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Lauren Holly's brush with death
By SP_COP on October 01, 2014 | From
Lauren Holly's brush with death A huge Hollywood star in the mid-1990s, Lauren Holly is back on Kiwi screens in the new Canadian drama Motive. The 50-year-old actress talks to James Croot about shifting north of the border and the nice things about a long commute.

How did you first hear about the show and the part of medical examiner Betty Rogers, and what attracted you to them?

I liked the whole idea of the show - the traditional police procedural getting turned on its head a bit. Here you find out who the victim and killer are right at the top. I also liked the idea of playing a woman who is just really good at doing her job. But she's also irreverent and a bit sassy.

What sort of prep did you do for the role?

I was on call at a morgue in BC [British Columbia] and went and did things like an autopsy, all of that sort of stuff. The first time I was pretty scared, t o be honest, because I wasn't sure how I was going to handle it. I was a little weak in the knees. But thanks to all the attitudes of the professionals, I got past that really quickly. They are all detectives in their own right - of the bodies. They are very scientific about it all and it's fascinating. I kind of got into it a little bit, which is really odd. Before that experience I would have tended to think I was a bit squeamish about things like that.

So do you find yourself studying details of murder cases now?

Not so much, because I still tend to shy away from that - it's a little bit morbid. I had an interesting experience recently though. In my neighbourhood [in Toronto] there was a car crash and a car ended up hitting a house. I was out walking my dog and I started chatting with the police officer and it was interesting because what he thought had happened wasn't really what happened. I started putting it together and went back over to him saying, ''can I point something out to you?'' He said, ''actually that's really good''. I felt like I was on the job.

You've played doctors in the past, most famously on Chicago Hope . Do family members come to you with their ailments now?

Not so much, I tend to go to them like I'm the doctor, which is kind of funny. You do start to feel like you're an expert because you read so much. Even for Motive , there were all these things I was constantly having to look up to make sure I was pronouncing them properly.

So were there any words you particularly struggled with?

I can't even say it now, it was some sort of horrible poison. There was a good 30 minutes or so where we had regales of laughter on set as I constantly had to enter a scene and try to say this word very emphatically.

You live in Toronto, but the show is shot in Vancouver - that's a fair commute. How do you manage it?

Yes, between September and February I basically can't make a plan because of the cross-country trips - sometimes twice for a single episode. People are kind of shocked and amazed that I do this but its actually fantastic because my only quiet time in my life [Holly has three tween boys - Azer, George and Henry] is at 30,000 feet and I've learned to appreciate those flights and hours so much. I read and write ton nes of emails because basically when I land in Vancouver I'm on set and when I land here I'm a mom - a single mom with three boys, so believe me when I say I'm running.

So has Kristin Lehman [who plays Motive's lead - Detective Angie Flynn] come to you for advice then about playing a single mum?

No, but she should - I'm going to tell her that. She's great at that part; she's really grounded. I really like her a lot in that role.

She describes the show as unapologetically Canadian. Is that something you agree with?

So many other shows that are filmed in Canada try to pretend they are somewhere else in the world. The city is called Metropolis or whatever. We shoot in Vancouver and use that city for all its beauty. It is incredibly beautiful and our director of photography knows how to make the most of it. Not only do we use all the recognisable things about it, but Kristin is always doing things like throwing down Canadian money on purpose. I think that's really cool. In this day and age, TV is filmed all over the world. Why not make the most of whatever city you're filming in?

As a US citizen turned Canadian permanent resident, what are the differences between Canada and US as far as you're concerned?

I think there's a general sense of a little bit more open-mindedness in Canada. I find it's much more accepting of differences and multiculturalism, which I really like. The US has that coastally but not in the middle, maybe because it's such a big place. I can say that because my Mom is from there. The other reason I moved here was when you do what I do and you live in LA your kids can get a sense of entitlement. They grew up on the NCIS set for three years and everyone took special care of ''Lauren's boys''. They were all very nice but I wasn't sure how great that was ultimately because that isn't how the world is. It seems that in Canadian people really care much less about what I do for my job....
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