It’s late May in Hollywood and 25 of TV’s Unsung Heroes have gathered at Siren Orange Studios in Los Angeles for The Hollywood Reporter’s supporting actor/actress photo shoot.
But to see the stars from series including The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Justified, Mad Men, Burn Notice, Suburgatory, The Big Bang Theory, Smash and more interact, the mood was more like a fan convention.
Justified’s Walton Goggins made a beeline for Game of Thrones’ Kit Harington, where the two debated who’d fare best on their respective series. “I’d want a really big sword, I’d have one day on the call sheet because I would take some people down! But I’d be killed right away,” Goggins laughed. “I’d walk onto your show with my sword and just get shot point blank!” the man also known as Jon Snow retorted.
For others, like House of Lies’ Kristen Bell, the shoot was an opportunity to reunite with friends — and pitch ideas for Season 2 of her Showtime comedy. “I worked with [Dexter star] Jennifer Carpenter a long time ago — we moved out to L.A. together and shared our first apartment — so I’d love to rekindle that and have her come maybe as a regular next season on House of Lies,” she said. “It’s Showtime, so let’s keep it in the family!”
The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal, meanwhile, was just blown away to be in the midst of such company as Sons of Anarchy’s Ron Perlman, Boardwalk Empire’s Michael Pitt and Mad Men’s Jared Harris as he’s big fans of all three dramas. “I don’t want to sound like a cornball, but I’m very honored to be here and it’s very cool to see all these people who I see in my living room,” he said. “To be in the same shoot with them is an honor.”
Naya Rivera, who swapped spots with Bernthal midway through the shoot, said it’s Glee’s team attitude that makes the show such a blast to be a part of. “I feel like we’re all one big family, and we’re all working toward a common goal: To make each episode amazing,” she noted. “It never feels like you’re ‘in the background’ because even if you seemingly are, I’m having a blast in the back of the choir room with [co-stars] Kevin McHale or Amber Riely, so it’s definitely a team effort. Being a supporting actress on this show has given me everything. This has been the opportunity of a lifetime.”
The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik was thankful to be able to mutter the word “Emmy” in the same sentence as her name — and be in the same room as Up All Night’s Maya Rudloph. “I feel like it’s been one step of gratefulness after another,” she said. “I’m grateful to have gotten a guest spot on Big Bang Theory, then a recurring role then a regular and to even be mentioned in the same sentence with the word Emmy, I’m beyond astonished. It’s been an amazing year.”
Happy Endings co-star Damon Wayans Jr. recalled moments on set where the ensemble cast of the ABC comedy laughs nonstop — and gets to improvise everything from dialogue to dancing. “In the Valentine’s Day episode, I had to do this one long shot with choreography through halls and the writers didn’t give me any choreography so I had to make it up on the fly,” he said. “There’s also a line in the same episode where Jane [Eliza Coupe] was trying to hold me up inside the limo and said, ‘It’s like Weekend at Bernie Mac’s over here.’ That was improved and made me laugh. We laugh pretty much every day on that show.”
For New Girl’s Hannah Simone the best benefit of being part of the Fox ensemble was who she was surrounding herself with day in and day out. “Being part of an ensemble is great because I get to hang out with my friends all day and do fun, weird, zany stuff. With Zooey Deschanel at the helm of our show, you can’t really go wrong.”
Erika Christensen, meanwhile, said the photo shoot reminded her of being part of the huge ensemble on Parenthood. “A show like Parenthood that has 15 regulars, I realized quickly that I started taking them for granted that this is the way that we work,” she said. “I was watching the show and impressed by the actors and realized how special this is. Everyone respects each other so much that it feels like it’s all fun and games but then you watch the finished product and realize it’s something special. I’m very proud to be in this group.”
Community’s Gillian Jacobs noted the benefits of working with a cast that’s so funny on-screen and off: “I look better because they’re good!” she enthused. “I’m feel like I’ve learned a lot from the people I’ve worked with and gotten better as a performer.”
Check out behind the scenes video from THR’s photo shoot below.