Jessica Biel discusses earning her first Emmy nomination for ‘The Sinner’
In the wake of the tragic deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade earlier this year, an even brighter media spotlight has shone on mental health issues, particularly depression and suicide — which gives even more resonance to Jessica Biel’s mother with ambiguous, violent tendencies, in USA Network’s “The Sinner.”
On Thursday, Biel was nominated for an Emmy for lead actress in a limited series for her role as Cora — a complex character who is not only entertaining to play, she says, but has given her a vehicle to address some pretty weighty and topical issues.
Emmy Roundtables 2018: See interviews with your favorite stars and showrunners
Mandy Moore of 'This Is Us' and '9-1-1's' Angela Bassett on what drew them to their roles
Darren Criss on being a part of the Ryan Murphy orbit
Maggie Gyllenhaal is drawn to the 'sexuality, femininity, power, commerce' of 'The Deuce'
'Stranger Things'' David Harbour makes a connection to 'Gilligan's Island'
For Maggie Gyllenhaal, Darren Criss and David Harbour, the timing of landing a role is important
Jonathan Groff sees ‘Mindhunter’ as a head trip
Jonathan Groff, Angela Bassett, Maggie Gyllenhaal, David Harbour, Mandy Moore and Darren Criss on their latest roles
'I want that job,' says Eric McCormack
'We have all that history together': Sara Gilbert and Eric McCormack talk reviving 'Roseanne' and 'Will & Grace'
'Waiting for Guffman' meets 'Unforgiven': Bill Hader talks about the dark HBO comedy 'Barry'
Where are we catching you this morning and how did you find out you were nominated?
I live in L.A. and New York — but currently I’m in Amsterdam. It’s early evening here – my husband [Justin Timberlake] is on tour. So it was like 5 p.m. for me when I found out — I’d just gotten off a plane from London, I was sitting in the car with my kid.
Does “The Sinner,” and your character Cora in particular, feel especially timely now, in how it addresses issues of mental health? More so than last year, even?
I absolutely think it does. It felt topical to me at the time [we shot it]. And with everything that we’re battling culturally right now, everything in the news about mental health issues, it reminds me – and our whole creative team -- that this was really an incredibly perfect moment to step forward and talk about these challenging things that many of us are experiencing and which is taboo to talk about. Or we feel it is taboo. That’s why certain people don’t get help. So it feels important to shine a light on it and wrap our arms around it as a culture.
Is there a place to address issues regarding the #MeToo movement in your work, given you play such a strong female character, or do you prefer TV as escapism?
My gut feeling is that this movement, the #MeToo movement, is so much bigger than us and our industry. It kind of crosses a lot of borders and is seeping in everywhere – which is a good thing. And we can’t help, as human beings and women, taking things that happened in our lives and finding connections through traumas we’ve experienced, and that our families and friends have experienced. And feel naturally inclined to put that into our work. As artists and creatives, those experiences, to work through that psychologically, is part of what we do.
How will the rest of your day unfold?
It’s 6:40 p.m. here right now. Justin’s flown off somewhere else for a show tomorrow, not in Amsterdam, so I’m gonna toast with my kid.
Emmy contender series 2018: Watch interviews with stars from your favorite TV shows
'Homeland's' Claire Danes talks about the 'magical creature' that is Carrie
Betty Gilpin and her 'GLOW' costars bonded in a 'feminist Montessori' pro wrestling way
Betty Gilpin binge-watched 'The Crown' and caught a case of British accent
'It's not coal mining, but it's not nothing,' Sarah Paulson of 'American Horror Story: Cult'
Sarah Paulson says, 'It was like I had a neck brace,' of her first acting job
"American Horror Story: Cult" plays on star Sarah Paulson's real-life fears
Daniel Brühl was 'blown away' just reading 'Inglourious Basterds'
Puzzling out the mysteries of 'Westworld'? So is Jeffrey Wright, and he stars on the show
Brendan Fraser on picking projects 'we care about'
'The Chi' star Yolonda Ross says it shows 'we're more alike than we think we are'
Inside the business of entertainment
The Wide Shot brings you news, analysis and insights on everything from streaming wars to production — and what it all means for the future.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.