Tony Gilroy on ‘Andor’ Emmy Nominations and WGA Strike – IndieWire

Star Wars has once again entered to the Emmys, thanks to Tony Gilroy’s exceptional “Andor,” a limited series about the rebel leader played by Diego Luna. “Andor” is the highest-rated live-action Star Wars property (yes, it’s higher than “Empire Strikes Back” on Rotten Tomatoes), and along with “Obi-Wan Kenobi” joins “The Mandalorian” among the rare genre series in the Emmys race. The show garnered a total of eight nominations, including for writing, cinematography, and Outstanding Drama Series.

As praise piled on for the political action series, Gilroy told IndieWire in November about the challenges of television versus film, especially for a property so beloved not only by its audience, but by those working tirelessly behind the scenes.

“It’s really a business driven by obsession; all the people that are great department heads and all the people that are great writers, directors — they’re all obsessed,” he told IndieWire last fall. “So when you put a team together of people that are super obsessed, and then you suddenly realize that you’re responsible for 700 pages of shootable material, and it all has to be designed from scratch because you can’t use anything that’s real but you want to make it real — you have the extra level of trying to make it real — it’s a thing.”

He also stressed the importance of the scripts to make everything else fall into place — advice not lost at the moment, months into the WGA strike. Gilroy (who is also on strike) took some time out of Emmy nomination day to say thanks, and to speak with IndieWire about his first Emmy season and the interplay of streaming and the strike.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

IndieWire: I will say IndieWire did predict this nomination, but how did you feel heading into today?

Oh, I was trying to tune it out, so it’s a very pleasant surprise.

Do you have a specific reason for that, maybe to not jinx or put too much importance on it?

I’m not that superstitious about it. I’m tuning so many things out of my mind right now, it just didn’t seem like a healthy place to be planning on something good happening for the show on that. So it was a great surprise. It was very, very, very pleasing.

I feel like genre shows like this that are part of big franchises sometimes don’t get the acknowledgement they deserve. What’s your feeling on that?

I’m a newbie. I learned all about the Emmys in the last year. I hadn’t been part of that community, so it’s not my area of expertise. I couldn’t tell you who won the last 10 years. I’ll be up to speed soon enough. But the whole last year has been affirmation on the show that we’re delivering on something that’s trying to be more than a genre show.

You’re nominated for writing, directing, cinematography – do you have any comment about the rest of the team’s nominations?

I know that there’s spots where — we have no actors and I think our cast is amazing, everybody thinks it — but somebody just asked me if there was one award that [means] the most and I just think that the fact that we’re one of the top shows, that nomination is for everybody in our entire community. And it’s an enormous community of people at Pinewood. I hope they’re all taking pride in that today.

Have you spoken to the cast or the rest of the team?

No, I’m really exiled from the show right now. So I keep my communications to zero; a couple of texts between producers and whatever, congratulations, but I’m not in contact with the show at the moment.

You mentioned at an FYC event that you were going to drop all of the scripts, is that something you’re still considering?

We were about to do that, but then when the strike hit we felt that that constituted promotional material and we didn’t want to do that. So I’m very eager to do that when the strike is over. We were literally about to pull the trigger on it and we held back because of the strike.

I know it’s hard to look down the pipeline, but where would you like to be, come Emmys time regarding both seasons and the strike?

I’m getting used to the fact that I’m not in charge of everything in the world that’s happening. I’m just taking the changes as they come and I’m really hoping that the WGA and SAG can hold firm and and save this industry that we love so much. I hope that the creative community can do what the business community in Hollywood seems to be failing to do, which is to try to preserve something amazing that’s been one of the great industries in American culture.

Whether or not you win, do you think the nominations could change the stakes or the feeling going back into Season 2 when you get to do that?

Oh, I have no idea. I mean everybody’s waiting for midnight now, and then they’re waiting for something else, so I don’t really know. That would be vainglorious, I think, to try to anticipate where we would sit on that. I’m just waiting to see what happens. I’m getting very atypically comfortable with not being in charge.

How weird is it even having to take this call and talk about a nomination months into a strike on the heels of maybe another one?

I’m doing this today to say thank you, and I’m hoping this doesn’t come off as a promotional idea. We just really want to say thank you and stress our appreciation to the voters and audience. It’s also a chance to really speak about the strike a little bit and how much we support it even as we’re being impacted by it.

Critics have raved about it, but it doesn’t necessarily have the highest viewership for Star Wars. What would you tell people who have maybe hesitated to watch it?

I’m gonna go back to the strike then. One of the central issues of this entire labor experience is that I don’t have any idea what the audience is. We don’t know what that is, and I think that the obscurity of data doesn’t help anyone. Really. I think it looks like low-hanging fruit and easy profitability for certain corporations, but in the end it just crushes any kind of free market. It crushes the economics of the business, it means people are being overpaid and underpaid and never properly paid. It means that productions are overloaded with expenses up top because what used to be commonly residuals and royalties now have to be front loaded. I think it’s distorted and warped and is close to ruining this amazing industry. So I wish I knew how many people watched, I wish I knew who they were, and I’m not sure that that’s possible.

“Andor” Season 1 is now streaming on Disney+. The 75th Annual Emmy Awards will air September 18 at 8 p.m. EDT on Fox.


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