Punch-Drunk With Transparent‘s Gaby Hoffmann & Amy Landecker

Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images.
"I’m just gonna say it," Gaby Hoffmann half-yells, one leg dangling over on the back of an armchair while she stretches her hips. "We haven’t seen a single episode of this season. I don’t remember shit. I’m just making stuff up." Hoffmann and her Transparent co-star, Amy Landecker, have been cooped up in a hotel room together all day long. When I walked in, they had just finished braiding one another's hair. By this point, they are, by their own admission, deeply punch-drunk. "You’ve seen more than we’ve seen," Landecker, who plays the oldest of the three Pfefferman kids on the series, adds. "I’m a little sad, because one of my very favorite scenes is in the first three episodes and no one’s brought it up to me, so it can’t be as funny as I think it is — when I get kicked out of the temple because I say inappropriate shit. I thought that was the best scene." For the record, it is a hilarious scene and I tell her that. "Right? And the Jurassic Park line that Jill wrote and then I did the improv of making the sound of the dinosaur?" Landecker responds, the volume of her voice dialing up. Hoffmann loops her leg off the chair and then collapses into the cushion, saying, "You’ve been talking about this dinosaur improv so much." Her TV sister makes a face at her and then they both giggle. If you didn't know better, it might seem like these two actresses were actual siblings, quick to call one another out on their nonsense and make inside jokes. Even their speech patterns have seemingly taken on a similar cadence. I might be projecting after two seasons of watching them play sisters on the groundbreaking Amazon series, which returns with its third season on September 23. Then we really get the interview going and I realize: It's not in my head. There's something distinctly sibling-like about the conversational pitter-patter of these two. See for yourself in our exchange below — and keep an eye out for season three spoilers! So, obviously, I want to ask you about scoops.
Gaby Hoffmann: “What’s 'scoops'?” Like stuff about the show that people want to know that are secrets.
Amy Landecker: "Oh, scoops. That we never tell anyone, but we would just tell you, because you’re pretty and it’s the end of the day?” GH: “We probably will tell you because you’re pretty [laughs].” That’s the goal.
GH: “I just gotta move around, because I’m having some hip pain." AL: “I don’t want to say anything. But the pet turtle’s demise? It’s possible the turtle is still alive.” GH: “I get to be in a flashback episode playing a different character.” AL: “That’s a big scoop!" That is a big scoop. AL: “That’s a big scoop. She hasn’t let us talk about that all day.” GH: “I’m not gonna say who, though.” AL: “No, she hasn’t let us say it. I have been talking about the fact — and I just want to keep pushing this young girl’s performance — that there is a trans child [who], at the age of like 12, will blow your mind with her acting ability. They found [her] through an outreach through the casting’s a big deal to put yourself out there at that age. This is not a country or whole world that is wholly loving and accepting, so it takes a tremendous amount of courage. This girl gives a heartbreaking, blow-your-mind [performance]. The story does, too: It’s one of the best episodes. I just think it’s exquisite. "One of the things [they] did, casting-wise, that was so subtle and interesting and important was they really wanted a girl to play Maura as a child, because Maura has always been a girl. That’s the problem: The world sees it like, ‘Oh you transitioned.’ [We're] wanting to get away from even using that terminology." In your own lives, do you see parallels between what's going on in Transparent and what's happening with the trans movement? AL: “Unfortunately, I see the side of that, which is like all of this transphobic legislation that’s being introduced, particularly in the South and in North Carolina. In a way, that’s part of what a topic coming to the surface — that’s what happens. It means were moving in the right direction when there’s pushback.” GH: “Yeah, when there’s that much resistance.” AL: "But it’s certainly painful and when you’re working closely with people who you adore and who are family to realize that it’s unbelievable that the world discriminates against them actively...and you know, there’s probably nobody who despises Trump more than me, but there’s something amazing when Trump says Caitlyn Jenner can use whatever bathroom she wants. So in a weird way, you also feel like you’re penetrating on some level...we love to separate ourselves, by how much pigment you have, by what your genitals grew to, it’s so absurd." GH: “We are like a second into our history as humans. Nothing has happened yet in terms of, you know, the cosmos. I mean, we just got here. We’re definitely headed for a brighter future.” AL: “Aww, that’s so nice.” Do either of you remember the first time you came in contact with a trans individual in your own lives?

AL: “You know, it was Alexandra Billings [who also stars on Transparent, as Maura's friend Davina]. I’m from Chicago; I grew up there, [lived there] my whole life until like my mid-30s. Alex was a big actress in the theater scene and I saw her onstage and, honestly, it was the first time that I’d seen a trans person — that I was aware of, that I knew was trans, that was out as trans. "I worked then at the AIDS Foundation as my day job and she was one of the first openly vocal HIV-positive trans women. So it was amazing to me: We both still pinch ourselves. We were at the Emmys last year and we were like, ‘What the hell?’ That we have jobs, that we’re on the same show, that we get to share this experience together. It blows my mind that that’s who I get to be with. When she got cast, I was thrilled — she’s such an amazing person.” GH: “And a phenomenal actress.” AL: “And a phenomenal actress, yeah.” GH: “I honestly cannot remember..." AL: “...because she grew up in the Chelsea Hotel, she was probably breast-fed by a trans woman.” GH: “Yeah I can’t remember. I was a kid [when I became aware of trans]. I’m about to be 35 and I still have moments of truly appreciating — I don’t mean appreciating, like being grateful, [though] I have that too — but really just appreciating, feeling how absolutely unusual it is that I grew up in a community of people, a very large wonderful crazy community of people, for whom there was no greater value placed on anything than being yourself." This interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity. Transparent returns to Amazon with its third season on September 23.

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