Jeffrey Tambor: ‘Transparent’ Season 4 ‘Has a Chance to Change the Playing Field’

The gut-wrenching hits keep coming on Amazon’s Transparent.

When Jeffrey Tambor’s transgender professor, Maura, is stopped and inspected by TSA for a groin anomaly on the way to Israel, “viewers see that we really are human beings,” Tambor, 73, says. “You see the word transgender in print, but it’s just letters. Lives are at stake.”

Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent
Jeffrey Tambor in Transparent Jennifer Clasen/Amazon

The scene also struck a chord with Judith Light, who plays his ex-wife Shelly. “I noticed the delicacy and fragility of Maura,” the actress, 68, adds. “They were patting him down, and he was in the crucified position. Jesus Christ Superstar starts to play. I thought, ‘What a way to begin a season.’” 

The duo open up to Us.

Us Weekly: In season 4, what’s the dynamic between your characters?

Judith Light: Maura and Shelly always have their eyes on each other, no matter what is going on. There’s a moment when they’re in the middle of the desert and you see Maura just so there for Shelly. You sense the depth of their connection.

Judith Light in Transparent
Judith Light in Transparent Jennifer Clasen/Amazon

Jeffrey Tambor: I loved following Ms. Light in the desert! It was an amazing event.

Us: Has Maura begun to find ­confidence in her body?

JT: Ever since she was denied gender surgery, I think she’s even more authentic with her image. The ­emphasis this season is what’s going on around her. Is anybody telling her the truth?

Jeffrey Tambor (L) and Judith Light arrive for Amazon Prime Video's Emmy FYC event and screening for "Transparent" at Hollywood Athletic Club on April 22, 2017 in Hollywood, California.
Jeffrey Tambor and Judith Light arrive for Amazon Prime Video's Emmy FYC event and screening for "Transparent" at Hollywood Athletic Club on April 22, 2017 in Hollywood, California. Gabriel Olsen/FilmMagic

Us: Will they dive into dating?

JL: Shelly has always wanted to be with ­somebody. But now she’s on her own. It’s unsteady.

JT: Maura is looking for love. It’s not gender specific. She starts dating a man. She’s looking for the right home.

Jeffery Tambor attends the BBC America BAFTA Los Angeles TV Tea Party 2017 - Arrivals at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on September 16, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.
Jeffery Tambor attends the BBC America BAFTA Los Angeles TV Tea Party 2017 – Arrivals at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on September 16, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. David Crotty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Us: How has the show empowered you?

JT: Something I’ve been harping on and I’m serious about is the military ban. It makes me get in my car faster and get to Paramount Studios. I think there is hatred, but I think there is fear. The real big thing is ignorance. I love that we get through to the human. We don’t lecture and we don’t wag our finger didactically. I think this show has a chance to change the playing field.

Transparent is now streaming on Amazon. 

For the latest celebrity entertainment, news and lifestyle videos, subscribe to Us Weekly’s YouTube Page.

Sign up now for the Us Weekly newsletter to get breaking celebrity news, hot pics and more delivered straight to your inbox!

Want stories like these delivered straight to your phone? Download the Us Weekly iPhone app now!