If you get to them early enough on announcement day, you can get newly minted Emmy nominees to talk about pretty much anything. Can you blame them? They're excited at the news, they're happy for their colleagues — they're punch-drunk from getting up at the crack of dawn. Here's how some of our conversations went that caffeine-fueled morning in July.
— Envelope staff
If you could guest-star on another show, what would it be?
"I think [Julia Louis-Dreyfus'] 'Veep.'"
Which job would you want in the White House?
"I'd like to be the bathroom attendant. I'd man her private bathroom. Check for towels. That kind of thing."
—Zachary Quinto, "American Horror Story: Asylum"
What was your most challenging scene?
"The rape scene in Episode 1. If I could just show you the bruise marks I had in the shape of Antarctica on my right thigh. We started off with a bang. And you're just getting to know your character, so it all feels so foreign and terrifying. As the season progresses, you catch your wind and there's a comfort level there. That's the nature of serial TV. It's interesting, as an actress, to approach that, and as the gears start grinding, it's more downhill."
—Vera Farmiga, "Bates Motel"
What show would you want to guest-star on?
"My very best friend ever, Rose Leslie, who plays Ygritte on ['Game of Thrones'], was on 'Downton Abbey.' My Brit sort of says maybe that one. One of the other shows I would very much love to be a part of is 'Mad Men' — walking around that office. Or being a meth head in 'Breaking Bad' — that would be wicked. Then I'd really start seeing dragons.
What would you be doing if you weren't acting?
Something in music. Something creative. I do love singing. I wouldn't say I'm any good, but I definitely love it, especially jazz singing.
If you could duet with Neil Patrick Harris during the show, what would you sing?
"The Way You Look Tonight."
—Emilia Clarke,"Game of Thrones"
What other TV shows would you like to be on?
"'Ray Donovan' — or actually, you know, I would just be, like, a big pendant hung around Kerry [Washington's] neck on 'Scandal.' Or I could be a piece of sculpture in [her character] Olivia Pope's office — a rotating sculpture — just so I could be there. On 'Ray Donovan,' I would be a gangster, or I could be his black brother's mother, to somehow have it out and extort them. Or I could be the secret mistress of the partner who's always flustered."
—Alfre Woodard,"Steel Magnolias"
Any really difficult scenes on either show"?
"The scene where I blast Sarge in 'Top of the Lake' and stab him, that was a tough scene to do. It was really fun to do. I got to scream and yell — it was very cathartic. I had to push my hand into him with a piece of glass in my hand. It's sugar glass, but it's still pointy, and I had to push it into the blood pack on him. The hardest part was getting over my hesitation in doing that. Even though it's all fake, there's this moment where you're like, 'But I could put it in the wrong place or it could go in too far!'"
You also stabbed Abe on "Mad Men." You injured a lot of men on television this season.
"Yes, I'm doing it for women across the globe."
—Elisabeth Moss,"Mad Men," "Top of the Lake"
What else do you have cooking?
"Nothing right now. I'm an unemployed actor. I just got back from India where I did a musical. It's called 'Basmati Blues.' But I'm looking for work. It's nice to get a nomination when you're unemployed.
Do you sing in it?
Oh, yeah. I don't get to sing as much as I'd like to, but I get to sing.
Are you excited about host Neil Patrick Harris? He's quite the song-and-dance man.
"Neil Patrick Harris is everything, that's how we describe him now. He's everything and more. When he was a baby he did a 'Quantum Leap' episode, so I've known him since he was a very, very young lad. I couldn't be happier for everything that's happening for him, he makes me smile."
Would you like to do a song with him?
—Scott Bakula, "Behind the Candelabra"
What category would you like to see added to the Emmy Awards?
"Best Black Guy in a Comedy on Showtime."
What was your most awkward scene?
"I don't really like being naked that much. It's rather drafty at Sony, where we film."
—Don Cheadle, "House of Lies"
What's good on TV?
"I love everything that's part of the gold rush of cable, that I am so lucky to be surfing the tail end of, the new TV-as-cinema movement, I've loved everything that's come out of that. Now I'm in a real romance with network TV. I'm obsessed with the medium on all fronts. I'm not a cable snob. I'm all about 'Scandal,' 'Nashville,' 'Mindy Project,' 'New Girl.' I'm really into 'Orange Is the New Black.' I know that that is in its own brave new world [on Netflix]. And 'The Dog Whisperer,' I know he's off the air but I watched all nine seasons including the one where he went to London."
—Lena Dunham, "Girls"
What was it like working with your wife?
"Some people can't even do the yard work together. Roma [Downey] jokes that the great miracle of 'The Bible' is we're still speaking to each other."
—Mark Burnett, "The Bible"