Each year, Variety brings together the wide-ranging personalities behind the year’s most talked-about movies – some old friends, some new – to talk shop in the run-up to awards season. In these exclusive tête-à-têtes, the actors get candid about their struggles and triumphs in the business. Tune in when “Actors on Actors” Season 5 debuts on PBS SoCal on Jan. 3.

Presented by

Tom Hanks & Viola Davis

Fences; Sully

Although television has made big strides in diversity, progress in feature films has been slower, Viola Davis and Tom Hanks discussed in a one-on-one interview. Davis, who stars in the drama “Fences” as well as on ABC’s “How to Get Away With Murder,” talks about the barriers and expectations that people of color face in the world of film.

Natalie Portman & Michelle Williams

Manchester by the Sea; Jackie

Natalie Portman and Michelle Williams were the rare child actors whose careers blossomed into international stardom. The pair discuss their start in entertainment and why they never left the biz. Coincidentally, both were around 11 years old when they got their start.

Amy Adams & Andrew Garfield


Andrew Garfield discusses his struggle with coming to terms with big-budget movies during an interview with Amy Adams. Garfield said that his experience filming “The Amazing Spider-Man” taught him that story and character are unfortunately not always “top of the priority list.”

Taraji P. Henson & Ryan Reynolds

Hidden Figures; Deadpool

Taraji P. Henson and Ryan Reynolds swapped nightmare audition stories during Variety's “Actors on Actors.” While the “Deadpool” star “auditioned and failed” for a Coen brothers film, Henson was up for the role of Olivia Pope in Shonda Rhimes’ ABC hit “Scandal,” which Kerry Washington ultimately nabbed.

Emma Stone & Molly Shannon

La La Land; Other People

Emma Stone shares her worst on-stage nightmare and how her “terrible” eyesight affected one of her performances in “Cabaret,” and Molly Shannon discusses auditioning for TV pilots during her early days in the biz and why she was dropped by her first agent.

Matthew McConaughey & Jeff Bridges

Gold; Hell or High Water

Matthew McConaughey and Jeff Bridges discuss their iconic roles, including The Dude and McConaughey's turn in "Dazed and Confused," and different approaches to role preparation, like when McConaughey's laid-back style almost came back to bite him.

Annette Bening & Naomie Harris

20th Century WomEn; Moonlight

Both Annette Bening and Naomie Harris discuss how they wrestled with the enigma of their on-screen roles. Harris shares how she worked around visa issues to keep them from derailing her performance and the pair discuss the complex and evolving dynamic for women in Hollywood.

Adam Driver & Michael Shannon

Paterson; Nocturnal Animals

Adam Driver discusses how he made the poetry of "Paterson" come to life, what led him to "Star Wars" and theorizes what a "Girls"-Kylo Ren crossover might look like. The pair also discuss the social relevance of "Star War" and "Man of Steel."

Casey Affleck & Nicole Kidman

Manchester by the Sea; Lion

Casey Affleck describes how Kenneth Lonergan helped get the nuance of his character's reaction to tragedy right in "Manchester by the Sea." Nicole Kidman shares what drew her to join "Lion," and reflects on the similarities between herself and her character.

Greta Gerwig & Mahershala Ali

20th Century Women; Moonlight

Mahershala Ali talks about how he came to "Moonlight," how he found his voice in New York City, and the poetic aspects of film vs. television. Greta Gerwig discusses her protectiveness toward her character Abby and working with Mike Mills.

Dev Patel & Octavia Spencer

Lion; Hidden Figures

Dev Patel and Octavia Spencer talk typecasting and the difficulty of finding great parts after their much-lauded performances in "Slumdog Millionaire" and "The Help." The pair discuss global citizenship and film as a medium for the drive and resilience of the human spirit.

Hailee Steinfeld & Sally Field

The Edge of Seventeen; Hello, My Name Is Doris

Sally Field reveals how she landed her first major acting role -- as "the little girl with big ideas" on the 1960s television series "Gidget" -- and fought depression during her late teens while starring in "The Flying Nun." Hailee Steinfeld, meanwhile, discussed the complexity of her "Edge of Seventeen" character.

Hugh Grant & Colin Farrell

Florence Foster Jenkins; The Lobster

Hugh Grant discussed his mercurial enthusiasm for acting and his changing views of the profession during a one-on-one interview with Colin Farrell for "Actors on Actors." The thesps also shared their thoughts on the ultimate function of the craft.