TORONTO - "Mad Men" star Elisabeth Moss isn't expecting to hear her name called when the Emmy Award nominations are announced next week.
"It's so funny because you have to do your best to tell yourself, remind yourself, that you may not get nominated," says Moss, who's already received four Emmy nominations and been up for a Golden Globe for playing driven copywriter Peggy Olson.
"And the fact that anyone is talking about you getting nominated is incredible. If you're already in that group of people that might be, it's already a compliment," continued the 30-year-old.
"There are a lot of actresses out there and there are a lot of incredible performances and to be talked about is just an honour already.... So I just tend to convince myself that I'm not going to and I think that's for the best."
With that humble attitude and no knowledge of what's in store for the seventh and final season of "Mad Men" (the cast knows "absolutely nothing," she insisted), Moss is focusing on promoting her riveting role in Oscar-winning filmmaker Jane Campion's acclaimed new miniseries, "Top of the Lake." It premieres in Canada on Saturday on Bravo (at 9 p.m. ET).
Campion (Academy Award winner for "The Piano" screenplay) wrote and directed the seven-part thriller, about a detective (Moss) who returns to her hometown in New Zealand to connect with her ailing mom — only to find herself caught up in a case involving a pregnant 12-year-old girl (Jacqueline Joe).
Oscar winner Holly Hunter plays a commanding guru at a local women’s encampment that clashes with the young pregnant girl's drug-lord father (Peter Mullan).
Moss was drawn to the project's gritty realism and New Zealand-born Campion's reputation for "working with all these great actresses and then delivering what are considered some of the best performances that those actresses have ever done."
"She's respectful of actresses and I think she really has a lot of respect for your opinions, for your ideas," she said.
But Moss admitted it was "really hard" nailing the Kiwi accent. She worked with dialect coaches for several months.
"The accent I was super nervous about," she said. "It was very important to me personally to just make sure that it wasn't something that didn't take away from the project and the character, because I loved it so much and I felt like it had so much potential as a project.
"And I certainly didn't want it to be the thing that messed it up."
Shooting in and around Queenstown, Moss also pored over heaps of material on police work and met with those who could provide insight into her character.
"I did more research on this project than I've ever done on anything, because it seemed like it was the farthest from myself," she said. "Her career choice, her life just felt very foreign to me."
Hunter also got serious about her role of G.J., a steely and enigmatic figure with long silver hair who is based on someone Campion once knew, said Moss.
"She was very focused, actually, and there were times when you sort of couldn't speak to her as Holly, and she wouldn't be there as Holly, she would be there as G.J.," she said, noting Hunter was sweet, funny and down-to-Earth offset.
"I think that was important for her to do because it was sort of a very difficult character to play."
Moss said "Mad Men" writers haven't started penning the final season of the lauded 1960s advertising drama, but she predicts "it'll be fantastic."
"As a fan think it's going to be the best season ever, because it's the end, so it sort of feels like there will be no holding back."
It hasn't sunk in yet for her that it's coming to a close, though.
"I think I'll probably have like a random moment of crying, you know, something will happen and I'll just see somebody or see a prop onset and just start sobbing for no reason," Moss laughed. "But I feel incredibly bittersweet about it.
"It is personally a big deal for us. When you work with the same people for seven years, it will have been eight years by the time we finish, and I was 23 when I made the pilot and I will be 31 when we finish, almost 32 — so 23 to almost 32 is a big chunk of my life.
"So I take it very personally, the whole thing."
And if the series that's already won 15 Emmys doesn't get any love when nominations are read out next Thursday, Moss will be fine with that.
"It's gone so far beyond what any of us ever expected, swear to God, nobody thought this was going to happen to 'Mad Men,'" she said. "We loved it and we thought it was amazing but this kind of thing just doesn't happen. It's so one-in-a-million that you get critical acclaim, public acclaim, fans, and then it wins awards. Like, it just doesn't happen.
"So I think in the end, actually, after seven years you kind of come more back around to the thing of, 'Eh, it doesn't really matter anymore, we've already done so much, what else can we do?' Now it kind of becomes more about us and the fans and 'Let's bring this to a close in the best way that we can.'"
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