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Chicago native Amy Landecker goes ‘Transparent’ on us

Amy Landecker stars in the new Amazon series “Transparent.”



In the new Amazon series “Transparent,” Chicago native Amy Landecker plays a woman whose father’s decision to live the rest of his life as a woman, leads her and her siblings to also fess up to their own deeply held secrets. It debuts on Sept. 26. Landecker, whose career has included memorable roles in films like “A Serious Man,” “Enough Said,” and “Dan In Real Life,” has also been a major voice-over talent and counts many appearances on such hit TV shows as “Louie,” “Revenge,” and a couple of the “Law & Order” series. Landecker is also the daughter of veteran Chicago radio star and broadcaster John Records Landecker.

Q: Before we get into talking about “Transparent,” I have to ask you about something I didn’t know about you — that you’re great-grandfather was Joseph Welch, the famous lawyer who prosecuted Sen. Joe McCarthy during the “Red Scare” of the early 1950s.

A: Yes, that’s true. He was my mom’s grandfather. I recently told my daughter about that and she went to school to talk to her teachers about it. Only problem, they knew nothing about him or the McCarthy Hearings. Kind of depressing that they didn’t know who he was. And here I send my daughter to this fancy private school here in L.A.! The teachers should know.

Q: What’s it like to be part of show like ‘Transparent,’ which is another new series that is viewing-on-demand. It must be cool to be part of that.

A: You’re right. Speaking of kids, my daughter, who’s 10, can’t even conceive of the fact you can’t just pause a show, or come back to it or watch it whenever you want. When I was growing up, if you missed it, you missed it. Now these shows there’s all kind of time aspects. It can even take a year or two before people can come on and start discovering it.

I love that you can watch it all at once — or that you can pace yourself. There’s no expiration on finding a show as word of mouth spreads.

Q: Jeffrey Tambor plays your father, but he has a sex change, and that’s the crux of the show and how other characters begin revealing their deepest secrets — including you. That said, don’t you agree Jeffrey makes for one ugly woman?

A: [Laughs] I guess I agree, but he is so good in that role. Jill Soloway [who created the series] is so brilliant in creating these characters. She has a wonderful storytelling ability. We’re all basking in her creativity.

Q: You appear to have quite a few racy scenes. Your thoughts on that?

A: You wait! It will, no doubt, make my father blush! It was a very hot summer filming this series — and I’m not talking about the weather!

Q: Of course, just because you get into some heavy lesbian love scenes here, it’s simply doing your job as an actress, right?

A: That’s right. It’s my job. A lot of drama involves romance, and today those romances are able to go in all kinds of directions, thanks to the evolved world we now live in. The second episode goes right into the moment that Jeffrey’s character shows me his truth, which is in the trailer for the show, so I’m not giving anything away.

Q: That’s the scene where Jeffrey responds to the comment about dressing up as a woman, where he says, “I spent my entire life dressing up as a man,” right?

A: Yes, that’s so revealing and heart-wrenching at the same time. It’s so moving and brilliant. It puts it all in perfect perspective and is the beginning of a journey we all go on together. All of his children then go on their own voyages of personal discovery. It’s amazing.

Q: What was it like to have Judith Light play your mother?

A: I love her. She’s not just funny and gorgeous. She’s kind and amazing. To have her as my mother was special. Such a dream. Although, when she’s actually acting in character as my mother — that’s a more troubling experience. [Laughs] But as a person, she’s superb.

Q: What else is coming up for you?

A: I’m writing for the first time. I’m in development on a project with Nicole Holofcener [“Enough Said” director]. I’m trying my hand at writing and executive producing. That’s been a real thrill. It’s a comedy about a single woman, and post-divorce dating. I’m also in a Michael Bay-produced movie in a couple months. It’s a time-travel movie with found footage, so it has sort of ‘Blair Witch’ sensibility to it. It’s called “Project Almanac.”