When Pamela Adlon found out she was nominated for an Emmy in the Outstanding Lead in a Comedy category for her work on the critically acclaimed FX series Better Things, she could hardly believe it. “I’ve been doing this for, like, 40 years!” the actor tells EW. “I think I’m still in shock.”
We spoke to Adlon her show’s Emmy nomination, season 2 of Better Things, and her next big role in… a Transformers movie?
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was your reaction when you heard about your nomination?
PAMELA ADLON: When my manager told me, I was in shock. I think I’m still in shock. It’s just such a weird thing. Somebody at my recording session today said, “What was it that you were nominated for?” And I said, “I am currently, now, right this second, this year nominated for leading actress in a comedy.” It’s so weird!
Why is it so weird? The show got rave reviews!
[A nomination] was never on my radar at all. I just didn’t expect it. I know that my show’s good, but I’m just a working-class person, so I didn’t think that that kind of thing would ever happen to me. My show means everything for me, but being nominated for acting is an amazing thing, because that’s the thing I’ve been doing for, like, 40 years. So it’s a special moment in my life as a journeyman actor.
You actually have an Emmy for your voice work on King of the Hill from back in the day. Does this one feel different?
Well, they did it then like a juried award, so it was a jury of my peers that voted to give me the Emmy — which was an unbelievable feeling. That was big too, because a lot of celebrities were doing voice parts and getting Emmys. There’s a group of us actors [from voice-over circles], and we’ve been kicking around for years. So anytime something like this happens to me, I feel like it helps lurch this whole group forward and keeps us all alive and viable.
How is season 2 of Better Things coming along?
I shot 40 days, all on location, for 10 episodes — and I directed every episode. It was like doing Amazing Race and Survivor. It was hardcore. But it was easier than last season. It just feels so good, and it’s so rewarding — the material is just so rich. I can’t f—ing wait for people to see it.
Things are obviously going well for you, but what about your character Sam Fox — is her life getting better?
She’s just working hard. And she’s with her kids, which is also work, but she has a solid work ethic, let’s put it that way. Life s— happens, and there are some outside forces — both malevolent forces and kind forces — that happen as well.
You’re going to be in a Transformers spin-off movie called Bumblebee, which seems like a very different kind of project for you. How’s that been going?
It’s not what I’m used to! But it’s too early to tell. I did a table read this morning, so… we’ll see!
Better Things season 2 premieres Thursday, Sept. 14 at 10 p.m. on FX. The 69th annual Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Stephen Colbert, will take place on Sunday, Sept. 17, at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles and will be broadcast live nationwide on CBS.