2021 Emmy Roundtable Portraits

An animated GIF of Bruce Miller, Jurnee Smollett, Anna Konkle and Anthony Mackie
(Photos by Christina House and Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
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Our 2021 Envelope Emmy Roundtables are a wrap but the nominations are right around the corner on July 13. Until then, take a look back at some of our favorite portraits of your favorite contenders. For these pandemic shoots, we celebrate where else but the great outdoors.

Robin Thede on a striped chaise longue
“Back in the day, even 10 years ago, you could make a comedy that was really farcical and really silly and people didn’t need to relate to it. But today if your comedy is not relatable in some sort of way, people don’t want it.”

Robin Thede (“A Black Lady Sketch Show”), on creating topical comedy
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Anna Konkle stands against a wall of magenta bougainvillea.
“I wasn’t as in tune or didn’t want to be as in tune with the idea that I have a lot of shame about being a woman. And that’s just internalized. So we deal with that in the show.”

Anna Konkle (“Pen15”), on making creative and daring comedy
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Anthony Mackie sits on a New Orleans staircase with a white French bulldog.
“The relationship between Black men and America is one of abuse, betrayal, disheartened love and no appreciation. It’s [Sam] having to come to grips with the abusive relationship that he has with the country that he lives in and then having to stand up and fight for that country.”

Anthony Mackie (“The Falcon and the Winter Soldier”), on his character being racially profiled
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Actor Ethan Hawke on a wooden bench with trees behind him in Brooklyn.
“When I was a kid, television just entertained you for as long as they could. The stories didn’t have a beginning, middle and an end. They didn’t have a theme, they didn’t have a thesis, they didn’t have metaphor.”

Ethan Hawke (“The Good Lord Bird”), on television then and now.
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
"Bridgerton" creator Chris Van Dusen sits at the edge of a swimming pool with his feet in the water.
“You look at these period pieces, you look at the books and they are lily, lily white. Injecting race into this world was something that I really wanted to do, and I became a little obsessed as far as cracking that. Once I knew I was going to have this Black queen in this world, everything else started to fall into place.”

Chris Van Dusen (“Bridgerton”), on writing people of color into history
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Suzan-Lori Parks, showrunner of "Genius: Aretha," sits on a bench with trees behind her.
“The word ‘genius’ is most often used historically to note white European. So to really look at the life of a Black American musician, woman, mother, brilliant singer through the lens of genius, our choices were made from that.”

Suzan-Lori Parks (“Genius: Aretha), on shaping the limited series’ narrative
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Kenan Thompson sticks his head between the trunks of eucalyptus trees at Rockefeller Plaza in New York.
“Comedy is presented and thought-out. If there’s any kind of gap or questioning, it kind of throws the audience off.”

Kenan Thompson (“Kenan” and “SNL”), on comedy and spontaneity
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
 Alena Smith, showrunner of "Dickinson," sits on steps that lead to a door.
“I felt like our Zoom room became a kind of consciousness-raising. It was a place where I could come together with some of the minds that I most respect and talk about what was happening and translate it into story.”

Alena Smith (“Dickinson”), on running a writers’ room over Zoom
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Steve McQueen, showrunner of "Small Axe," seated outdoors with plants.
“It was about timing more than anything else. My own timing, where I was in my life at a certain moment. I knew once I planted the seed 11 years ago, I wanted to see how it sprouted, how well it transformed and what it translated into. So it was about preparing myself in my own sort of maturity during that time.

Steve McQueen (“Small Axe”) on letting his five-film project unfold over time
(Chantal Heijnen / For The Times)
Emma Corrin (“The Crown”) sits on a balcony holding her dog.
“People just have this endless fascination but also so much feeling towards her. I think that’s something that people weirdly love about ‘The Crown’; it turns these people who feel very removed from our everyday life into human people with human stories.”

Emma Corrin (“The Crown”), on the responsibility of portraying Princess Diana
(Andrew H. Walker / Shutterstock for SAG Awards)
Showrunner Bruce Miller, "The Handmaid's Tale," sticks his legs out straight on a backyard swing.
“I just don’t want to take the wrong lessons away from last year. The last year was a mother of invention, but we should look at it that way.”

Bruce Miller (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), on what excites and what worries him about the entertainment industry
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Jane Krakowski ("Dickinson") lies on the floor, surrounded by wine bottles labeled "F-U TWENTY TWENTY."
“What I have found so wonderful about coming back right now is the sense of community. Just having our crew chuckle at something, it makes you feel, ‘Oh, thank God, we can still do this.’ People still want to laugh.”

Jane Krakowski (“Dickinson”), on returning to work
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Michiel Huisman ("The Flight Attendant") leans against a pot brimming with yellow African daisies.
“It was strange to pretend that everything was sort of back to normal in front of the camera, right? But also kind of nice?”

Michiel Huisman (“The Flight Attendant”), on returning to work after pandemic closures
(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)
Actress Wanda Sykes of "The Upshaws" sits sideways on a chair with her legs crossed.
“I was in the pet store buying crickets for my sons and my daughters. They got geckos for Christmas. So I’m standing there, holding the bag of crickets, and it’s like I heard my ancestors say, ‘You’ve been around white people too much.’”

Wanda Sykes (“The Upshaws”), on where she finds inspiration for comedy
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
Actress Elisabeth Moss of "The Handmaid's Tale" in a brown gingham dress, seated and smiling.
“We make this show for people who don’t have a voice and for people who feel like they can’t speak up about what’s happening to them, whether that’s on a small scale or a large scale, whether it’s about race or gender, sexual identity.”

Elisabeth Moss (“The Handmaid’s Tale”), on responses to the show
(Taylor Glascock / For The Times)
Jen Statsky, showrunner of "Hacks," stands on a black tile wall in a swimming pool.
“And we just got pulled in different directions, but we kept coming back to this idea. I think you can know something is worth pursuing if you’re hanging out and you keep coming back to this idea, that’s kind of a sign that there’s something there.”

Jen Statsky (“Hacks”), on not giving up on the idea for the show
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
A close-up of a smiling Hugh Grant
“I find it more useful to find real people that one knows and use them as models rather than some academic model. So I was lucky to have Boris Johnson and Donald Trump, narcissistic sociopaths, on my TV screen.”

Hugh Grant (“The Undoing”), on finding inspiration for his character
(Matthew Lloyd / For The Times)
Actress Jurnee Smollett sits on a brick step in the opening of a white-painted gate.
“There was a time in which I just told my agents, ‘Do not send me a horror film, because I know I’m just going to be the Black chick that dies on page 37.’ With ‘Lovecraft Country,’ it was so exciting for me to be a part of a counter-narrative to such a dominant narrative.”

Jurnee Smollett (“Lovecraft Country”), on breaking down genre barriers
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)