Kate Towne is one of the stars of HBO's latest drama series, Tell Me You Love Me,
playing free-spirited Mason. The show centers on three couples dealing with issues of intimacy in their relationships. Mason bridges the gaps between two of the couples, as Carolyn's (Sonya Walger) sister and Jamie's (Michelle Borth) best friend. The show airs Sunday nights, and premieres tonight at 9pm.
BuddyTV spoke to Kate about her new role and her thoughts on the stark portrayal of human sexuality in the series. Below you will find a copy of the transcript as well as the mp3 audio file of the interview.
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Hi, this is John from Buddy TV, and we’re talking to Kate Towne, one of the stars of the new HBO drama Tell Me You Love Me. How you doing, Kate?
I’m good, I’m really good. How are you?
I’m doing great. Now, why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about the show? And the character that you play, Mason, on this show?
Well, the show is a really frank look at intimacy and relationships through the ages. And through all ages, up until the 60s, and through that there’s obviously a lot of sexuality. I play a character named Mason who, there is another couple in their 30s, played by Sonya Walger and Adam Scott. And Sonya Walger plays kind of, a really not uptight but really upwardly mobile, kind of very controlled sort of woman.
I play her sister, it’s entirely up to that. Kind of spoiled and undirected, kind of set what she wants to do, does what she wants to do kind of girl. And I’m just sort of the complete opposite of her, and some kind of an ethic kind of person. I think I bring a sort of light and levity to the show, and in that I probably also pretty much messed up myself.
Alright, now you mentioned the frank talk about sexuality. Most of the press leading up to this show has been about the fact that it includes, apparently, some fairly graphic… like, honest and realistic portrayals of sexuality. And I’m just wondering, what are your feelings on doing that in a TV series?
You know, I feel like… honestly, I did feel during the show that it actually was this close to doing the kind of stuff, for the purpose of exploring intimacy as possible. So I felt like that it was actually honest in that the show shot on film, and it’s supposed to be it’s shot on film. It’s kind of shot very, the actual sex scenes are shot very sort of wide and wild, and you know it’s for the purpose of looking at relationships and what they really are.
And sex and what it really is, and what it isn’t, and what it says about relationships and relating between two people. In every age group it’s different, you know, the people in their 40s haven’t had sex for a year. Whereas the people in their 20s are sort of screwing like rabbits, and you know, that’s kind of what 20-somethings do. So they change how you look at it, and it really matters.
I think people are going to think it’s something that involves a lot of sex, and sort of try to exploit it. But I think that it is interesting, it’s not a lot of gloss and fancy lighting, it does not mean to. It’s not about cleavage and sexiness, it’s about sexuality, and I think that’s a really important distinction.
And you mentioned that you interact with Sonya Walger and Adam Scott’s characters. Is it a limited kind of exposure, like you don’t get to interact with a lot of the other actors? Do you, or it’s just that one story?
No, I play, I sort of link up to the storyline. I play Michelle Borth’s best friend and Sonya’s sister, so those are the people who I interact with the most. I mean, I’ve hung out with other actors. But those are the people who I do, if I can remember properly, all my scenes with.
Except it’s not true, I mean, I’ve done scenes with Ian Somerhalder. And I did a scene with Sticky Fingaz, who came on our show. But yeah, mostly my storyline would have to do with Michelle, and up until this point and Sonya and Adam. Those kinds of things that obviously, I’ve met and hung out with Adam DeKay, I mean.
Tim DeKay, sorry. And Adam and Luke Kirby, and Ally Walker, yeah. I haven’t really, I mean, I met obviously the extremely incredible Jane Alexander in the hallway. And was just, you know, flabbergasted. But yeah, I haven’t, you know, with the storylines linking together slowly.
And your character is one of those who kind of bridges two of the stories?
Yeah. I sort of, I have, I’m best friends with Michelle. I’m sort of that person in her life who is a good friend, in the sense that I genuinely try to help her bring her up when she’s down. Which sort of belies my own darkness and craziness. And then I’m my sister’s sister, so then I move into that storyline, and then connect those two things up.
Yeah. Now I’m just wondering, working on HBO, I would imagine it’s a lot different from working on regular network television. What are some of the perks of being on a show on HBO?
Well, I would think the real perk to me is, I would say, is you’re working on the show or pilot on a normal network, it’s really about what’s on the page. You come, you do the lines, and you’re done. You know, when I came to the set my first day, they weren’t really happy. I would say Cynthia Mort wasn’t happy until I had wildly improv’d, which to a degree obviously is like including swearing and being incredibly inappropriate.
Which obviously would be completely out of balance on like Fox, so that to me is the biggest, is what I’ve been granted on HBO. Because we get to like, improv and go off the page, and sort of work with it a bit. That’s huge, I mean, that’s like more a lot of times that you get to do in film, and we’re getting to do that all the time..
I came in and I would be reading my lines and doing my stuff, and she was kind of like, “OK, fine.” My last scene I just went in a strip club, I think it’s the third episode, and I finally do a lot of lines that was like, “Who do I have to suck around here to get a lap dance?” And then she was like, “Great! That’s great, that was like the auditions, good. Moving on, very good .” And I was like, “Oh my God, I’m on HBO.” This is not TV, you know now they’re happy with me. You know that kind of thing could get you fired over at NBC, and that’s what was keeping me at HBO. So that’s what’s great, being able to play around and be with a bunch of actors who know how to, and are there to have a good time and do the work.
-Interview conducted by John Kubicek
(Image courtesy of HBO)