Interview Date: 07/30/2010
Run Date: 09/14/2010
Carly Pope didn’t exactly go out of her way to speak up during the panel for her new series, “Outlaw,” but, then again, nor did the journalists who were asking questions single her out very often. One did, however, asking what brought her to the series in the first place and wondering if it might’ve had anything to do with her father working in the legal field.
“Well, I think that having a father who has been involved with law since, you know, before I was born definitely gives me an opportunity to learn more about the law and service the part that way,” Pope admitted. “But, truly, it was just…I felt like it was a really refreshing take on a legal drama. And the writing is phenomenal. The cast they’ve assembled is great. And to me, that is a formula that I’d like to be a part of.”
Executive producer John Eisendrath subsequently admitted that Pope never mentioned her father’s background to him, then mused, “Because her character is the most lawless character on the show, maybe she hasn’t even mentioned it to her father.”
“We’ve spoken briefly about it,” Pope replied, smiling.
Later that evening, during NBC’s all-star party on the rooftop of the Beverly Hilton, I spotted Pope – looking just as gorgeous in person as her photos make her out to be – and decided to take advantage of the opportunity to chat with her for a few minutes.
Carly Pope: Hi, I’m Carly! (Looks at the nametag hanging from my lanyard) And you’re Will from Bullz-Eye.
Bullz-Eye: (Laughs) I am. Good to meet you!
CP: You, too!
BE: Well, before we launch into talking about “Outlaw,” I’ve got to ask you about the previous project you did for NBC, one that I got really excited about but which vanished into oblivion: “Day One.”
CP: I would love to know what happened to “Day One” as well. You and me, both! It’s, like, we just ceased to exist.
BE: I talked to Adam Campbell last year, and he was all excited about it, and then…nothing.
CP: I know! We were all so excited. We were set to start…I mean, we had an official start date and everything…but then it kept getting pushed back, and finally it just fizzled. It’s very unfortunate, too, because I think that Jesse Alexander had such a world in his brain that he wanted to create. It’s unfortunate that he wasn’t given the opportunity to give that to an audience. It would’ve been fun to be a part of it.
BE: At least you stepped right into “Outlaw.”
CP: Yeah, exactly! I mean, I can’t complain. I’m working with a phenomenal cast and a great group of producers and writers. It’s tried and true dramatic television, and there’s a lot of different insights into the legal drama, I think, and hopefully it’ll be a refreshing kind of angle.
BE: Earlier today, someone commented on the fact that Jimmy Smits is one of those actors that people will watch in anything, and he’s definitely pretty entertaining in this, but one thing I noticed about the pilot is that it set up the premise for the show so darned fast. Did it feel that way to you?
CP: Well, I feel like, by the end of the first act, you know that he’s quitting the bench and starting a new life. That’s kind of the three-act structure, anyway. Yeah, it has a fast-paced feel to it. I like that, though. It’s, like, putting us on the front lines a little bit more. We’re part of the fire. If we don’t have that kind of energy behind us, what are we doing? Having that unique angle of him being a Supreme Court justice that’s going to have the power, the ability, and the impetus to move things forward, it’s inevitably going to be fast-paced. It has to be. So, yeah, there’s an energy to it, and I hope that’s going to continue.
BE: So how far into filming are you at this point?
CP: We just finished Episode 2, and we’re starting Episode 3 on Monday.
BE: Do they have the same fast-paced feel?
CP: Well, we’re covering a lot of ground in each episode. For the most part, we’re taking on a case each episode, so that’s where the episodic nature comes in, but there are going to be serialized elements in terms of the character development and what happens in the structure, the dynamic of the “family” that’s been created. But, yeah, for the most part, it is pretty fast-paced. Like, we just finished the table read for Episode 3, and by the end of it, you’re, like… (Exhales loudly) “Okay, I can take a breath now!” There’s a lot of gravity, especially because there are headlines that we’re currently dealing with in the country. There’s a depth and a weight to the issues that we’re tackling. Hopefully, we can infuse a little bit of levity, too. Lucinda, my character, is kind of a tool to create a little bit of levity. Hopefully, that’s the case…but we’ll do as we do, I guess! (Laughs)
BE: Is it fun getting to play so ridiculously flirtatious?
CP: Yeah! The thing I love about Lucinda is that she’s very playful, but beyond that, too, she’s not going to play with anyone that she knows can’t take it. So she cares. For her, she’s looking at the people she’s working with as people who are incredibly bright, incredibly hard working, she has tons of respect for them. It’s a defense mechanism, and as time goes on, we’ll find out why she has those defense mechanisms in place. Right now, we’re kind of getting more of the surface version, but as time goes on, we’ll get to see why she is the way she is. But it’s a really fun character to play, because a lot isn’t known about her, and I feel like having a character that you have to build upon is really intriguing and enticing.
BE: Do you maintain the whole biker-meets-goth look beyond the pilot episode?
CP: The whole thing about Lucinda is that she was built by the street. Lucinda is street-smart. That’s her thing. Her code is…she has never formally been educated. She’s just a survivalist. She’s done whatever she’s had to do to get where she is, and there’s an element of that in her fashion sense. She’s real. She’s not going to put a suit on because she should. She’s going to be nonconformist that way. She’s going to wear what she wants to wear, she’s going to be who she is, without having to adhere to the social norms or whatever.
BE: To step away from “Outlaw” to close, what’s your favorite project that you’ve worked on that didn’t get the love you thought it deserved?CP: Oh, wow, that’s a good question. (Long pause) Well, for better or worse, I’d say that “Day One” was so enjoyable to work on for many reasons. For one, Alex Graves was a phenomenal director. Jesse Alexander wrote a really interesting story that we only knew a fraction of. And, thirdly, we had a cast that all got along really well. We all bonded very quickly as a team, so I felt like it would’ve been really cool to see how that would’ve transpired. But with that being said, the industry is really fickle, and it’s like a wave: it changes all the time, so you have to just kind of roll with it and work with what’s going on today. I’m happy with where I’m at now, but, yeah, it would’ve been nice to see the genesis of something like “Day One,” given the dynamic that we were given to work with in the first place.