B&TF: If you could change something about yourself –
character, personality – what would it be?
Lauren Lee Smith: If I could change...I’m very impatient;
I’m a very impatient person. When I want something, I want
it to happen right away. I’ve been that way since I was a
little girl. So, I’m trying to practice the art of patience
right now. When I get impatient, I get sort of worked up and then
I’m like vibrating, and so I try to sort of calm down. I started
doing Yoga and just breathing and just being able to relax a little
bit. And I think as you get a little bit older too, that really
B&TF: How old are you?
LLS: I’m 27. So I’ve noticed in the last two years
I’ve been able to chill out a little bit more and let things
B&TF: With this impatience, do you feel like you have all these
things going on in your head and yet you need to concentrate on
one thing? What do you do to kind of get out of that?
LLS: Exactly. First of all I try to calm down, to just sit down
and breathe and then I try to make a mental list of everything and
then prioritize. You know, “Think about what needs to be done,
Lauren, one step at a time. Don’t rush into everything.”
And then it’s ok.
B&TF: Some people close off and go inside themselves because
they’re so introverted and they kind of go away from other
people. And then they think, “Ok. So they don’t like
me anymore,” but it’s not that…
LLS: Yeah, it’s definitely not that. You’ve got to
sort of calm the quiet every once in a while.
B&TF: What can you tell us about yourself personally that you
think fans don’t know? Like something really special, unique.
LLS: Unique about me, huh? I’m a pretty boring person. I
don’t have any super crazy quirks or anything that different;
I’m pretty normal.
B&TF: How about some hobbies?
LLS: I like to paint. I make really weird art. I go through trash
and find all sorts of weird things; I make all sorts of little weird,
really abstract art pieces or whatever you’d want to call
B&TF: That reminds me of that scene in The Fisher King when
Robin Williams’ character made something out of champagne
wire cage. Did you see that? It was magical.
LLS: Yes, Yes! It was. I don’t think my art is very good
but it’s more of like my therapy. I do it every time I start
to get a little bit crazy. I know it’s time for me to lock
myself in a room in a room for a few hours...
B&TF: What do you do with those paintings?
LLS: (laughing) Well, the funny thing is I’ve never finished
one. So I have like 50 unfinished works of art. I have an art room
and most of its like crazy, weird and most of its very sexual for
some reason. I don’t know. Maybe I have some weird issues
or something. So I have like all these naked bodies and people and
body parts. Well, and anyone who’s ever seen the art is like,
“Whoa. That’s kind of creepy.” I’m like,
“Yeah, ya know...”
B&TF: Do you use bright colors? Red, green, primary colors?
LLS: Everything. Always different.
B&TF: Maybe you should finish one and see how the end product
LLS: Yeah, yeah (laughing). I’m working on it.
B&TF: You’ve been in movies and in TV shows. Who’s
been your favorite character to play and why?
LLS: That’s a very difficult question. I would have to say
the film I did – Lie with Me – the character Leila.
I don’t know if that was necessarily my favorite character
to play but it was definitely to this date, the most challenging
role that I’ve ever had to take on.
B&TF: Is this the one where there are a lot of sex scenes.
I think I saw it on Showtime. I remember seeing your name so I watched
it. I liked it. But you said it was challenging, why?
LLS: It was just a point in my life and a point in my career where
I had to cross so many boundaries and so many hurdles. It was one
of those moments when I thought, if I can conquer this, if I can
get through this, then I think it will open me up to emotionally
a lot more. And it did, it really did. I think I grew tremendously
as an actor after that, at least I felt I did.
B&TF: When did you do the movie?
B&TF: So it was before The L Word?
LLS: No, it was in between. It was during the second season.
B&TF: What is the craziest, funniest, most weird scene that
you did in The L Word?
LLS: In The L Word? I would have to say...well, it’s so funny
whenever you’re doing love scenes it’s always so awkward,
I mean it’s so awkward, so weird. And especially because you’re
friends, like with Erin and I, we were like buddies. I don’t
know if it’s that strange or awkward but just in the context
of love scenes, it’s very refreshing. It was very refreshing
to have these love scenes with a woman because you go into it and
you’re totally looking out for each other.
So, you’re checking each other out, you’re making sure
not too much is showing or if you’re uncomfortable about one
part of your body, we totally had each other’s back about
that. So it was always fun; we had these little checks with each
other to make sure like, “Is everything where it needs to
be...” At the end when they’re yelling, “Cut”
and you’re wrapped up in each other and you’re like,
“Ok, what are you going to have for lunch?” “Oh,
the chicken?” “Ok.” And then it’s like,
“Ok. We’re going to go again...”
B&TF: How many takes does it usually take to do a love scene?
I know it’s choreographed, it’s not like a lot of improvisation
is going on so since it’s choreographed, how many takes?
LLS: Well, it really depends. Mostly they want to save money on
film so they do a lot of rehearsal before, especially if it is a
very choreographed love scene or scene in general. They like to
rehearse and rehearse and make sure that everyone has it sort of
down before we go to film.
B&TF: Do they film at rehearsal too?
LLS: No. Not usually.
B&TF: But what if you rehearse and it’s really great
and then you go to film and...
LLS: Yeah, yeah. But it always depends, you know? Sometimes you
have to go take after take after take because there’s so many
things that come into play that can go wrong with the camera, with
the lighting, with the actors, with whatever.
B&TF: Did you audition for Lara or someone else?
LLS: I did. I did right off the bat; I had auditioned for the character
B&TF: You mentioned during your Q&A that you did five different
auditions with different sets of people?
LLS: I did.
B&TF: Did they want to see if you fit the role or did you just
have to show it?
LLS: I just had to always show it. The first time it was just the
casting director and the second time it was two of the casting directors,
the third time it was the casting director and the writer, the fourth
time, the casting director and the producers and then the fifth
time they actually had Erin come in and we did like a chemistry
test with each other.
B&TF: What’s a chemistry test? I know there are a lot
of couples on the show, like Bette and Tina, I see their chemistry.
They’re just lying in bed and the chemistry is there. I could
see it between Lara and Dana, Dana and Alice…how do they
do the tests to see if the chemistry is there?
LLS: It’s just being on camera together and then afterwards,
the producers and writers looking at it and seeing how well we work
with each other. They check to see if we look good together, a lot
of that; all of those little synchronicities that come together
to see – does this make sense? Does this look real?
B&TF: How many people auditioned for Lara?
LLS: I’m not too sure. I’m sure initially there were
a lot. I know the final, final audition when I went in there was
three other girls that went in for the chemistry read as well.
B&TF: So, you got it all.
LLS: Yep, I got it all! (laughing)
B&TF: In Season 3, why do you think Dana went back to Lara?
LLS: I think Dana went back to Lara in Season 3 because there
was a lot of unfinished business. From Season 1 when Dana broke
up with her it was quick break up, “I can’t be with
you, I can’t be out, I can’t do this, I can’t
do that...” but the feelings were still there. I think there
was still a lot of unfinished business and a lot of unfinished feelings.
There was no closure. I think that when Lara comes back into the
picture she’s just overwhelmed and wants to see, now that
she’s out and now that she’s a little more confident
with her sexuality...because they did have such a wonderful relationship
in Season One in the beginning.
B&TF: But then in the end, at the most important moment, Alice
was with Dana. She sent Lara away. Why do you think that?
LLS: I think it’s a testament to friendship. Dana and Alice
had been friends for quite a long time and I think it’s just
a testament to having that intimacy on a different level, not on
a partnership but on a friendship level. I think that’s what
Dana needed at that time. I think in a way she felt guilty to Lara
and that’s why she kept pushing and pushing whereas with Alice
before they were lovers, before they were together, they had a very
B&TF: So the friendship had won in the end, even though there
were still feelings between them and unfinished business, if you
think about it.
LLS: Exactly, there was hugely unfinished business between Alice
B&TF: So let’s say with Season 6 they call you back,
what kind of a storyline would you envision for Lara?
LLS: I would like to see something very normal. I don’t think
there needs to be big theatrics or anything dramatic. None of that,
just a simple smart way of showing what she’s doing and maybe
explain a little bit of why she had to leave or whatever. I think
something simple and I think the simpler you keep it, I think the
easier it is for an audience to relate to it.
B&TF: So, you have been pretty much a regular cast member for
3 seasons. What’s the most important thing you learned about
acting while being on the show?
LLS: In my opinion, The L Word was the first opportunity I really
got to explore a very true and honest character. She was someone
who was very honest – I think Lara and I have similarities
– so as far as acting goes, it was an opportunity to work
as a very real character, a very honest character. There wasn’t
anything really crazy or I wasn’t a mutant or anything like
that. It was the opportunity to get to work with such amazing actresses
and to work opposite them and watch them and see their process.
Everyone has a very different process and way of working so it’s
interesting to get to see all of these wonderful, beautiful women
as you sort of observe, observe what they do.
B&TF: So, what’s the most important thing you learned
about the cast members?
LLS: I found that everyone had so much respect for each other.
When you put that many women together it can get kind of silly as
well; I think women tend to be a little sillier than men so it was
always a really fun atmosphere. It was a very close, almost family-like
atmosphere with everyone. And to this day I haven’t experienced
that on anything else because basically everything I work on now
is 80% men with the crew and everything and the directors. So, yeah,
it’s really nice having the women around and having that womanly
support. Women are so supportive with each other; there’s
no cattiness, there’s no pettiness. You know, whatever you
imagine it to be – it’s not.
B&TF: Did you see any egos?
LLS: No, no. I never saw that. In my experience the biggest egos
I’ve ever encountered have always been men, which is interesting.
I won’t name any names but they’ve always been men.
You would always imagine the women to be bitching about this or
that but it’s always the men. And I’m always like, “Oh
B&TF: Some of the guest stars like Kristanna Loken said in
an interview that she didn’t like being there because of the
cast members and their egos.
LLS: Was she talking about The L Word? No!
B&TF: Yes. She was talking about her experience and she said
that she just didn’t like it. Even the cast members were really
surprised. Kate Moennig even said during one convention that she
didn’t know where Kristanna got it from cause she was working
mostly with her and maybe it was because of her. But, everyone was
surprised that she said that.
LLS: That’s very strange, actually. In my opinion, that would
just make me think that maybe she’s the one that had the problem.
Because, you know, it’s like how could you have all of these
women who will vouch for each other and then you have one come along
and say, “No, no, no...” So, maybe she didn’t
have a very good experience or something.
B&TF: What did you learn about fans of the show? This is your
first cwonvention because you couldn’t come to L1.
LLS: Honestly, what I’ve learned about fans of the show is
how incredibly powerful their support is because my character was
originally supposed to be only for the first four episodes and it
was because of the fan support that I came back for Season 1 and
the whole reason that I came back for any of Season 3. I don’t
think they had any plans to be in season 3.
B&TF: You were also at the end of season 2…
LLS: I think they put that in so I could come back in season 3.
I don’t think they had any concrete plans to keep Lara in
for as long as they did and I completely attribute that to the fans
B&TF: Now it’s even more interactive. Now they have OurChart,
you know, and Ilene posts “Secret Ingredients” for every
episode in Season 5 after it aired and she would talk about it.
She also asks fans for their input as well as for Season 6 with
the idea that she will use their ideas.
LLS: I think that’s very important, especially with a show
like The L Word. I think it’s lived up to its potential because
of the fans. It was a very important show to be made, it was so
long overdue. So, when it finally did happen, everyone was like
– “Ach, finally! Let’s make sure it stays on air,
so many shows get pulled off right away and then that’s the
end of it...” I think The L Word has a lot to be grateful
for with the fans.
B&TF: How did you hear about The L Word when you auditioned?
Was it your agent?
LLS: Yeah, all I heard literally was that there was this show,
she had read the script, she thought it was a great script, it was
a show dealing with lesbian relationships and that all of the relationships
were very real and interesting and they wanted to just be very bold
with this show. And I thought, “Wow. Thank God, that’s
B&TF: What did you learn about yourself as a person while working
on the show?
LLS: Myself, working on this show, what did I learn? Well it’s
funny. You know, I grew up with brothers and I was sort of a tomboy
because I always wanted to hang out with my brothers’ friends
and be with them. I’ve never really had a lot of girlfriends,
I’ve had a few kind of good girlfriends; but it was the first
time I’ve ever hung out with that many women at once. At first
I was a little intimidated by it and a little bit scared. I think
I learned that women are pretty damn cool to hang around with…(profuse
B&TF: What are some of the first impressions you had about
the cast members or did you know them before the show?
LLS: No, I didn’t know any of them before. I got to meet
Erin at the cast read and she was just so warm and giving, open
and funny as well as relaxed. I was immediately put at ease with
Erin. Leisha is just this little ball of energy; this little ray
of sunshine. Her voice just puts a smile on my face.
B&TF: You worked with both of them the most, right?
LLS: Yes, exactly.
B&TF: What about, let’s say, Jennifer Beals?
LLS: Jennifer Beals is the most stunningly beautiful woman I have
ever seen in my life. In person, you’re just like, “Are
you real?” (laughing) Seriously. And she’s just so humble
and so poised.
B&TF: I heard that she helps a lot if someone’s having
trouble with a scene.
LLS: Oh, really? I can picture that. I can definitely see her doing
B&TF: What about Laurel Holloman?
LLS: Laurel is always like the Mama Bear. She’s always so
supportive. She’s always taking care of everyone and always
making sure everyone’s okay. Sort of protecting everyone.
LLS: At first, I was totally scared by Kate because she could put
on this front of like being very cold. So at first I thought maybe
she’s a bitch. But she’s not at all. In fact, I think
she and I are a little bit similar, I think she’s a little
bit shy, actually. And she’s not a bullshitter; she talks
the truth, she says it straight and so she’s not one of those
people (speaking in over-exciting, high voice) – “Hey,
how are you?” She’s cool; she’s chill and she’s
B&TF: Pam Grier?
LLS: She’s an icon, yeah. When I first met her I was just
tongue-tied. What can you say about Pam other than she’s a
phenomenal actress, phenomenal human being, really funny.
B&TF: We kind of talked about this yesterday during meet&greet
- that scene in Bette and Tina’s house when you were protecting
Tina from the psycho stalker. You and Dana were trying to have sex.
Tell me a little about that scene.
LLS: Trying to have sex...yes, it was really funny because in the
scene, the way that it’s actually played, everyone’s
pretending to be asleep, and sleeping with one eye closed, kind
of peeking over and laughing; usually when you shoot those scenes,
especially with that many people, they can do coverage and everyone
else can leave, especially when there’s no dialogue or whatever…but
for some reason, everyone was super cozy and comfy where they were,
so they were like, “No. We’ll hang out.” So Erin
and I were full-on making out and getting into it and I looked over
and they actually all are staring at us! They’re all keep
laughing and pointing. So I was like, “Oh my god, that’s
really embarrassing!” (laughing) But it was fun! I think that
was one of the first scenes where we all got to work together for
an extended period of time so it was nice.
B&TF: And the last question because we are out of time. Do
you have any future projects with the TV or movies?
LLS: I have three films coming out this year; a film called Pathology,
Trick or Treat, and then a film called Helen. I shot a pilot for
HBO that J.J. Abrams directed. So we’ll see what happens with
that. I’m not sure if that’s been picked up yet or not.