| DANIELA SEA CHATS WITH L-WORD.COM
by Jennifer Matos
*** UPDATED ***
Daniela Sea Chats with L-Word.Com PART 1
L-word.com recently had the great opportunity to spend some time chatting with Daniela Sea (“Moira”/”Max”). The 45-minute conversation revealed interesting information not only about Daniela, but also shed some insight into the character of “Max”. If you thought you knew everything you wanted to know about Daniela and “Max”, think again. If you are a viewer who doesn’t understand what makes “Max” tick, doors will be opened and insights revealed. Over the next two weeks, l-word.com will be sharing tidbits from the discussion that we had that will surprise you.
If you are a frequent reader of l-word.com and participate in the message boards and other interactive venues, you might be among those who don’t have a favorable view of “Max” and have made those sentiments known. After listening to what Daniela Sea has to say about “Max”, you’ll soon be wondering if you have judged too hastily.
The mild-mannered, soft spoken Sea thinks very highly of “Max”, and she should. No one knows the intimacies of “Max” better than his portrayer, musician, film and television actor Daniela Sea. Not only does Sea have complimenting and intuitive things to say about “Max”, a tone of enthusiasm, admiration and respect can be heard in her voice when she says them.
As you might already know, Sea spent some time in India, living as a woman, but then eventually living as man. Sea was asked about that experience and the other experiences she has had as “Max’s” portrayer.
TLW: So that experience in India, how did that help you—if it helped at all—to develop the character of “Max” for the L Word?
DS: I think it definitely helped, you know, because I’ve always been a tomboy and stuff since I was young, that’s always been one of the things that people teased me about me in school, just kind of rebellion. I was really young, feeling pretty androgynous, and always resisted following scripted things for women which is pretty limiting in this society, anyway, but as far as an actor, as far as having some kind of understanding as where “Max” is coming from, definitely. And then the feeling of passing and then like living your life day to day passing and “Max” goes through that and yeah, it’s a good way for me to have emotional access to that.
TLW: Right. And “Max” has definitely gone through a lot of changes, because we saw “Max” come on the scene as “Moira” and then kind of go through the trans thing and taking the shots and dealing with “Jenny” on kind of how that would change and then evolving into “Max”.
TLW: So then can we assume, then, that “Moira” is gone? That she’s gone, that L Word won’t do a reversal on “Max” is no longer? Or are we sticking with “Max” and seeing what he goes through for the next season?
DS: Well, I mean, he hasn’t so far decided to change his name back to “Moira”, if that’s what you mean. I mean, I think he is still himself. He had some violent episodes and all that, he is the same person, becoming a man makes it possible for the world to see him for who he is, in the society or whatever. At home, I think you will definitely get to see how home life differs from his outside life, at work and in public, you know? And that’s something that I think about a lot. And I thought a lot about in my travels, which is like, “What’s the difference between what people see out here on the outside, like thinking that I’m a guy and all that, and who I really am?”, you know? And then it just shows how funny gender really is. It’s way more fluid than we’re willing to admit, I think.
TLW: Right. You mentioned that “Max” had some violent episodes and I know that not just as an l-word fan site writer but as a viewer, it kind of disturbed me because I saw this mild-mannered character have these violent episodes that were kind of unexpected. What was it like to film those?
DS: It was a challenge, you know, I mean, I definitely like to talk with the writers and the creators in order to understand where he is in the scope of things. I do take issue sometimes with how things are written, and I questioned that, too, “Why just because he’s taking testosterone does it mean that he going to get violent? Because nobody I know has had that reaction to taking testosterone. They might get emotional and change in some way. But what I have come to understand about “Max” is that he was always mild-mannered and really gentle and sweet and maybe there were sides of him that he was maybe repressing and maybe not just the gender thing. In fact, when you’re always the nice guy, at some point you know, you might just freak out when you’re always just acquiescing. You know, “Jenny” definitely pushed his buttons and I think he was feeling vulnerable, you know she was trying to write about him and his transition, and do all of this covert stuff and kind of use him for the story. At the same time, not a lot of the other people took him in as a friend, I mean they tolerated him, but there he was feeling all alone out there in L.A., and I think that’s what just started to happen and what he was going through during the hormonal shift which could be pretty cathartic, but for him, it ended up just being the violent thing. And yeah, it was pretty hard shooting that stuff because I, myself, am…I mean, I you know, can be a jerk, too, but I like to think of myself as pretty mild-mannered. But you have to access this side of yourself that’s not just defending yourself-enraging but actually being an aggressor—that was hard.
TLW: Right, because all the accounts and everything I’ve
heard of you so far is you know, “She’s so sweet, so nice, so mild-mannered. Fans who have met you have said the same thing. So I can imagine that would be hard to go from who you are and then accessing that kind of darker side of a character.
DS: But it’s a lot of fun, too. And it’s more than just fun, it’s satisfying for an artist to go through challenges like that. And one of the main episodes was for a benefit party and in that, I was working with Moises Kaufman, who’s this great renowned theatre director and also film director, and you know, in that respect it was great to have the challenge and feel that I could learn something new about myself. As an actor, that’s always exciting, you know.
TLW: As an actor, I have to say that you do a really good job of accessing “Max’s” feelings, especially the “Lobster” episode where you went to the overlook of the city and you were crying.
DS: Yeah, yeah.
TLW: I think people really felt a bond there, a connection, especially the restaurant scene, where I think that everyone’s kind of been there, where you’re out with some friends, and money is an issue and you don’t want to say anything, and it gets uncomfortable.
DS: Yeah, and we’ve all felt that and it’s rarely shown on TV.
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2006-07-17, 18:07:35 PM
Comments: Who on God's good earth cares? Let's talk about Rachel Shelley.
2006-07-17, 19:21:25 PM
Comments: I'll second that Ripley18! Who on this green earth does care? Let's talk about Alexandra Hedison. Personally I think the Max character or at least how the character is portrayed is THE most boring arsed parts of the show. The portrayal is entirely unbelievable. Daniella is very sweet but she unfortunately she cannot act. I hope her musicianship is better than her acting or I fear she is tone deaf.
2006-07-17, 19:47:48 PM
Comments: Yeah, Rachel Shelley is so much more interesting. And not just because she's a dead ringer for Zena, Amazon Princess. Anyway, let's not kid ourselves, since the L word is more in the business of fantasy, the sexy and fun entertainment factor is going waaaay down with Shane domesticated and neutered, and the storyline with Jenny and Max and what'shisgayface'sname.
2006-07-17, 21:21:22 PM
Comments: Maybe DS should concentrate on acting lessons. She definately can not act so all this "stuff" about her character is rather irrelevent because she just can't sell the character. I totally agree with the previous posters. I would much rather interviews with Leshia, Jennifer, Rachel, Laurel, Mia, Kate or Kit then have wasted my time reading DS's. AThe s/l is sooooo boring basically because the woman just simply can not act!
2006-07-17, 22:33:48 PM
Comments: I hate max/moira soooo boring, and just stupid. If he/she left the show there would be no hurt feelings here thats for sure
2006-07-18, 09:19:59 AM
Comments: As the publisher of this site, I find most of the above comments--and especially one that we've deleted--to be beyond offensive. The actors on TLW have taken such a beating from absolutely nasty people like these. I'm sick of it. I don't know why these women put themselves out there for any interviews or personal appearances when they are continually baraged with moronic comments like these. The only answer is that there are far MORE fans who don't need to be so juvenile as to attack the actors because they don't like a story or a character. Personally, I'd like to thank Daniela Sea for her time and interestin talking to us, and I'd like to thank Jen Matos for a terrific interview! And for those who don't know...Season 3 ratings were higher than 2, which were higher than 1. While I'm not happy with many of the stories on the show, I'm mature enough to realize 1) ratings *are* everything in television and 2) I don't take out my frustrations on the cast or crew.
2006-07-18, 09:43:07 AM
Comments: "if you don't have something good to say, don't say anything at all"you all have such strong negative feelings regarding the character max/moira and DS... i am just curious why you even bothered reading this interview?ladies, you really should be ashamed of yourselves
2006-07-18, 10:49:18 AM
Comments: To hear an actors comments on the work she does and her thoughts on the processes involved in that work is interesing. I appreciate all the news and interviews on this site and think the interview with Daniela gave us further insight into the L Word and just how it's pieced together. The L Word is a an amazing sociological insight into representation full stop and we should welome any of the actors interviews not degrade them.Thanks Jacky for your hard work on here. As a UK resident based in the UAE I welcome this site so much and feel lucky to access it and read all the info here.
2006-07-18, 12:47:25 PM
Comments: There's a difference between knocking the fictional characters' storyline (the writing) vs. the actual actors. At least Marina is coming back.
2006-07-18, 12:57:39 PM
Comments: I'm not really fond of Moira/Max too. I like the idea and it started out ok, but somewhere along the line it went wrong. But I am mature enough (with my 19 years probably younger that the entier bunch here) to realise that that isn't Daniela's faulth (she doesn't write the storylines). And she acted good in the beginning, but Max's violent episodes are WAY off! And there is no chemestry with Jenny. Sorry Daniela Shea!
2006-07-18, 15:29:25 PM
Comments: Ratings will be highest for season 4 and the next, until they totally mess it up and/or the next lesbian-themed show comes along.
2006-07-18, 16:04:41 PM
Comments: The women and men of the gay community should be concerned with acceptance, diversity, understanding and respect, since these are the things that we wish for ourselves. I think those people who leave nasty and disrespectful comments, not only about this interview but about all of the content on this site, should reevaluate the way they communicate with eachother and stop spreading messages of hate that we should be working trying to eliminate from this world.The L Word, whether you like the story lines, characters, creators, etc., is OUR show and we should be thankful that such progress has been made at least in this particular media.
2006-07-18, 19:14:16 PM
Comments: You know it amazes me, that in the 21st Century we still have to eat the sugar. Max is a character, I'll speak for myself here, I was not talking about DS. I don't know anything about her nor do I care too. The character of Max, I find offensive, an abusive dyke now begging to be a man. Using, excuses like testostorone injections, and fcking Helena won't pay for a boob job, as reasons to act out. Yes, Max is passive/agressive, or just plain aggressive, I know it's Harsh (using Max's words), but this is playland. The characters aren't real people. I'm not knocking DS. I can't stand Max for the person not the transgender. I don't like Jenny, she belongs in an institution. This is a girl with big problems. Why do we have to like them? Are you defending them because this is a business bias? Because they shouldn't be offended. I remember the actress that played, Nurse Ratchit in One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest. She was happy everyone hated her. She one the Oscar. If actors, writers, directors can't take criticism. They should deliver the mail, and get paid a real salary. Not fantasy money. With all due respect, let people play. I feel like we are invited into the playground and there are rules created by people who have never played. Just monitors/moderators. Oh, now I get it. Doesn't anyone have a sense of humor? This is a TV show. We are all here for a good time.
2006-07-19, 01:21:04 AM
Comments: I haven't read anything insulting toward DS in here. I've read people's opinions on her acting abilities which I believe are lacking as well. Having read the the comments from the other day I'm not sure why those comments were deleted simply for an observation of DS's acting abilities. When you're an actor you live with criticism every day and even an Academy Award nominee is criticized by their own if they lose the award. So why if people are giving their opinions are they being told they should ashamed of themselves for doing so?
2006-07-19, 04:16:49 AM
Comments: Season 3 ratings were higher because of Helena and Dylan, not Jenny and Max.(NOTE: I hate the character of Jenny. However, I think Mia does an excellent job of bringing this lunatic to life) Let's be real. A plastic penis didn't bring the audience in; two fcking excruciatingly beautiful women making love pushed the ratings up. Thankfully, there's dvdr and dvd's I can fast forward all the boring bits (jen/max) and be entertained by something pleasant. That is all this is entertainment. To think we are discussing world affairs, and insulting the leader of a country. Ah, we do that too. I do however, think it's a bit disrespectful to delete posts. The best way to deal with things that are offensive is to let someone's peers have at them. So, anyone out there that wants to throw rocks at Ripley. I'm right here. Just don't throw too hard.
2006-07-19, 11:28:10 AM
Comments: Ripley's orginial comment, 1st one here: "Who on God's good earth cares? Let's talk about Rachel Shelley." THAT IS OFFENSIVE. You're interested in Daniela Sea's interview? FINE...DON'T READ IT. No one is forcing you to *read* anything. You think it's "disrpectful" to delete posts? Too damned bad. It's my site paid for with my money. Therefore **I** get to make decisions about deleting posts. I have limits of what I will tolerate and make judgements based on that. You are a pompous know-it-all. Your declarations of the "reasons" for the higher ratings in Season 4 are *pure speculation--not fact*. Personally, it's usually not just "one" thing that drives ratings up or down--especially with such a large cast with many storylines. But that makes for complicated answers, not nice, tidy insults you're so adept at.
2006-07-19, 12:02:30 PM
Comments: Jacky, wowwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, where does the anger come from? I have to ask myself. Childhood. You were banned from the playground, and now you're taking it out on everyone else. Like the wizard of oz, pull back the curtain, and a little person afraid of being discovered to have the same insecurities as the rest of us is standing there with a microphone screaming at the world. I guess you can't get it that people don't like Jenny/Max. DS is not very interesting. Unless of course reading about her spending a year in India as a man tantalizes you, or that poor Jenny pushed Max's buttons. Boo hoo for poor writing. I'm really sorry your day thus far has been unpleasant. I really didn't mean to piss you off. Go fire someone. Will that make you feel better? I don't think so. How about letting someone hug you and melt that anger away. I know you want to kill me now. But, I think over a drink I could make you laugh and you could teach me a few things. But, somehow I don't see that happening. I guess you couldn't find the compliments in the last post. Oh well. I can only write english. Look around, see what you have created and basque in the wonder of it all. Your okay. I mean it.
2006-07-19, 14:38:20 PM
Comments: I don't believe you delete someone's e-mail in supporting the position of free speech. We need to have a drink and discuss this. I'm buying.
2006-07-19, 14:54:43 PM
Comments: This is another wonderful opportunity to THANK JACKY for providing us with a forum. Free speech is a wonderful concept, but only applies to public property. This is an amazing, but PRIVATE website, where all content is at the sole discretion of the publisher...in this case, Jacky. So again, Jacky, thank you for giving us this site and all of the content that you, the readers, and fan fiction authors provide us, free of charge.
2006-07-19, 15:05:23 PM
Comments: Thanks, Steph. Yes, many people think the internet is free, failing to realize that unless it's got .gov after it, it's NOT. It's privately owned. Most people have the sense to realize they don't get to print what they want in magazines...publishers and editors decide what is included. The same exact principle works here. And the same concept applies in terms of what visitors choose to buy/read. You don't like the articles in The Advocate or what you can/can't say in The Advocate? Don't buy it. You don't like the articles on L-word.com or what you can/can't say? Don't visit or don't post. People have choices. That applies whether it's publically OR privately owned. :-)
2006-07-19, 15:06:44 PM
Comments: Doesn't steph work for you? Legal dept?
2006-07-19, 15:11:02 PM
Comments: Steph is our lawyer. :-) We are *extremely* lucky!
2006-07-20, 00:31:45 AM
Comments: The newspapers and magazines do have rules as to what is allowed and what isn't but they generally have rules that apply to everyone not just a few individuals. The double standard here is poopy shit...and I'm agree with everybody here what Daniela Sea is bad actress and she only is Max because is friend of the producer not because she's good actress...
2006-07-20, 11:49:47 AM
From: uta vampire
Comments: You don't have to linger on this site long to realise that the *owner* is extremely aggressive. Don't be fooled into thinking this is a place fro free speech, far from it. Step out of line and you're jumped on immediately. You'll find the *owner* to be one of the rudest most offensive people on here,but she owns the place so her word rules, rightly so. The mistake is all you peeps who come here to be abused. Go and look for other fan sites, there are many and all are much more friendly places to be than here. It's your own fault for reading it and lining the *owners* pocket when each page refresh gives her money from advertising. This comment a short airing before it is deleted.....because that's what happens when the *owner* doesn't like it. She wont explain nicely, she'll just attack.And as for Steph...she's an employee, you'll see all over this place how she creeps around to please Jacky.....just like every good employee should, so don't blame her!
2006-07-20, 12:05:20 PM
Comments: Actually, let me correct one thing...I am *not* an employee of the site. As Jacky mentioned, I do legal work for the site, on a volunteer basis. Just like I moderate forums on a volunteer basis, post photographs on a volunteer basis, and write from time to time on a volunteer basis. I have a full-time day job and another small business on the side that already take up the vast majority of my time. So, while I am proud to affiliate myself with this fine site on a volunteer basis, that's the extent of it.
2006-07-20, 12:15:45 PM
Comments: I should also add that I don't creep around to please Jacky. Anyone who's talked, emailed, or PM'd with me, or even read my posts/stories knows that I'm a pretty stubborn, independent and pigheaded individual, and I don't do or say anything for the purpose of making Jacky happy. What I say or do comes only from me, because as I've already said, I don't get paid to do this.
2006-07-20, 14:48:52 PM
Comments: A few things need to be clarified here, and then I am done. (1) Yes, this site is monitored and aggressively moderated. This includes fan fiction, message boards, and comments left on news stories and editorials. There are a number of reasons for this, and they have nothing to do with whether I personally like the content of the message OR the person posting the message. First, we delete many posts to save the ass of the poster. Do you all realize that every time you make a comment slamming an actor that you could get sued for harassment or defamation? We take down some of the posts to keep that from happening. If we were served with a subpoena, we WOULD have to comply and give out identities and IP addresses. And by the way, it’s Steph that pointed this out to me. I’ve thanked her for this, and countless other pieces of advice. Everyone who has been saved by her informing of this should be thanking her, too. Second, we delete some posts to ensure that this site can continue to provide exclusive and interesting content, like actor/writer/producer interviews. Rachel Shelley herself has said that she's looked at message boards and fan comments online, and has been hurt and offended by many of them. Now why would any actor, etc., in their right mind want to give us an interview if all they have to look forward to is abuse and harassment by the site's readership? Other fan sites might allow this, but I won't. The vast majority of our over 46,000 registered users enjoy this content, and I will not lose the opportunity to provide that kind of content because a handful of people hide behind the anonymity of screen names and hotmail addresses. (2) The site rules ARE the site rules. You all have to accept them when you create an account. If you don't like them or the way they are enforced, please go elsewhere. There ARE other sites that don't have rules or enforce them. The rules ARE also enforced fairly, regardless of how often or how loudly some claim that’s not so. There are three people who know *every* detail of every decision. Everyone else is lacking information and their conclusions are based on their biases. Not FULL information. People do not have their comments deleted or find their accounts suspended or banned for no good reason. Likewise, you will not find ANYONE getting away with bad behavior that gets someone else banned. Troublemakers will be dealt with, period. The reasons for this are set forth above. (3) This site IS a business, and I won't apologize for that. Unfortunately, there is a huge LACK of successful lesbian-owned/operated businesses, and I want to see that change, starting with this site. But, anyone who thinks that I'm making money off of every single page click couldn't be more wrong. Every page click COSTS us money in the bandwidth we are charged for. Advertising is what pays for the bandwidth, web hosting, programming, and all other costs that allow this site to remain free to all users. Long live the advertisers. Be sure to support them because THEY are helping keep this site open and free to each of you.
2006-07-20, 21:01:08 PM
Comments: Ladies, ladies... We've been given a chance to enjoy this site, know about the show, share experiences and meet people all around the world. A place in which we should allow and respect diversity and differences... 'cause come to think of it, that's what we ask from society to start with, right? So there... this site is owned by someone, and that's cool. And the site has rules, okay... That's actually a good thing, we should understand everyone is entitled to set their rules, whether we agree or not. It's healthy to draw lines, not to mention sometimes it's absolutely necessary to do so. I think there's enough freedom here to say what we think, without being offensive. Worst case scenario, should anyone say something that can be interpreted as offensive, there's a magic phrase to use... "I'm sorry". Communication between adults is a gift... let's cherish it. Jacky, thanks for the chance of being a part of this community, I enjoy the interviews regardless of my opinions about the actors/characters/story lines, etc. And to the rest of the L word community... guys, let's keep it respectful, remember: at the end of the day, the goal is to become better human beings. Love to you all!
2006-07-20, 23:04:29 PM
Comments: Actually, I liked reading about Daniela Sea talking about her adventure passing as a man in India instead. Just like reading about Mia taking photographs of real women. It's nice. I tried the article hoping to read more about Daniela, not Max. My main complaint about the article was that she was an apologist for bad writing. Because poor Daniela Sea had to use most of her interview time here, explaining/justify her character. She is a more than adequate actress. And Jenny's (my fave) character, just not with Max. Sorry, they have no chemistry and Max cheating on Jenny w/ Alan Cumming's character. (Alan Cumming is a good actor.) I guess I'm just tired of seeing gay men stereotyped like that on TV.
2006-07-20, 23:16:10 PM
Comments: The thing was: Alan Cumming's character seemed too much like a horndog/sexual predator out to 'convert' the 'innocent.' I'm lesbian and that made me cringe. I know that would've scared a lot of straight people.
2006-07-20, 23:23:36 PM
Comments: And another thing: Jenny took Moira/Max in like a lost puppy and she/he went violent on her because she took a real interest in telling his story. (Like the L word writers took an interest in telling 'our' story.) So Daniela had to make up excuses that just didn't cut it for me.
2006-07-20, 23:25:00 PM
Comments: Sorry, last comment: and I didn't like it that Max isn't very bright.
2006-07-24, 01:32:41 AM
Comments: I am so happy to see such great interview with Daniela!! I have really enjoyed watching Moira transition into Max. I think she has done a super job with the character. Not to mention, she is beautiful to watch as well! She brings a real warmth to Max, where you can sense his feelings/emotions, beyond what he says. Keep up the good work Daniela!
2006-07-24, 01:45:38 AM
Comments: I just went through and read many of the comments left concerning Max/Moira charcter, and am really shocked. I expressed my opinions above, so I wont repeat them... but it sounds more like people have problems with the writing this past season than anything else. Season 3 was very choppy, alot of the characters stories were crazy here and there- who would have expected Tina to hook up with a guy, or Dana to die, or Alice with a vampire girl, or Kit and the manny, Shane and Carmen almost getting married, Alice and Lara... AND we were missing several months when the season started. So much was left out, and the characters rapidly pushed through situations. I would have liked to have seen Moira/Max develop more slowly, where we could learn more about him. Its a shame that the Lobsters episode didnt resinate more with some of the fellow posters. Its so sad to see women behave this way.
2006-09-16, 02:58:12 AM
Comments: Am I the only person here who loves Daniela's acting?!I think she's really understated and natural. I like the way she acts. It just feels very real to me.
2006-12-25, 03:16:05 AM
Comments: maybe the reason for the higher ratings was better writing and dana's breast cancer storyline or just more attention put on the show. no one can really say the reason why. i'd say helena and dylan weren't all that interesting and still aren't to me.