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Christina Hendricks, Aaron Paul and Allison Williams discuss supporting roles on @Variety

Allison Williams, Aaron Paul and Christina Hendricks, are on the three separate covers. The actors, who star on hit cable shows, Girls, Breaking Bad and Mad Men, respectively, recently featured at the Variety Studio roundtable discussions and on the magazine, they spoke about the importance of supporting roles. 

Excerpts from the piece

Allison Williams
“It’s absolutely changed my life.” Prior to playing Marnie, the actress had only minor credits — a couple spots on the NBC series “American Dreams” as a teenager, and appearances in Internet shorts. In fact, it was a 2010 video, in which she sang the song “Nature Boy” set to the music of the “Mad Men” theme, that caught the eye of producer Judd Apatow, who recommended calling Williams in for the project he was developing with writer-director-star Lena Dunham.
Williams had just moved to Los Angeles from New York, and “Girls” was her first audition in town. While she calls the experience “fairly standard,” she was impressed to meet Dunham right away, and she also made a quick observation. “The room was filled with women,” she says. “There wasn’t a single man there.”
Dunham instantly saw something in Williams. “Allison has an unusual, intelligent sense of humor and a general sparkle that is impossible to ignore,” Dunham notes. “I felt excited and inspired improvising with her. Our energies are so different, and I knew that contrast would inform our scenes in an exciting way. Plus, she’s damn adorable.”

Aaron Paul
“I’ve been doing this now for 17 years,” Paul says. “There were ups and downs, lots of struggles, but I was content, and happy to be working.” Everything changed when he read for “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan, who didn’t take long to become a fan. “I was completely unaware of him as an actor, but he was fantastic from the moment he walked in the door,” Gilligan says.
Paul was unaware, until halfway through the filming of the initial year of “Breaking Bad,” that Jesse wasn’t intended to stick around long. “The plan was to kill him off at the end of the first season,” Gilligan admits. “I figured that character would have served his usefulness, and his death would drive Walter White onward to even more drama in season two. But very quickly I realized that would be a ridiculous thing to do. (Paul) was so very good and he and Bryan (Cranston) had such great chemistry together — no pun intended.”

Christina Hendricks
“I’m absolutely in Joan,” she says. “We all deny that our characters are anything like us, but of course there are parts (of us in them).” Sometimes, she says, those similarities can come from the creatives observing the people who are playing roles. “It’s hard for writers to know their actors that well and not play to their strengths."
Hendricks found herself getting upgraded from guest star to series regular, after “Mad Men” creator Matt Weiner tapped her for the pilot. She had fallen in love with the world represented in the script, and didn’t care that the show was on AMC, then an unproven network. “There was another project (at a broadcast network) I was up for that was not nearly as interesting to me,” she notes, adding that it seemed like a can’t-miss proposition. “In the past, I had done series that seemed like the sure thing,” she says, “and all the elements were in place for them to be a hit. And they didn’t go. So I told myself, ‘Do the one you love.’”
Read the full article here

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