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.”

Interviewee(s)
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

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
Felicity Huffman on shooting the pilot episode of American Crime and working with show creator John Ridley and co-star Timothy Hutton
Felicity Huffman on the anthology format of American Crime
Felicity Huffman on her character on season 2 of American Crime, "Leslie Graham"
Felicity Huffman on live-tweeting during the broadcasts of American Crime

Cheers

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

Desperate Housewives

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Felicity Huffman on being cast on Desperate Housewives
Felicity Huffman on shooting the first season of Desperate Housewives after appearing in "Transamerica," and the immediate success of the show
Felicity Huffman on the production schedule for Desperate Housewives
Felicity Huffman on her experience with fame during her time on Desperate Housewives
Felicity Huffman on her initial impressions of the Desperate Housewives script and show creator Marc Cherry's writing
Felicity Huffman on working with Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry
Felicity Huffman on working with the cast of Desperate Housewives
Felicity Huffman on her Desperate Housewives character, "Lynette Scavo"
Felicity Huffman on the wardrobe of her Desperate Housewives character, "Lynette Scavo"
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
Felicity Huffman on her Desperate Housewives character, "Lynette Scavo," being diagnosed with cancer in season 3 of the show
Felicity Huffman on the five-year time jump between the fourth and fifth seasons of Desperate Housewives
Felicity Huffman on the relationship between her Desperate Housewives character, "Lynette Scavo" and her husband, "Tom Scavo," played by Doug Savant
Felicity Huffman on why Desperate Housewives resonated with so many people
Felicity Huffman on her favorite scenes and moments on Desperate Housewives
Felicity Huffman on the Desperate Housewives episode, "Bang"
Felicity Huffman on the Desperate Housewives episode, "Something's Coming"
Felicity Huffman on winning the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Desperate Housewives in 2005
Felicity Huffman on the legacy of Desperate Housewives
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

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

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"
Felicity Huffman on a moment during her time on Frasier that was a nod to Cheers

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

Sports Night

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

X-Files, The

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

Censorship / Standards & Practices

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

Characters & Catchphrases

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

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"

Comedy

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

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Felicity Huffman on her early interest in acting and theater
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
Felicity Huffman on mentors she's had throughout her life

Criticism of TV

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

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
Felicity Huffman on how roles for women on television have changed since she started in the industry

Emmy Awards

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

Fame and Celebrity

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

First Big Break

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

New Media

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

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

Pivotal Career Moments

View Topic
Felicity Huffman on her early interest in acting and theater
Felicity Huffman on appearing on an ABC Afterschool Special called "Home Run for Love" when she was fifteen
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
Felicity Huffman on appearing on the Stephen King miniseries Golden Years, which she considers her first big break
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
Felicity Huffman on her work in the film "Transamerica"
Felicity Huffman on winning a Golden Globe and being nominated for an Academy Award for her work on "Transamerica"
Felicity Huffman on her proudest career achievement
Felicity Huffman on mentors she's had throughout her life
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
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the film "Rudderless," directed by Macy and starring Huffman, and Macy's directing style

Pop Culture

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

Television Industry

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

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
Felicity Huffman on how roles for women on television have changed since she started in the industry
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
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how they help each other prepare for roles and the challenges of preparation as an actor
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on watching each other's work and their own, and how much they prepare for roles

Actress

View Profession
Felicity Huffman on what she likes about acting and the importance of storytelling
Felicity Huffman on advice for aspiring actors
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
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how they help each other prepare for roles and the challenges of preparation as an actor
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on watching each other's work and their own, and how much they prepare for roles

Directors

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

Performers

View Profession
Felicity Huffman on what she likes about acting and the importance of storytelling
Felicity Huffman on advice for aspiring actors
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
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on how they help each other prepare for roles and the challenges of preparation as an actor
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on watching each other's work and their own, and how much they prepare for roles
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Felicity Huffman on Sports Night
Felicity Huffman on her guest arc on Frasier
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy's guest appearance on Sports Night

Daytime/Primetime Serials

View Genre
Felicity Huffman on Desperate Housewives
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

Drama Series

View Genre
Felicity Huffman on American Crime

Sci-Fi/Supernatural Series

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

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
Felicity Huffman on appearing on the Stephen King miniseries Golden Years, which she considers her first big break
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the TV movie The Water Engine, based on the David Mamet play
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the TV movie A Slight Case of Murder, written by Macy and Steven Schachter
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the Showtime miniseries Out of Order, in which they both appeared
People

Marc Cherry

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

Kelsey Grammer

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Felicity Huffman on working with Kelsey Grammer on Frasier

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

Felicity Huffman

View Interview Page
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Macy's favorite stories about Huffman

Peter Krause

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

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
Felicity Huffman on the end of Sports Night and William H. Macy's role on the show ("Sam Donovan")
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on what Macy was like as an acting teacher (which is how they first met)
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on Huffman's favorite story about Macy

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
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
Felicity Huffman and William H. Macy on the TV movie The Water Engine, based on the David Mamet play

John Ridley

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Felicity Huffman on meeting with show creator John Ridley before being cast on American Crime
Felicity Huffman on a lesson she learned from John Ridley on the set of American Crime

Thomas Schlamme

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Felicity Huffman on working with director Thomas Schlamme on Sports Night

Neil Simon

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

Aaron Sorkin

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Felicity Huffman on being cast on Sports Night, and being familiar with Aaron Sorkin through the theater world
Felicity Huffman on what she likes about Aaron Sorkin's writing, particularly on Sports Night

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