INDEX of all photos and reports from L5
As you all know, I have met and interviewed Laurel a few times
in the past and I’m always amazed at the ease that I feel
in her presence. I’m grateful that she always finds the time
to talk to me, a fan and amateur reporter. It feels like talking
to an old friend and I can joke and not be afraid to sound like
an idiot; even when my Russian accent gets stronger because I’m
nervous or anxious. My silliest questions get answered with a lot
of thought and eloquence on Laurel’s part.
I have nothing but the outmost respect for all the ladies of The
L Word and it has been a privilege and honor for me to be able to
travel, meet with the cast and share my experiences with all of
B&TF: At the end of episode 512 Bette alluded to having another
baby. Ilene said in her OurChart vlog that actually that particular
dialogue was much longer; they cut the part about Bette saying that
she might carry the baby this time. Then we heard about an adoption
story. Is it to show how difficult it is for same-sex couples to
LH: Yeah, it can be hard everywhere. There are a lot of wonderful
adoption agencies. The one that my husband and I used does same-sex
adoptions and there’s another company that’s called
“Independent Adoption Center”. Again, they do same-sex
adoption. I think that in what I’ve learned about it, it’s
not so much the birth parents that are against the same-sex adoptions
as some of their parents. No one would be in the situation where
they were putting the baby up for adoption if they didn’t
have a set of harsh circumstances ahead of them. So sometimes they’re
dependent on their families, their parents or are already parenting
other children. Basically there is an adoption storyline and it’s
a really good storyline; it deals with a lot of the issues that
are really important today with gay marriage and some of the difficulties
that come with that.
It was also, which was very important to me, birth-mother friendly.
We tend to think that birth-mothers don’t take the time to
really think about the future of the child that they’re giving
birth to; which is completely not true. They are mature, they’ve
thought things through. That was the one thing I said to Ilene and
Rose Troche - I really would love to be and wanted to be a part
of the adoption storyline as long as the birth mother was shown
in the right light. They did that and it was great. I have a lot
of strong opinions because I just adopted. I did a conference call
with the writers and I also set them up with our lawyer who does
same-sex adoptions. The attorney knows all the states’ laws,
the complexities of it and the statistics, which surprised a lot
B&TF: If you could change one thing about yourself what would
LH: I would opt for more patience.
B&TF: If you had the power to change anything that happened
to Tina on the show, what would it be?
LH: I wouldn’t change anything.
B&TF: So, no regrets?
LH: No; not a one.
B&TF: This is kind of a silly question but if Alex Owens from
Flashdance was gay and she met Randy Dean, how do you think it would
go? Would they be a young Bette and Tina?
LH: I don’t think Alex would be Randy Dean’s type.
I just think that she’s a kid. She’s 17 and she would
think that Alex was too much of an older woman (laughing). I don’t
see it at all. They are so different, I just don’t see it.
B&TF: How has being on the L Word for six years changed you
LH: I think in some ways it’s given me more insight into
how I want to be when I work with a large group of women and how
to stay above any of the craziness that can happen as well as who
I want to be and how I want to treat people. I think it’s
nice to have job security. It’s the longest job and the longest
time I’ve ever played a character. It taught me to persevere
in a different type of way.
B&TF: This question kind of goes together with the previous.
Being on a show for six years, what did you learn about acting?
LH: I’ve learned that you have to refill yourself a lot and
I’ve learned that on television, which is a little bit the
opposite of film, you really have to take control of your character
and hold tight inside for what you think they would do or not do.
The reason I say that is the directors come in and out and unless
it’s one of the writers or directors like Rose Troche or Angela
Robinson, they don’t always know exactly what’s going
on. Most of them do but you have to say, “Oh, I don’t
think my character would do this because in the third season my
character did this, this and this.” You have to keep holding
onto the trajectory of your character.
B&TF: What did you learn about yourself?
LH: I’m more patient after having done the show. I think
the whole thing for me, being on The L Word, was that I’ve
learned how to not define myself by my job. During this time I became
a wife and a mother. I spent a lot of time focusing on my career
in my twenties and even into my early thirties; it was relaxing
for me and it was a time in my life that I just needed to know that
what I do is not, who I am. Who I am is this totally different person
from what I do. What I do is act. I happened to be on The L Word
and that’s why I don’t dwell on the past, and I don’t
show up for every event, I don’t do all of that. I feel like
I like to do the show and come back and tuck into the privacy of
my life. That makes me a better actor because I’m done playing
Tina; unless there’s a movie. And now I’ve got to find
another character and that finding of another character usually
works for me when I go back into my life and don’t think too
much about that, to be honest. So, there’s balance and I crave
the balance and I also feel that if you put yourself too far out
there, then people have a preconceived idea of who you are; and
I’d rather keep that a little closer to my chest because I
want to play a different character.
B&TF: So, you won’t stay Tina forever for your fans.
LH: I won’t, I’m done. I don’t even have the
same hair color and I don’t even dress the same way. I probably
won’t play a character who even speaks the same way, you know.
B&TF: Well, for some fans you always be Tina.
LH: For so many people out there, I also will be Justine from Angel,
B&TF: This is true.
LH: Yeah, so it just depends. I like the shutting of the character.
It feels good. In fact, I think that it was probably, at times,
too long, like I probably would’ve shut is sooner (laughing).
B&TF: You mean you wouldn’t want to go to season seven?
LH: No way. I think we’ve told a lot of good stories and
I’d love to do a movie. I think that would be really fun but
B&TF: You said you don’t like to come to many events
and you’ve been to pretty much all the conventions, except
for L4 because of the adoption…
LH: These events are very, very, very different than the political
events and those kinds of things. I don’t throw myself into
every event or charity. You know, even when I raised money for Doctors
without Borders, I just sort of kept it on the lowdown.
B&TF: It was posted all over the Internet and a lot of people
donated to your charity.
LH: Yeah, and I was comfortable with that. It’s amazing because
it was my first time doing this.
B&TF: That’s great and a worthy charity to donate. Next
question, there was a rumor about some kind of project development
with Fox involving you.
LH: (laughing) Where did you hear this? Where did you get this?
B&TF: The internet.
LH: A Fox show?
B&TF: You don’t know anything about it?
LH: I swear to God, I don’t. It would be fantastic if Fox
wanted me for a show (laughing).
Sean Harry (who was in the room, organizing things): I read that
too about Century Fox having a project with you and I was like,
“Yeah, go Laurel.”
LH: I’m wide open, I have no work. I just don’t know
where this stuff comes from (laughing).
Sean: You have to tell everyone that Laurel is looking for a job.
B&TF: Okay, I will put it in my report.
LH: I really want to play at weddings, too (laughing).
B&TF: You’ve been to many conventions; can we expect
you to come again for L6, L7 or L15 even?
Sean Harry: L15? I’ll be in my grave then.
B&TF: Me too, but I would still come.
LH: Here’s the thing. I’m completely not a planner.
I live from moment to moment and I have no idea where I’ll
even be living next year or what I’ll be doing. My husband
just got his dream job as an architect. I’m in this place
where I have a 7-month old at home and I just want to go home and
see what happens. There are a lot of women who haven’t come
here. You know, Rose Rollins is like one of the most hysterical,
wonderful people I know (laughing) and so is Pam. I think everybody’s
gotten my autograph (laughing).
B&TF: Oh, I have about fifteen of them but it’s all for
a good cause…money well spent for me.
LH: (laughing) Okay. We just have to wait; I don’t know.
Maybe there will be one at the very, very end where the whole gang
will come or something.
B&TF: I’ll be dead by then (so not joking).
LH: You’ll be dead by then? (laughing)
B&TF: Totally, I’m getting old.
LH: No, no. To be completely honest, I think people will disperse
from this and go on to different projects; they have different schedules
and you can already see that with some people that left earlier
or who have to shorten their contracts because of new shows beginning.
Janina’s busy doing things and Erin’s on a “Swingtown”
and she’s developing a show right now. I know, at some point,
she was asked to come back and do a web series as Dana but I think
she didn’t really know how to bring her back from the dead.
So she just said it wasn’t a very good thing to do (laughing).
I think the only thing that will bring it together is if there’s
an L Word movie but I think it’s time to say goodbye and hope
that another show comes along or there are more characters in other
shows. Even if the spin-off doesn’t go, I think so many great
things will happen. I think it would be just great to see all these
women move back into the industry and create and do the things we
want to do.
B&TF: It would be great. Now, let’s talk about Tina a
little. She has changed a lot since Season 3.
LH: She did and in Season 3 Tina misbehaved a lot and she threatened
to marry Henry and keep the baby. It was kind of a crappy thing
to do but I like it when characters behave crappy because it’s
more interesting than being nice. I was a little worried about Tina
in the beginning because I thought they were going to make her super
B&TF: Yes, the one-dimensional nice girl next door.
LH: Yes, we made her edgier. Likability is not my concern (laughing).
B&TF: True. Well, back to the convention for a second. You
know, before each convention, Sean puts out polls and asks us who
we want to see. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been here
so many times; everybody wants to see Laurel again. You’re
always at the top; either first or second…next to Kate because
you know everyone loves Shane.
LH: (laughing). I had no idea.
B&TF: Yeah, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve
been here, we still want to see you.
LH: I had no idea. I don’t even know. Somebody told me that
on OurChart I had 42 thousand hits or something like that.
B&TF: It’s true. Tina’s thread is the biggest on
OC just because the fans love you…
LH: They do? It’s so awesome (laughing).
B&TF: You have a lot of followers because Tina is one of the
“most” favorite characters to many fans.
LH: I had no idea. I thought it would be Kate or Jennifer. It’s
just awesome. OurChart is a great website, so is the l-word.com
B&TF: Thank you. By the way, speaking of OurChart. We know
that Jennifer, Kate and Leisha sometimes contribute to its contents.
Were you ever asked to be a part of it?
LH: Yes. I did an interview with Ilene Chaiken on OurChart.
B&TF: Yes, that vlog thing when you were wearing the “I
see you” t-shirt.
LH: Yes. I’ve seen everybody’s been wearing that t-shirt
B&TF: Well, when we saw that video, we researched the origins
and found out about the organization and we found out it was for
charity so we all decided to buy the shirts and donate to charity.
LH: Did you, guys? That’s so great.
B&TF: Yeah, we were like, “If Laurel’s behind it,
it means something so we have to support it.”
LH: (laughing) Yes, it’s things like that that are totally
cool. Here’s the thing. At the end of the day when the show
is over I’m just Laurel, the actress. I’m just trying
to focus on what’s important, and last year what was important
was my adoption and I was offered the lead in a movie but I dropped
out to do the adoption. I never auditioned for it. It was a straight
offer. I wanted to be back working and do things like that but again,
I feel like I’m in this really great place, reaching between
the balance in my life and the balance of my work and I don’t
want to be concerned about the work all the time. And I want to
be really, really careful about what I do now. I think for woman
getting older as an actor you need to have a lot of faith that there
will be something there for you to do and as an artist I have to
faith in that. Pam Grier is probably one of my biggest inspirations
and she has the most amazing attitude. She’s one of my favorite
people to work with and she’s been in the business for a really
long time. She’s super savvy and she lives her life to the
fullest. She’s just an inspiration to me and I just think
about how I want to be when I get older and what I want to do and
I just want to try to find that balance, you know?
B&TF: Thank you. Okay, now a Bette and Tina question.
LH: Bette and Tina question? No…really? (laughing)
B&TF: You know I have to ask at least one (laughing). On Ilene’s
“Secret Ingredients” videos she was doing after each
episode during Season 5, she mentioned that both Jennifer and you
were a little nervous to do the love scenes because of the expectations
of the fans and so many fans wanted their favorite couple to reunite.
How was it for you to film those scenes?
LH: I wasn’t nervous. I don’t know, I think we’ve
just done a lot of sex scenes and I think for me at that moment
the priority was not to be repetitive or if we were going to bring
something back, to do it in a really beautiful way.
B&TF: So, you know that you have a lot of followers, TiBetters.
How does it make you feel that Jennifer’s and your characters
are the most popular couple on the show?
LH: I don’t know if it’s the most popular. I don’t
know if that’s the fact but I know there are a lot of Talice
B&TF: Fans even petitioned for you and Jennifer to have a spin-off.
LH: I don’t think that it would happen. It’s flattering
that people would want to keep seeing us. The minute they wrote
the Pilot they knew that they had a couple with a strong chemistry,
they had a really strong couple that tried to have a baby and have
this very strong family; and I think we kind of an anchor for the
show and as a couple we are trying to be role models and we’re
trying to have the fairytale, happily ever after, you know.
B&TF: You’re trying to have or you’re having it?
LH: I don’t know. I think you’re always trying. Marriage
takes work. It’s not just that you showed up to be married
and then it’s happily ever after. You have to work on it for
the rest of your life.
B&TF: True. What does it mean personally for you to be a part
of such a popular couple?
LH: You know, I just play the character and I do the work. It helps
with the writing and the storylines for me to still have issues
that come up with that couple. I just connect to them because I’m
in the partnership and connect to how difficult it is to work on
it and to also connect to the real world when you have a partner
to go through life with and not be alone. It’s great to walk
in those shoes as a character and then have people really respond
to that or relate to that because they’re either already in
a partnership or because they want that type of partnership. Again,
this is flattering but I don’t wake up and think about it
every day. It’s just an aspect of the character, just an aspect
of who she is.
B&TF: So there are, of course, people who want Bette and Tina
to be together but there are also some fans who wants to see Tina
with somebody else, like Helena or Sam from Season 5…
LH: Yeah, that would be great. I wish she had dated a little more
but I think it’s just more of a Laurel thing because it’s
more of an aspect of my own personality but Tina is more of a relationship
person and the casual dating is just not her. She could never live
Shane’s life. But I have a different upbringing and they are
different people. Tina is just more careful about who she connects
too and when she connects. She usually starts from some sort of
emotional core. I do think when she has the sex scene with Brenda,
she loses herself in it and she thinks, “Wow, I can actually
have physical pleasure even if I don’t want to call her the
next day, it’s all right.” And I think that was a good
thing for Tina to go through and it would be neat to see more of
that happen but it’s not in Tina’s personality, though.
Tina is not a predator.
B&TF: In Paris you mentioned that we will finally learn something
about Tina’s family. Why did it take six years to bring it
LH: I said the same thing, why did it take so long?
B&TF: Yeah, we even have information about minor characters
but not Tina.
LH: It was very frustrating to me.
B&TF: So, we are going to have some information.
LH: Yes, at the very, very end.
B&TF: Is it good?
LH: It makes sense.
B&TF: It makes sense, okay. How often do you and Jennifer improvise
LH: Not so much between me and Jennifer but the big group scenes
are very improvisational.
B&TF: Since Season 5 is your favorite season, what is your
most favorite scene from that season?
LH: The Kiss…SheBar Kiss.
B&TF: Mine too. When I saw it the first time, I cried. And
I cried after the second time, too because it was such a wonderful,
beautiful moment. When Jennifer explained yesterday [during Q&A]
that Bette’s crying wasn’t scripted and was sort of
improvised by her, I thought it was just all these emotions.
LH: Jennifer is a great crier. It’s such a great scene and
I really loved it because there’s a part of Tina that kind
of takes care of Bette in that little moment, like it’s going
to be okay.
B&TF: Kind of a nurturing moment?
LH: Yeah, when she kissed her on forehead and rubbed her hair.
Jennifer and I don’t tell each other what we’re going
to do before our scenes so you have a natural reaction to what happens
in those scenes. I didn’t know what was going to happen and
I didn’t know what it was going to look like, but I really
liked the whole scene. I liked the way Tina’s kind of lonely
and depressed and she doesn’t really expect Bette to kiss
her at all.
B&TF: The song was perfect, by the way.
LH: This song is my all-time favorite song.
B&TF: Mine too.
LH: It’s such a beautiful song.
B&TF: Actually, when you listen to the whole song, it basically
explains the whole Bette and Tina relationship in a way.
LH: It really does. As soon as heard it I was like, “Ilene,
what is that song? I love it.”
B&T: They are signaling to me to finish, so I just want to
confess that traveling for The L Word, interviewing the cast and
writing about it has been one of the happiest times of my life.
Sorry, I might cry because I’m really emotional right now.
LH: I think it’s good to be emotional. I’m a big fan
of crying. When you cry you feel better.
B&TF: Unless you get puffy eyes and a big red nose, like me.
Anyway, the show’s ending and for many fans it will be a sad
time because we lived and breathed it for six years. What is your
advice on how we can let go and basically move on after it’s
LH: Create more shows.
B&TF: You think there will be another show like that?
LH: Write a show, write your stories.
B&TF: Well, we do have a lot of writers on our website.
LH: I noticed that (laughing).
B&TF: Do you read anything?
LH: I just go back into my life. It’s really hard to focus
on yourself that much. That’s not my nature; do you know what
I’m saying? I don’t want to be on the Internet all the
time, looking at what people think about the character. I have two
kids, so I want to focus on somebody beside myself.
Note from B&TF: There were more things said during
the interview regarding season 6 but because they were a little
more revealing in terms of the spoilers and at Laurel’s request
we decided to remove it. When the new season will air, I can post
the removed parts so you can all read Laurel’s take on Tina
in season 6.