Lauren Holly is no stranger to international audiences. The veteran actress has been working in the industry since the 1980s and has enjoyed many memorable roles in both film and television.
Her more notable feature film credits include Dumb and Dumber, The Chumscrubber and Chasing 3000. On the television side of the business, Lauren Holly has enjoyed guest starring roles on such series as Hill Street Blues, Alphas and Covert Affairs. As well as regular roles on the David E. Kelley series Picket Fences and Chicago Hope. Even so, she is arguably best known internationally for her role on NCIS as Director Jenny Shepard.
More recently, she has been starring as Dr Rogers in the Canadian drama series Motive. Lauren was kind enough to carve out some time from her hectic schedule to talk to TVWise about the show, her character, the preparations she took for the role and much more.
TVWise: Can you tell us what Motive is about?
Lauren Holly: It’s a typical, procedural show except for the fact that your killer and your victim are revealed to you right at the beginning. So, instead of trying to figure out who did it, you are trying to figure out why and how.
TVWise: Can you tell us about your character Dr. Betty Rogers?
Lauren Holly: I love her as a woman. She’s smart and good at her job as a medical examiner. I always tease everyone that she is the one who really solves all the crimes. She’s a good friend to the lead character and that friendship deepens in Season 2. Betty and Angie have a very cool friendship that is very non-judgmental and they both learn a lot about each other. She is also the one that has some humour and she is a character of sexuality on the show. She’s very cool.
TVWise: What kind of preparation did you do for the role?
Lauren Holly: You know, I am a big on research. I went to various morgues and learned about what exactly they do and I was on call with the coroner’s office of Major Crimes in Vancouver. It took a bit of getting used to but then it became quite fascinating. They are detectives in their own right; it’s just that the bodies are the crime scene.
TVWise: Has working on Motive as a medical examiner changed or affected your opinion or view on death?
Lauren Holly: It doesn’t because the truth is that you very quickly have to get past the fact that it is a dead person. I had to be aware that it was because that person belonged to people, so they are always very careful and respectful of the body, but you actually think of the body as a crime scene and as a place to find your clues. You sort of have to distances yourself.
TVWise: Your character has a great sense of humour, do you think that’s something needed in order for her to deal with her job?
Lauren Holly: Absolutely. You deal with everyone’s worst moment of their day and you never get the good moments or it’s very rare that you do. The medical examiner especially deals with the worst moments, so I think that you have to have a sense of humour. Something that the writers do with my character is that I am out a lot at night and show up at crime scenes sometimes in these crazy outfits. You kind of wonder where my character has been all night and I love that because I can see her just going out and blowing off some steam. I think in the next season you are going to start to find out where exactly that is.
TVWise: Will we get to learn more of your character’s back story?
Lauren Holly: As much as I want people to find out more about what my character does, it’s also more fun that they don’t find out what I do. It will never be as good as people’s imaginations, so I think in season two what you get with Betty, you find out more about her relationships with people she works with, especially with Angie. There are episodes where you wonder what Angie is thinking when my character shows up at a crime scene in club attire. In Season 3 they are talking about learning more about that, so that should be kind of interesting.
TVWise: You are starting to see your character spend some time outside of the morgue; will we see more of this as Season 2 progresses?
Lauren Holly: Let’s put it this way, she’s more involved with cases and ends up in the bullpen, interview room and places like that. She definitely starts showing up more and more this season. People always ask me why I’m not in the show more and the truth is that the show shoots in Vancouver and I live in Toronto, so I commute. They only have a certain number of days with me so it’s how much they can fit in those couple of days, but I think it makes it more exciting.
TVWise: Warren Christie and Valerie Tian have joined the cast for Season 2. They both add a different, yet interesting dynamic to the series. Would you agree?
Lauren Holly: I worked with Warren before because I had a recurring role on Alphas with him, so I’ve always loved him. Valerie is this little spitfire girl who is just awesome.
TVWise: The characters on Motive are just as interesting and complex as the cases. Do you think that’s important for the longevity of the series?
Lauren Holly: I think that our characters are more real and not just superheroes. Many times in these procedurals the guys that catch the bad guys can hear through walls, see through cement. Their powers of deduction are just ridiculous and they always look real good and are super cool. Our characters are really fallible on Motive. Angie has some stuff going on this year that she is not proud of and she’s a single mom trying to figure it out. You don’t know what is going on with Vega and Lucas is such a geeky, funny guy. I think people are identifying with a lot of things about the characters, so for that I think it makes them more interesting. What I really like about this season is that you start to get to know our characters more and more.
TVWise: Although Motive does deal with violence and horrible crimes, the violence isn’t over done or thrown in the viewer’s face. Is that important to you?
Lauren Holly: There is so much violence and on our show, the crime scenes are still horrible, but the bulk of the show is not them riding around blowing up things and shooting people, so I am really happy about that. It’s not so much how I choose it, but I just get bored with it after a while. I find that when I watch those types of shows, I am doing something else while I am watching it. The shows that I really love are the ones that I can’t miss and you really have to watch. I don’t like to have background noise.
TVWise: Dr. Betty Rogers has become such a fan favorite. How important are the fans for the show?
Lauren Holly: I am so fortunate because for some reason I have fans that range in age from 16 to 65. A group of high school girls all over the world, who are fans of mine, coordinated this box of presents for my birthday that they all contributed to. The box went to Poland, Russia, England, Philippines and then came to me. It was really meaningful and just incredible.
TVWise: Do you sometimes find it difficult not to take your work home with you?
Lauren Holly: I can’t really equate the same thing. What they are dealing with is real and what we are doing is acting. It’s so much easier for us to drop it when we go home. I find that during the season, little things go home with me. I wear heels a lot more when I play Betty and all of a sudden in my personal life I wear heels more, but as far as the death and murder, no. What we do is make believe. We are not in the mix, no one has really shot at me or I’ve never had to deal with a real dead child on my table, I just couldn’t imagine that. I never understood why cops, fireman and teachers aren’t the celebrated people. Why are actors and athletes the ones celebrated? We have the easy jobs, but aren’t the ones who can change society.
TVWise: You live tweet along with the fans during episodes of Motive. How important is social media to the show?
Lauren Holly: I do tweeting for the show and selfish reasons as well. I don’t have so many followers I think that I impact ratings, but I do think that I have reached a lot of people that started tuning in to see what I was talking about. I like the immediate feedback. Having only 140 characters and having the immediate feedback takes the pressure off. I don’t have a lot of time in my life and people in general don’t. I like the fact that I can connect with my fans, but don’t feel pressured to get in to deep. There has to be a certain distance or they won’t buy me playing different characters. If you have too much interaction or they know too much about you, they won’t believe you playing different characters. I like Twitter because you can keep the mystery but you also can have contact with the fans. If you are an actor, you won’t get anywhere without your fans.
TVWise: What can fans expect for the rest of season two and do you think there will be a third season of Motive?
Lauren Holly: I really hope there will be a season three in the States. We start shooting season 3 in Canada in a couple of months, so I hope it does well in the States so it gets picked up. As for the rest of season two, there is this sort of, in house mystery that builds up over the season that Warren Christie and Angie are at the centre of, but it effects all of us and you will see that get heightened. Lucas will also have is own drama going on as well.
TVWise: Any upcoming projects you can tell us about?
Lauren Holly: I have 3 features coming out. Field of Lost Shoes is a civil war drama and they just released the trailer the other day. Then I have Hoovey, which is a true story basketball movie and I just wrapped After the Ball which is Cinderella set in the fashion world and I am the evil stepmother. Field of Lost Shoes has a bunch of famous people in it; Hoovey I star opposite Patrick Warburton and After the Ball, Chris Noth plays my husband. So, it’s going to be an exciting year.
Lauren Holly plays Dr Betty Rogers on the Canadian drama series Motive. The show’s second season continues to air on Monday nights at 9pm on Universal Channel in the UK and on Wednesday nights at 10/9c on ABC in the US.