Part 1 / Part 2
So which do you find more challenging, theater or television?
I think that theater and TV present different challenges. Theater, I think, uses more actor muscles. I mean when that curtain goes up at 8 o’clock every single night, no matter what’s happening you have to be on it and be there. There’s no second take, there’s no redos, it doesn’t matter where your head is at. And I actually find that inevitability comfortable. But in TV, you don’t like something you can do it over, something is not working you can change it on the fly. It’s nice to also be able to kind of manipulate your performance. I have a problem sometimes in TV and film because there’s a lack of control. In theater I can completely control my performance every night. But in TV sometimes I’ll say, “Why did they use this take?” or they cut something out. So much of it is to do with the lighting and the editing and I’m kind of a control freak as an actor so I find that challenging to give up that control of my performance. But sometimes you have someone else come in and edit it and it’s better than you did it on the day.
Do you prefer doing comedies? Or do you prefer doing dramas?
Well it’s nice for me to do a comedy because, I guess, because I’m a theater actor. People tend to think of me as, until now, as a dramatic actress. So, you know, I was playing a lot of crazy people on CSIs and ERs and having traumatic things happen to me. And you know I’ve done a lot of dramas on stage: O’Neill, Shakespeare. So it was really refreshing for me to exercise those comedic skills because it wasn’t something that I’d gotten to opportunity to do that much. I have to say I’m liking it because it’s just nice to live in a comedy. When you’re doing something that’s very deep and very dark like a darker play every night, it’s hard not to take that home with you. I’m not a method actor. I don’t walk around in character all day. But I have to say, playing a character like Annie on Men in Trees, who is so positive, who has such light inside of her, it can’t help but bleed over into my life. And especially since I have to live with Annie for so long. I mean we will have been shooting for over nine months. It’s nice to be able to live in a lighter place.
Do you draw from your own self to play Annie or do you model her on somebody that you know?
I drew from a few different sources for Annie. I found that there were things within me that I drew on that maybe people wouldn’t know. I found this kind of different voice that she talks in. I don’t talk like that in real life but I guess it was something that was in me. There was also a girl that was in my knitting club that I thought about. If she saw the show she probably wouldn’t think that I act anything like her but her name was Ratzie and she was one of these women who was a total individual without trying. She was just one of these naturally quirky people and I remember she dressed in these beautiful vintage clothes. And the way that she looked at the world I found so fascinating. So I did actually think about her when I was doing this character so it was kind of a composite of just things from my imagination. But I was inspired by this one woman that I had met in my life.
Your interactions with Anne Heche; how is she on set? How is she off set when the camera is not rolling? Is she fun to play off of?
Anne is so fun to play off of that I get bummed out during episodes when I don’t have scenes with her because just on a technical level she and I work very similar. She likes to be very specific about things and very technical about things especially if we’re doing something that’s comedic. Because then you know comedy always comes out of specificity and really getting the moves right so that you can be free to tell the story. Personally she could not be more amazing. I mean it’s funny because sometimes people ask me, “Oh, you know, how’s Anne Heche?” with this kind of trepidation in their voice. And I’ve never worked with someone who is not only so professional and never misses a line and is never late and is always open to ideas but I’ve also hardly ever worked with someone who is so much fun as well. I don’t know how she does it because they work her so hard on the show and she always comes in with a smile on her face and positive but in a genuine way. And then after work, I can’t, I probably shouldn’t tell you how much fun she is because it would probably get the both of us in trouble.
So, I know the show is on hiatus until April. What can we expect upon its return and do you know when it’s going to be returning?
I believe it’s like the, I know it’s the second week of April that we’re returning because we actually got backlogged and we don’t have enough new episodes to air until May. But the show is definitely returning the second week in April. What can we expect? Well as I mentioned earlier we can expect some wedding complications. We can expect the relationship between Sara who plays the former prostitute and Eric the minister to deepen. We can of course expect more tension and fraught filled interactions between Marin and Jack but I’m not going to say how those develop. And of course things are going to develop with Jack and Lynn in a way that I think the audience might be happy with, we’ll see. And we met Annie’s family in the last episode and we’re going to be seeing them again. We also expect a return of Buzz’s son George and also the hairdresser Terri played by Mario Cantone and Orlando Jones.
A lot lined up!
Yes, I think a lot of people are coming back for our finale episode too and I was saying, “How are we even going to fit all these people.” It’s so great we have so many characters on our show. And I think it really reflects kind of the small town quality that you get. You know everybody when you live in a small town. I mean I went to college in this tiny town called Grinnell, which is in Iowa. And we really got to know most of the people in the town and that’s what I love about the show is we have so many people you feel like you’re in the town, that you really kind of know everybody.
So, you mentioned that you’re wrapping up filming. Do you have anything lined up for the summer? Are you just going to relax? Do you have any big projects coming up?
I wish that I could say that I was just going to relax and part of me really wants to do that, but it’s just not in my nature. I’m always just looking to do something else. I have a couple offers but I haven’t really decided which way I’m going to go; if I’m going to do a play, if I’m going to do a movie. I haven’t firmed it up yet so I can’t really say. But I think that there’s definitely going to be something on my horizon.
Part 1 / Part 2
(Interview Conducted by Cameron Curtis)