How I Got My SAG-AFTRA Card
Before they hit the red carpet for the 21st Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (January 25, 8/7c, TNT and TBS), some of the nominees reflect on the projects that gained them membership into the union.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (pictured above, Nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama, Game of Thrones): "Finally getting my SAG card in 2007 was huge for me. I did a pilot in New York for the Fox show New Amsterdam. I got so excited I went straight to the SAG online shop and bought four mugs with the SAG logo. Still have those mugs!"
Jason Biggs (Winner for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy, Orange Is the New Black): "I received my SAG card in 1988, when I was 10, for a Pathmark supermarket commercial. I remember I had to eat a doughnut in one of the shots. Over and over again. Awesome."
William H. Macy (Winner for Outstanding Actor in a Comedy, Shameless): "I got my AFTRA [American Federation of Television and Radio Artists] card first. I was in Chicago, I was in my twenties, and I did a commercial. They told me I had to join and I said OK, secretly going, ‘Wee, wee, wee’ all the way home. [Within the year, I got] the SAG card. You’re in the tribe, man."
Viola Davis (Winner for Outstanding Actress in a Drama, How to Get Away With Murder): "I got my SAG card doing one day of work on a  movie called The Substance of Fire. My character’s name was Nurse. I had to pass [Timothy Hutton a vial of] blood, and I got paid $518. I did my first take and thought, 'Oh, my God, that was so easy!' I started taking my wardrobe off and they said, 'You’re not done.' I said, 'This is going to be hard work for $518—you got more money?' But it was fabulous. I thought I had made it."
Richard Jenkins (Nominated for Outstanding Actor in a TV Movie or Miniseries, Olive Kitteridge): "It was Theater in America, which was a PBS series under Great Performances, in 1974. I was with Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island, and we did a play about Oscar Wilde called Feasting With Panthers. I had a small part. We filmed it and were told we could join SAG—or not. I knew that it wasn’t easy to join, so immediately I said yes."
Uzo Aduba (Winner for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy, and for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy, Orange Is the New Black): "Orange Is the New Black is when I got my SAG card. I was just like, 'Wow, this means I’m a full actor now.' It was such a big deal, and I remember being so thankful and feeling so proud.'
MORE SAG AWARDS
- Backstage at SAG: While Movies Struggle with Diversity, TV Makes Great Strides
- List of Winners: Who Took Home the Trophies
- Photos: Best Dressed on the Red Carpet