AMC is known for its diverse TV shows, representing an array of actors from all walks of life, colors and more. From The Walking Dead, Preacher, Dietland, Better Call Saul and Into the Badlands, AMC prides itself in it diversity and fandom.
To celebrate this achievement, the network held a summit to offer insight into how they tackle their stories, cast and a closer looking to the creative process including their close relationship with their fans.
Moderated by Tamron Hall (The Today Show), the panel showcased seven dynamic actresses including Julianna Margulies (Dietland), Lorraine Toussaint (Into the Badlands), Jenna Elfman (Fear the Walking Dead), and Rhea Seehorn (Better Call Saul). What resulted was a revealing discussion about the evolution of women on television and how females and females of color are represented in the media.
In regards to representation, Angela Kang (The Walking Dead showrunner) spoke about her experience seeing a lack of female role models in the industry, especially Asian women. “I didn’t think there were women, or Asian women running a show. That wasn’t a thing, and how there’s so many more women who are showrunners, and that’s exciting. It sort of breaks some of the barriers to entry, and that makes it an exciting time in our industry.”
Now that the industry is seeing a shift in representation, this allows for richer roles and complex roles for women like Julianna Margulies who loves this newfound freedom in storytelling and tolerance that’s now being accepted and respected. With the #MeToo Movement still ongoing, Margulies revealed her own experience of how producers treated her and other women like objects in order to be hired. Now that their previous behavior is being exposed, there’s hope this can open doors for more women who were previously shun.
Lorraine Toussaint shared her own experience and how she’s more guarded when picking roles.
All the women on this panel, we have enough experience where we’re offered and lucky to be offered roles. And now we’re not sitting like the girls on the side waiting to be chosen by the boys. I now also interview the producers who are offering it to me, because do I actually want to work with these human beings. Yes, the role is interesting, but I’m also old enough where I want kindness. I want an environment where I’m safe and I’m free and I’m trusted. Where I’m charged with this and gifted with this, but you must also trust me because my agenda might not also be yours, and I bet you anything I will take it further than you’ve envisioned because I push myself far further than you would push me. So this is what I ask. And I ask producers really tough questions. Are you a kind human? Tell me what makes you kind. What makes you kind on a set? How are your children? Do they like you? I ask questions that have nothing to do with the work. I want to know the human self.
As for Rhea Seehorn (Batter Call Saul), she proud of her role as lawyer Kim Wexler, a role that wasn’t fully represented on TV when she first auditioned. She credits the writers and showrunners for not shying away from the sexism Wexler faces while working in a mostly male environment, however her inner strenght allows her to become her own person. “She’s a human, which should not be revolutionary, but it is.”
Check out the full interview below.