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She mentioned her interest in directing, and while they were supportive, they told her she’d have to work it out with Un REAL’s producers.When Appleby met with showrunner Carol Barbee to discuss the possibility, she came armed with a list of 50 actors who had directed episodes of their shows.The 2016 Emmy race has begun, and Vulture will take a close look at the contenders until voting closes on June 27.For as long as she can remember, Shiri Appleby has been hearing the words “cut” and “action.” Since the age of 3, to be exact, when she booked her first part, in a Raisin Bran commercial.“She brought this whole new color to Rachel, a vulnerability and girl-next-door-ness, which was something I had actually been looking for.There’s a sweetness to Shiri that is really disarming.” Appleby turned her attention to acting, hoping that if that show was a success, it could also lead to her first directing credit."[On Un REAL], the women are the leads and that was very exciting to me." Without warning, she launched straight into her audition as she entered the room.“She was so natural at performing the scene I had written, I didn’t even know she was doing the lines,” Shapiro recalls.
Afterwards, she says, “the industry really iced me for a solid year.” “I couldn’t count on acting anymore,” Appleby recalls.
“I had initially conceived her as being a bit heavier because she lives behind the scenes and eats pizza all night and is a schlubby production girl, like I was,” Shapiro laughs. Then Shiri walked in the door.” Appleby had seen Sequin Raze and knew this role was different.
"Most of the roles I’ve had, usually the story’s about how the man affects my character," she says.
This is Appleby’s most high-profile role since she played Liz Parker on the WB sci-fi series Roswell, 14 years ago, but for the past five years, the actor has been more focused on climbing the ranks behind the camera.
“Being able to be the person that’s finally calling the shots and saying, this is how I read it and how I imagine it — it’s very liberating to be able to speak your mind with confidence,” Appleby says.
“I definitely say things on set when I’m just the actor, but I’m kind of hiding and secretive about it.” While more TV actors are breaking into directing these days, landing your first job, especially for a woman, is a challenge.