Karen Pittman on bringing diversity to “Yellowstone”, “And Just Like That” sex scenes, and dying on “The Americans”

"I don’t think they were necessarily sure what it was going to be," the two-time SAG nominee says of coming in to play Willa Hayes.

It's common for actors not to know how their TV character may develop over a season, but apparently Yellowstone creator Taylor Sheridan didn't know where Karen Pittman's Willa Hayes would go either.

"Although I auditioned, obviously, I don’t think they were necessarily sure what it was going to be like, and what it was going to be, and how we were going to do it," Pittman says on the latest episode of Entertainment Weekly's 3 Rounds video series. "But they loved that character. They loved the take on the character, and they kept writing for me on that show. And Taylor Sheridan writes like nobody else, so it was a lot of fun. I loved working with Kelly Reilly... They had never had any young Black people on that show, and it was interesting coming in there and just working with those actors and sort of creating a different sort of space."

During her 3 Rounds chat, the two-time Screen Actors Guild Award nominee also recasts her Morning Show costars on her other hit series And Just Like That and takes a walk down memory lane to play "Shot for Shot," in which she tries to identify her past projects based on a single random screenshot.

From her few lines on 30 Rock to her fierce interrogation of Clarie Danes' Carrie on Homeland, Pittman shares anecdotes from her time on sets — including her character Lisa's dramatic death on The Americans.

"This was my very, very first — and only — death scene," she says. "I remember the showrunners [Joseph Weisberg and Joel Fields] called me and said, 'Karen you’re gonna die.' And I was like, 'Whaaaat?!' And they were like, 'Yeah.' But everybody died on that show at some point...That episode was directed by [series star] Matthew Rhys, and I was like, 'Matthew, I think I should die like this, and I should die like that' — it was so actor-y!"

Pittman also discusses what it's like filming sex scenes on And Just Like That. "You know, it really is about those camera angles," she says. "It is about 'a hand here, and then your hand is there, and his hand is here,' so you’re really covering parts up... and then you’re trying to [simulate sexual positions]. You’re trying to do the work without showing all the bits and all the parts, and actually make it look like you’re having a good time. It’s actually a lot of work — not like in real life, where it's no work at all."

Watch her discuss more of her past roles in the full 3 Rounds video above.

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