Thursday, August 21, 2014

Interview: Katherine LaNasa, a Woman in Charge

Fans know and love Katherine LaNasa from her role of Sophia on “Deception”; from when she played (and stole every scene as) Will Ferrell’s wife, Rose, in “The Campaign”; and from her various featured roles in shows like “Two and a Half Men,” “Big Love,” “Lie to Me,” “Longmire” and “Judging Amy.” Now we can see the lovely actress weekly in the new USA network drama series “Satisfaction,” which airs Thursdays at 10/9c. Katherine plays Adriana, the hard-edged, high-end madam who lures unhappy husband and father Neil Truman (Matt Passmore) into becoming one of her male escorts. I spoke with Katherine recently about her new role, and she’s thrilled to get to play this interesting and multifaceted character.

Celebrity Extra: Tell me about the character of Adriana, whom I love, and what drew you to her and to “Satisfaction.”

Katherine LaNasa: A lot of my fans from “Deception” will really like Adriana. I think a lot of women really like those types of characters that I play. It was definitely really outside the box, so I liked that about it. I knew how the part read, but I had this feeling that I could really do something different with it. It’s always nice when you take it in a different direction, and they say, “Yes!” When (writer/executive producer) Sean (Jablonski) saw my take, he told me he just knew that I was the person.

CE: Did something similar happen for you with playing Sophia on “Deception”? These types of characters seem like so much fun to play.

KL: Yes, the same thing happened with Sophia. It’s fun in these serial soaps to have a character like Adriana or Sophia, but I think that the writers want there to be something not pushy about them. I seem to be able to manipulate most of these characters in that way. I always feel like I take a nod from the Barbara Stanwycks of the world. I felt like those ladies really knew how to do it. They were complicated, strong and dark characters in the forefront, and it was a lot of fun. I’ve been lucky to get to play those types of characters in these past few series.

CE: Tell me about the differences between Adriana and Sophia. How do you make each of these characters different and your own?

KL: It’s been an interesting balance to play Adriana versus Sophia. For Sophia I came up with that weird accent that she had — it just felt really right to have this fake sort of British accent. Everyone I’ve known who has that accent is from the Midwest. I’ve known three people from Kansas with that accent. I’m like, “That’s what I’m doing, dude.” Like I’m doing it on purpose.

With Adriana, I kind of modeled her after women I met in the art scene, the fancy art and music scene that I was in with (first husband) Dennis Hopper when I was in my 20s back in the late ’80s in New York. Before and after that, I was a professional ballet dancer, and I was traveling the world when I met him. The life I had with him — I give him credit for that — there are things you know because you get to go to those places, which you wouldn’t have known know if you hadn’t gone, if you haven’t been in those social circles. I think I was able to bring that to this character and feel like there’s something about a lot of those ex models. There’s simplicity with their style. Adriana’s a woman who doesn’t try too hard.

CE: How difficult has it been shooting “Satisfaction,” with Grant being busy with “Devious Maids”?

KL: Well, it’s always fun to be in New York and to shoot in New York, but I have had a surprisingly enjoyable and pleasant time here in Atlanta. It’s really nice that Grant’s show, “Devious Maids,” shoots here as well. I have this funny feeling that if our show gets picked up, it might even just shoot at the same time next year, which will be amazing. This year we overlapped [our shooting schedules]; it’s better if they are overlapping — if we’re both out of town together — so we just both work in Atlanta, and then we both go home.

CE: You were about five months pregnant when you shot that love scene in the pilot episode, and, by God, you looked fabulous!

KL: Thank you! I was about four-and-a-half or five months pregnant when I did that love scene. By the time we got to the art-gallery scene, I was about five-and-a-half months pregnant.

CE: I did notice judicious placement of large handbags during the gallery scene.

KL: Those bags are by Hayward Luxury, designed by Dennis Hopper’s daughter, Marin. She’s been working on them for years, but they’re now at this level where they are going to have their own store and everything.

CE: How is it working on the set of “Satisfaction,” and how are the cast and crew?

KL: It’s one of the best sets I’ve been on. It’s really happy, and the people are really nice. Everybody is just really nice and down-to-earth. I’m probably the most “Hollywood” of them all — and half the time I’m either pumping or nursing my baby on the set. It’s a really family-oriented environment. Matt (Passmore, Neil Truman) and I are usually joking around, laughing or talking. He’s a really terrific actor. He’s one of those people where you don’t necessarily see all of what he’s doing when you’re working with him, but when I saw the pilot, I was like: “Wow. This guy’s a really complicated actor.” He has an incredibly rich inner life.

CE: And that’s what made him a fan favorite when he starred in “The Glades” as well.

KL: Exactly. He just plays those characters so well. It’s funny, because Neil Truman is such an everyman, and Adriana’s such a worldly, complicated person. It’s not that he’s stupid, but I don’t think he’s come across a person like Adriana before, and he just really plays it so well. I was watching one of our scenes the other day, and I just thought: “Oh my God. This poor guy.” He does not know what he has gotten himself into. It’s like “Alice in Wonderland” — and I am the Mad Hatter, and he is Alice.

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