Jeffrey Tambor on the success of ‘Transparent:’ ‘It’s lifting people’

NEW YORK, Sept. 12 (UPI) — Judith Light and Jeffrey Tambor say they knew immediately their transgender-themed dramedy Transparent was something special and are thrilled so many viewers and critics seem to agree.

The Jill Soloway-created show — which is a current Best Comedy Series Emmy nominee — will kick off its third season on Amazon on Sept. 23. It follows the Pfefferman family as its patriarch transitions from Mort to Maura.

“I didn’t know what my expectations were,” Light told UPI during a roundtable with reporters in New York recently. “I hoped it would be fabulous. I wanted very much for it to be what Jill had said she wanted it to be, which was culture-changing, changing the conversation, dynamically talking about how we treat other human beings.”

Indicating Tambor, who sat beside her during the interview, meticulously brushing crumbs off a table, Light continued: “We’d been friends for many, many years and I really wanted to work with him and I just wanted to do it. … I hadn’t read anything and, after I talked to Jill, I just wanted in so badly. [Tambor and I] both said after the first table read of the pilot that it was the best table read we had ever been to in our entire lives, our entire careers. And those are long careers, as you know. And, so, it was moving and exciting and hopeful.”

“It was quite amazing,” Tambor agreed about that memorable, first rehearsal, confessing that even before then: “I threw myself at Jill. I just went, ‘I’m in!’ … There are about a half-a-dozen times, if that, in a career, where you just go — there it is! I just feel like I’d been waiting for Maura. There she is.”

So, how does it feel to have other people appreciate a project that is so dear to them?

“It’s very exciting that the same way we are sending it, it’s being gotten and that, to me, is so rewarding. When people come up to us and just start talking. They just start talking! ‘That was my wedding,’ they say. And I would go, ‘OK, alright!’ And not always about trans issues or things like that. I think it’s going in on an unconscious level and these are times when we need a lift and it’s lifting people,” Tambor noted.

“And it’s a universal story. The content is of a transgender person, but it is a person who is being their authentic self,” Light chimed in.

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