BY ALEXIS SHAW
With a career as varied as Ethan Embry's, you'd be hard-pressed to think he'd get jitters on the set of a new project.
But with his role on Netflix's "Grace and Frankie," the 36-year-old actor said he was anxious the first time he met his new TV parents -- especially since his on-screen family would be played by Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston.
"I was incredibly nervous the first time meeting them," he told AOL. "Because I'd do anything I could to work with -- not only those four but with ["Friends" co-creator] Marta Kauffman, and also do something at Netflix. Then I get the job and this fear. I have to up my game now because of what you're surrounded with when you go to work."
The comedy series, which debuted on the streaming platform on May 8, focuses on the unraveling and rebuilding of Fonda and Tomlin's characters, Grace and Frankie, whose husbands, played by Sheen and Waterston, leave them -- for each other.
Embry, who plays Tomlin and Waterston's son, Coyote, said that while he may have the coolest television parents of all time, he's "still not used to" working with the four incredible actors.
But Embry said the parental pairs "couldn't be more laid back," especially Tomlin.
"She does something and it lands -- her and Sam Waterston both," he said. "And I couldn't help but show them how well it was landing, I'm laughing my a-- off, and Lily just says, 'Oh really does it work?' and she means it genuinely."
Embry said he was hooked when he first read the script, particularly by the way the show approached non-traditional families.
"Same-sex marriage...is a very important thing right now and regardless of your stance on it, it's something that needs to be discussed," he said.
"The reality of the situation that these men have been married to these women for forty years, and for twenty of them, they've been in love with each other and hiding it and now they're finally coming out and being honest about it," Embry said. "They're finally able to say who they are, and express themselves freely, but there is also that element of the heartbreak with their wives and their children."
"If this was happening in our lives, it would be earth-shattering, and to take that earth-shattering situation and turn it into some of the funniest sh-- you've ever seen, but still maintain the honesty of the situation itself, that's a huge positive."
Embry said he credits Netflix for letting the show take the shape it did and letting the writers tell the story with sincerity and humility.
"They hired these masters -- you got Marta Kauffman, you got Lily Tomlin, and Jane Fonda and Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston -- let them do what they're so good at doing," he said. "I don't know if having it at a broadcast network, they would have had those freedoms."
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