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01/06/2017 04:19 pm ET

Jeffrey Tambor Had To Overcome Serious Nerves For 'Transparent' Role

The Emmy-winner sad, "I thought I was going to lose my breakfast."

In a new interview, “Transparent” actor Jeffrey Tambor opens about the pressure and responsibility he feels as a cisgender man playing a transgender woman on television.

Tambor, who plays Maura Pfefferman on the hit Amazon series “Transparent,” talked about these experiences during an interview on “Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist,” airing on Jan. 8.

“It makes my hands shake,” Tambor says about the responsibility of representing trans experience on television. “The first time they knocked on my door and said ‘we’re ready,’ I thought I was going to lose my breakfast ― I was so nervous.”

But when asked if he thought a TV show has the power to change hearts and minds of viewers, Tambor said, “oh absolutely!”

“We don’t do it in a political way ― it’s in the family,” he continued. “People go, ‘oh! I recognize that family.’ We all recognize the Pfeffermans in us.”

Tambor won an Emmy for his portrayal of Maura Pfefferman in Sept. 2016 and used his acceptance speech to challenge Hollywood to cast more openly transgender actors. 

“To you people out there, you producers and you network owners and you agents and you creative sparks, please give transgender talent a chance,” he said at the time. “Give them auditions. Give them their story. Do that. And, also, one more thing, I would not be unhappy were I the last cisgender male to play a female transgender [woman] on television. We have work to do.” 

Check out Tambor’s most recent interview on “Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist” on Jan. 8. 

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