In the Showtime drama "Your Honor," Bryan Cranston plays a New Orleans judge whose wife was murdered before the show began. Amy Landecker plays the detective who investigated that murder, and she is pulled back into the family's orbit when the judge's son is involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident.
"I'm a huge fan of twisty-turny, juicy stories," Landecker said.
The show also features Michael Stuhlbarg, with whom she appeared in her first film, 2009's "A Serious Man." That job prompted Landecker, then a Chicago stage actor, to relocate to Los Angeles full time, where she eventually became famous thanks to her role on the Amazon series "Transparent."
" 'A Serious Man' was my first big, splashy on-camera job," she said. But it wasn't without a challenge. The film, which was shot in the Twin Cities, included a scene in which she was sunbathing nude on a chaise lounge while Stuhlbarg looked at her from a rooftop.
"It's very far away," she said. "My point is, I'm not the queen of nudity, but I didn't mind doing it lying down, panned from far away in a Coen brothers movie," she said. "But then Hollywood starts assuming that you are the 'nude person.' The 'sexual person.' So I started to get calls for naked characters."
A painful memory
She turned down most of the roles, but one of the offers was for the TV series "House of Lies" with Don Cheadle. "It's a pretty progressive, racy show and my character is this drunk housewife who takes Don upstairs. I was wearing a Little Bo Peep outfit, and we had this comedic sex scene where I drop my underwear and bend over.
"Well, I had never done anything like that before. And after they yelled cut, I burst into tears. I was freaking out. And Don was the dearest human being on the planet. He was like, 'I'm so sorry,' and I was like, 'No, no — it's not anyone's fault.' I had agreed to this. I just didn't know what my limits were."
Nonetheless, she had to shoot the scene two more times. Fast forward two years to the Golden Globes. "Transparent" was nominated for best comedy.
"I'm on the red carpet to get my picture taken, but no one's taking my picture because no one knows who I am," she said. "So I see Don Cheadle on the red carpet. And because I'm overstimulated and I'm trying to be funny, I yell really loudly: 'Don! Omigod! Do you remember me? We had sex three times!' No reference to it being on camera for the show. Just, 'Remember when we had sex three times?'
"And he goes, 'Amy, my wife and my children are standing right here.' And his wife's got her arms folded, the kids' mouths were open. When I tell you the looks I was getting. And I just burst into tears. I was absolutely mortified.
"And he again, the dearest human being on the planet, he comes up to me, just like he did on set, and he puts his hands on my shoulders and goes, 'Amy, it's OK. It's OK. Here's what you're going to do: You're going to tell this story for the rest of your life.' "
Telling the story has made her feel better — but it hasn't completely erased the pain. "I'm still embarrassed when I see Don around, but he really helped me," she said. "He's a dear."