If anybody can say she's had a crazy year, it's Connie Britton. She broke hearts on Friday Night Lights (ours, not Kyle Chandler's) and then broke new ground on American Horror Story as a jilted housewife with the world's worst real estate agent. After having sex with the notorious Rubber Man and birthing an apocalyptic demon baby, it's a well-deserved treat for Britton to receive her third Emmy nomination for her brilliant work as the troubled Vivien Harmon.
We chatted with Britton about her reaction to the nomination, her fond memories of American Horror Story and her upcoming musical drama Nashville (which we've seen, and it's faaaantastic). See what the former Tami Taylor had to say about being nominated for TV's weirdest — and scariest — show:
HOLLYWOOD.COM: Congratulations! How did you hear the news?
CONNIE BRITTON: Well, I heard the news in my favorite way, because it’s now the way that I’ve always heard the news that I’ve been nominated, which is [from] my cousin, who lives in New York, who is like my sister. She called me. She’s the first one, she beats everyone else to the punch, and she’s like, ‘You’ve been nominated for an Emmy!’”
What was the first thought that entered your head?
Really, the first thing I thought was, I can’t believe it — which actually, I have to say, has been the first thought every time I’ve been nominated for an Emmy! It is full and complete disbelief and surprise.
Does it get old? Or are you just as giddy and excited as you ever were?
I am just as excited and giddy. It’s very interesting. I am now convinced that it just never gets old. In fact, this one is so exciting and rewarding because it’s for a different show, and this was a show that I really loved, too. Friday Night Lights, we were always the little engine that could, and American Horror Story, to get 17 nominations and to have the show be so appreciated and acknowledged is just a really exciting thing, and I feel so grateful to Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk and everyone who’s been a part of it.
What were your thoughts when you heard that the show would be entering as a miniseries?
That’s all technical stuff that I never paid very much attention to. I kind of just got an e-mail about it and I thought, okay! It didn’t really mean anything to me one way or the other. It made sense to me, because it is a limited run show, and it’s a completely different formula than anything else that’s on TV and it makes sense that it has a different category. I just thought, oh yeah, why not?
Have you heard from fellow nominees Jessica Lange, Frances Conroy or Denis O’Hare?
I haven’t connected with them yet. It’s been a little bit of a crazy morning! But again, it’s just really exciting to be in such great company with that amazing cast. They’re all such incredible actors and I think it’s going to be a great celebration of that experience that we had.
In ten years, when you think back to your time on AHS, what memory will pop into your head?
It will probably be… having sex with the Rubber Man. [laughs] But you know what? I will say that giving birth to the anti-christ definitely was a close second.
Ah, I should have known!
I mean, come on! As an actor, what a dream come true, to be able to do those things.
So, you played an accountant, a school principal, a dead mental hospital patient and now a country singer! When you look back on your roles so far, what do you think?
Honestly, this morning is a morning where as an actor, I’m really pinching myself, because to have the opportunity to play this wide a range of characters and to be able to do them at the level and quality that I’ve been able to do them, working with these incredible people — that’s absolutely, quintessentially what you dream about as an actor. It just doesn’t get any better than this.
What are you most excited for people to get out of Nashville?
I’m actually really excited. T-Bone Burnett is doing the music and the music is just going to be off the hook. I hope it’s going to be music that’s going to make this into really innovative television. It’s going to be a quality and a level of music that we haven’t seen before on TV, and I think there’s also going to be a complexity and a lot of variation to the music. Beyond that, I also think that the storytelling is going to have a lot of complexity. We’re trying to tell a very full story of Nashville and these characters in Nashville, and I’m really hopeful that we’re going to be able to do something as innovative as American Horror Story and Friday Night Lights. And I think so far, we’re on the right path for that.
What are Connie's three ingredients for surviving Emmy season?
I don’t know what’s going to work for everybody, but what’s going to have to work for me is I’m going to be working my little tail off, so I think distraction is probably a good thing! I think the most important thing about the Emmys stuff is just to enjoy it. It can get really stressful in weird ways, and I have definitely experienced that. This year, I really just want to have it be a fun celebration!
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