Adam Scott on his first Emmy nomination for “Severance”

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Adam Scott on his first Emmy nomination for "Severance"

To stay afloat and avoid disappointment, Adam Scott said he doesn’t expect big nominations. It’s a healthier state of mind, he said, and he’s gotten used to not hearing his name.

“I didn’t think I would be nominated,” he said. “I was just trying to focus on everyone else and take a walk and get it out of my head.”

After learning he received an Emmy nomination for best actor in the Apple TV+ drama Severance, Scott said it was an honor, alongside actors like Brian Cox, nominated for Succession, and Jason Bateman, nominated for “Ozark” to be called. ”

“Severance,” which is also nominated for Best Drama, paints an eerie picture of the work culture in which employees of an enigmatic, vaguely sinister company called Lumon Industries undergo surgery that separates their work memories from their personal memories in order to save them treat company secrets confidentially. Scott plays Mark Scout who, after losing his wife Gemma (played by Dichen Lachman) in a car accident, replaces monotonous shifts by plugging numbers into digital boxes at Lumon to ensure proper healing.

In a phone interview Tuesday, Scott opened up about the series’ cliffhanger ending and how he used a personal loss to build his character. These are edited excerpts from that conversation.

Where were you when you first heard about the nomination?

I was about to walk the dogs when I got the call and was surprised and couldn’t be more flattered and honored. It was truly a unique feeling, to say the least.

Why do you think the show was so successful?

That’s a good question because when we were doing it, very often, if not daily, we would stop and look at each other and say, “This is real [expletive] strange. Will anyone get in touch with this?” We didn’t know, and then we just shrugged and bowed our heads and carried on.

What were the biggest challenges for you when filming?

I went through a grieving process because my mother died before I went to New York. I walked into that apartment and found that I wasn’t done grieving because somehow my family at home kept me from it. And that’s what love is for in so many ways, to help you through a process like that, and we were locked up in Los Angeles so I was able to pull through somehow. But then I came to New York six months later, closed the door and was alone, and I immediately realized that I couldn’t handle this loss yet. The show was right there, and that’s how I processed my grief during the show.

What does Severance hope to teach about dealing with grief?

For Outtie Mark, the season was about: grief, and how will he deal with it? and is will he handle it? Or does he push it further away? And I asked myself the same question. So I decided to look into it, but with Mark.

There’s a scene where I’m at the side of the road on the show where my wife was in a car accident and we happened to shoot that scene on the one year anniversary of my mother’s death. It was just pure coincidence. But I kind of carried it around with me all day and tried not to get into it. It really helped me with my grieving process again.

What does the show want to tell viewers about how to deal with what’s happening at work and what’s happening at home, especially amid a pandemic when many people have had to work remotely?

Work is something you do to achieve one thing or another. A job is a place you go, if you can define it that way, and I think people have started to reevaluate their relationship to those things. I think we all found that your home and your life and your life at work became a kind of unity.

How did the cast and director Ben Stiller compose the final moments of the season finale?

The moment I said Ms. Selvig “Ms. Cobel” accidentally – I remember saying to Patricia while we were shooting [Arquette] and Ben: “OK, if we have them, if they take care of it at this point in the final episode, if we get the breadcrumbs right, this moment will be so fun and so big.”

But that’s a delicate process, to the point where it actually has an impact. It’s not easy to put it all together in a way that actually makes that happen. It might as well be a shrug if you’re not invested in the characters or the story or whatever. It’s delightful to hear that by the end of Episode 9, people were throwing things at their TV, or got up and walked out of the room, or just screamed. We really had no idea if anyone would care.

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