticism of TV

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Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how parenthood has affected their opinion of television and the messages it sends to women, in particular
01:23

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Felicity Huffman on her Desperate Housewives character, "Lynette Scavo's" struggle with balancing motherhood and work, and how it related to Huffman's own work-life balance
03:54
Felicity Huffman on how roles for women on television have changed since she started in the industry
02:32

Emmy Awards

View Topic
Felicity Huffman on winning the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Desperate Housewives in 2005
01:53

Fame and Celebrity

View Topic
Felicity Huffman on the immediate success of Desperate Housewives
01:16
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on receiving their stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
01:55
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how they've used their celebrity to champion causes
01:36

First Big Break

View Topic
Felicity Huffman on appearing on an ABC Afterschool Special called "Home Run for Love" when she was fifteen
02:06
Felicity Huffman on appearing on the Stephen King miniseries Golden Years, which she considers her first big break
01:49

New Media

View Topic
Felicity Huffman on live-tweeting during the broadcasts of American Crime
04:31

Overcoming Adversity

View Topic
Felicity Huffman on two stories of being fired: one, in a Neil Simon play (by Simon himself) and again on a TV show which was recast after they had shot the pilot
06:02

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Felicity Huffman on her early interest in acting and theater
00:57
Felicity Huffman on appearing on an ABC Afterschool Special called "Home Run for Love" when she was fifteen
02:06
Felicity Huffman on studying with David Mamet and William H. Macy at the Practical Esthetics Workshop (now the Atlantic Acting School) and co-founding the Atlantic Theater Company
04:40
Felicity Huffman on appearing on the Stephen King miniseries Golden Years, which she considers her first big break
01:49
Felicity Huffman on two stories of being fired: one, in a Neil Simon play (by Simon himself) and again on a TV show which was recast after they had shot the pilot
06:02
Felicity Huffman on her work in the film "Transamerica"
05:06
Felicity Huffman on winning a Golden Globe and being nominated for an Academy Award for her work on "Transamerica"
01:13
Felicity Huffman on her proudest career achievement
01:38
Felicity Huffman on mentors she's had throughout her life
01:18
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the first production in which they performed together: David Mamet's play "Bobby Gould in Hell" at Lincoln Center
02:42
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the film "Rudderless," directed by Macy and starring Huffman, and Macy's directing style
04:00

Pop Culture

View Topic
Felicity Huffman on the episode of Sports Night where her character, "Dana Whitaker" kissed Peter Krause's character, "Casey McCall"
00:50
Felicity Huffman on her character on Sports Night, "Dana Whitaker"
01:08
Felicity Huffman on her conflicted feelings about the relationship between her character on Sports Night, "Dana Whitaker" and Peter Krause's character, "Casey McCall"
01:52
Felicity Huffman on her Desperate Housewives character, "Lynette Scavo"
01:54
Felicity Huffman on her character on season 2 of American Crime, "Leslie Graham"
02:33
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the duet they performed as presenters at the 2012 Golden Globes
01:40
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on receiving their stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
01:55

Television Industry

View Topic
Felicity Huffman on the immediate success of Desperate Housewives
01:16
Felicity Huffman on ABC's hands-off approach to American Crime
00:46
Felicity Huffman on live-tweeting during the broadcasts of American Crime
04:31
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the challenges of being a guest star on a hit TV series
01:25
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how parenthood has affected their opinion of television and the messages it sends to women, in particular
01:23
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on which television shows they are currently watching
01:33
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how they've used their celebrity to champion causes
01:36

Women

View Topic
Felicity Huffman on her Desperate Housewives character, "Lynette Scavo's" struggle with balancing motherhood and work, and how it related to Huffman's own work-life balance
03:54
Felicity Huffman on how roles for women on television have changed since she started in the industry
02:32
Professions

Actor

View Profession
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College and how that led to Macy teaching acting in New York, where Huffman studied with him
03:40
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how they help each other prepare for roles and the challenges of preparation as an actor
06:18
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on watching each other's work and their own, and how much they prepare for roles
02:33

Actress

View Profession
Felicity Huffman on what she likes about acting and the importance of storytelling
01:27
Felicity Huffman on advice for aspiring actors
00:55
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College and how that led to Macy teaching acting in New York, where Huffman studied with him
03:40
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how they help each other prepare for roles and the challenges of preparation as an actor
06:18
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on watching each other's work and their own, and how much they prepare for roles
02:33

Directors

View Profession
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the film "Rudderless," directed by Macy and starring Huffman, and Macy's directing style
04:00

Performers

View Profession
Felicity Huffman on what she likes about acting and the importance of storytelling
01:27
Felicity Huffman on advice for aspiring actors
00:55
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College and how that led to Macy teaching acting in New York, where Huffman studied with him
03:40
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how they help each other prepare for roles and the challenges of preparation as an actor
06:18
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on watching each other's work and their own, and how much they prepare for roles
02:33
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Felicity Huffman on Sports Night
19:53
Felicity Huffman on her guest arc on Frasier
06:00
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy's guest appearance on Sports Night
01:07

Daytime/Primetime Serials

View Genre
Felicity Huffman on Desperate Housewives
37:57
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Huffman's experience at the advertising upfronts for the first season of Desperate Housewives and how Macy helped her in a tough moment
01:21

Drama Series

View Genre
Felicity Huffman on American Crime
17:21

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

View Genre
Felicity Huffman on appearing on an episode of The X-Files in 1993
02:24

TV Movies/Miniseries/Dramatic Specials

View Genre
Felicity Huffman on appearing on an ABC Afterschool Special called "Home Run for Love" when she was fifteen
02:06
Felicity Huffman on appearing on the Stephen King miniseries Golden Years, which she considers her first big break
01:49
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the TV movie The Water Engine, based on the David Mamet play
01:55
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the TV movie A Slight Case of Murder, written by Macy and Steven Schachter
02:12
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the Showtime miniseries Out of Order, in which they both appeared
01:41
People

Marc Cherry

View Person Page
Felicity Huffman on Marc Cherry's surprising take on her audition for Desperate Housewives
00:45
Felicity Huffman on her initial impressions of the Desperate Housewives script and show creator Marc Cherry's writing
02:14
Felicity Huffman on working with Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry
01:54

Kelsey Grammer

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Felicity Huffman on working with Kelsey Grammer on Frasier
00:49

Robert Guillaume

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Felicity Huffman on working with Robert Guillaume on Sports Night and the stroke he suffered during production of the show
01:24

Felicity Huffman

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Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy's favorite stories about Huffman
02:40

Peter Krause

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Felicity Huffman on her conflicted feelings about the relationship between her character on Sports Night, "Dana Whitaker" and Peter Krause's character, "Casey McCall"
01:52

William H. Macy

View Interview Page
Felicity Huffman on studying with David Mamet and William H. Macy at the Practical Aesthetics Workshop (now the Atlantic Acting School) and co-founding the Atlantic Theater Company
04:40
Felicity Huffman on the end of Sports Night and William H. Macy's role on the show ("Sam Donovan")
02:13
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on what Macy was like as an acting teacher (which is how they first met)
01:08
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Huffman's favorite story about Macy
02:43

David Mamet

View Person Page
Felicity Huffman on studying with David Mamet and William H. Macy at the Practical Aesthetics Workshop (now the Atlantic Acting School) and co-founding the Atlantic Theater Company
04:40
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy studying acting with David Mamet at Goddard College and how that led to Macy teaching acting in New York, where Huffman studied with him
03:40
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the TV movie The Water Engine, based on the David Mamet play
01:55

John Ridley

View Person Page
Felicity Huffman on meeting with show creator John Ridley before being cast on American Crime
01:29
Felicity Huffman on a lesson she learned from John Ridley on the set of American Crime
02:57

Thomas Schlamme

View Interview Page
Felicity Huffman on working with director Thomas Schlamme on Sports Night
00:54

Neil Simon

View Person Page
Felicity Huffman on being fired from a Neil Simon play by Simon himself
03:29

Aaron Sorkin

View Person Page
Felicity Huffman on being cast on Sports Night, and being familiar with Aaron Sorkin through the theater world
03:21
Felicity Huffman on what she likes about Aaron Sorkin's writing, particularly on Sports Night
01:45

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