Lauren Holly Interview: "NCIS" Star Talks Hallmark's "My Summer Prince" and "Motive"
Image attributed to Max Abadian/Le Chateau
Lauren Holly is one of Hollywood’s most well-respected actors and has proven to have lasting star power with roles in some of film and television’s most noteworthy projects. She just finished her tenure on CTV/ABC’s hit crime drama series Motive as medical examiner Betty Rogers. Holly is also known from her three seasons as Director Jenny Shepard in NCIS on CBS and as Deputy Sheriff Maxine Stewart in David E. Kelley’s Picket Fences (1992-1996).
Film roles include Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Dumb and Dumber, Sabrina, A Smile Like Yours, Any Given Sunday, What Women Want, In Enemy Hands, The Least Among You, Scream of the Banshee and Field of Lost Shoes.
"Hallmark is definitely a favorite of my fans. I definitely have a huge fanbase that watch a lot of Hallmark movies, so it’s always a pleasure. I’m a mom, and they’re great for my boys to watch."
Holly is starring in My Summer Prince with Taylor Cole, Jack Turner and Marina Sirtis, which premieres August 6, 2016, on the Hallmark channel. My Summer Prince is part of Hallmark’s first-ever “Summer Nights” event that began July 23 with a new, original premiere and ends August 27. The movies feature a roster of talent, in addition to Holly, including James Denton, Hilarie Burton, Vivica A. Fox, Natasha Henstridge, Rachel Leigh Cook and Deborah Gibson.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Lauren, you are no stranger to Hallmark movies!
Lauren Holly: (laughs) No!
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Why do actors love doing them?
Lauren Holly: Well, number one, there are not many places that make that format anymore, you know, the TV movie. It’s a favorite. There’s always good stories. Hallmark is definitely a favorite of my fans. I definitely have a huge fanbase that watch a lot of Hallmark movies, so it’s always a pleasure. I’m a mom, and they’re great for my boys to watch.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How did you become involved in My Summer Prince?
Lauren Holly: It was just typical. My manager sent me a script, and I read it and laughed out loud actually. I think this writer is very talented. It was the first thing he wrote for television. His name’s Topher Payne. It was very funny. I love comedy. They said, “We’re filming in Park City. Will you come and do it?” I said, “Absolutely.”
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I understand Topher’s a writer in Atlanta.
Lauren Holly: Yeah. I guess he’s written for a lot of theatre, and one of his plays went to Off-Broadway. It got great reviews there. So, Hollywood just sort of started beckoning, and this is his first TV script.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): How is it filming in June in Park City, Utah?
Lauren Holly: Oh, it was so pretty. It was just gorgeous. I’d only been to Park City in the wintertime, and it was just a gorgeous place.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Is My Summer Prince the standard romantic comedy?
Lauren Holly: Yes. It’s a total romantic comedy, sort of fantasy hijinks a little bit. It’s a little more on the comedy side, I think. Love and comedy. It’s very sweet. I hope the fans love it.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Your character is a public relations crisis manager. Do you have experience with that raising kids at home?
Lauren Holly: Managing a crisis? You betcha! (laughs) Every mom could probably be a crisis manager, right?
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Absolutely! You are done filming Motive?
Lauren Holly: I am. I’m all finished Motive and moving on to whatever comes up next.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): The series finale airs August 30?
Lauren Holly: I’m not sure, to tell you the truth. That sounds about right. I think we have about two or three more episodes left to air. So, that sounds about right, yeah.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Are you pleased with the ending?
Lauren Holly: I am pleased. You get some resolve, which is always nice. The audience gets some answers about some stuff.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Are you sad that it’s over?
Lauren Holly: I’m so used to it in my career. I’ve done so many series and movies. It’s always hard. You get close to people, and you work together for a long time, and then it moves on. But, it’s the way it’s supposed to be, I guess. I don’t know. Actors … we’re all just a bunch of carnies really. We just follow the trailers around.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I read that you love props. Did you take anything from the set as a souvenir?
Lauren Holly: It was funny because I was definitely searching around my morgue set to decide. But, considering I was the medical examiner, there really wasn’t anything that I really wanted (laughs). It was a little macabre for my taste maybe.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Have you ever regretted leaving NCIS?
Lauren Holly: No. I haven't, mainly because, to be honest, when it started, I was just supposed to do six episodes. The next thing I knew, I was there, and I did 80-something episodes. It was always meant to be a short-term thing, so it ended up being kind of a gift. It was kind of perfect.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You and Sasha Alexander left and both became medical examiners on other shows (laughs).
Lauren Holly: I know. The fans loved that. That’s what happens when you spend time at NCIS. You become a medical examiner.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I’m one of the people that remember you as Julie Chandler on All My Children.
Lauren Holly: That’s awesome! You’re dating yourself (laughs).
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I am, indeed (laughs). So many actors say that’s the toughest job out there.
Lauren Holly: I absolutely agree. It was one of those things with a huge learning curve for me. It was an amazing experience. I always say if directors want a hard-working actor, they should take them off of soaps because that is a daily grind. I was on the three years, and by my third year, I would have 40 pages a day. So, you learn how to really think on your feet.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): It was a great training ground so early in your career.
Lauren Holly: Yes. It was fantastic for me. I’m really fortunate. I’ve worked in every medium, you know.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I understand your parents were hooked on All My Children.
Lauren Holly: My dad. It was so funny. He was a college professor, and he noticed his students would not schedule office hours to talk to him during the time All My Children was on. He checked out the show because he wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Then, I got on the show, and that was that for him.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Your parents were both professors. Did you feel pressure from them to earn good grades?
Lauren Holly: It was just that there was an emphasis placed on academics. It was always expected that I do well in school. But, I enjoyed school, and I did do well, so that was fine. My parents made sure I got my college education, which I did, so it all worked out just perfectly.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Did you begin your career as a model?
Lauren Holly: Actually, the modeling wasn’t really … my friend tool pictures of me on my college campus. He wanted to be a photographer, and he ended up becoming a big photographer. He sent the photos in to an agency.
I didn’t aspire to be a model at all. I got some success right off the bat that helped me pay for things, but I wasn’t on the way to becoming some supermodel. The agency sent me on my first commercial audition, and that’s sort of how I got involved.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You’ve had quite the career on television and in films. Do you have a favorite role?
Lauren Holly: I loved Picket Fences. That might be my favorite television role just because the writing was so fantastic, and I loved the character that David E. Kelley wrote for me because I got so much comedy and drama. That show was a little bit ahead of its time.
I made a lot of great movies. Some of my favorites are Dumb and Dumber, Beautiful Girls and Dragon. I’ve had a great time working with amazing directors and amazing co-stars.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Was it a difficult transition for you, as far as your career was concerned, to move to Canada?
Lauren Holly: It was funny because I never intended for it to be a long-time thing. I came here because I wanted to continue working, I wanted to raise my boys in an area that was a little bit better to raise them than Los Angeles, and it was only a two-hour drive from my hometown. So, I was near my family. I just started working here and haven’t stopped yet, so it has been kind of amazing. My boys are loving growing up here.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): I’ll bet the Canadians have an interesting perspective on America’s presidential candidates.
Lauren Holly: Yeah, right now? Definitely! They just think America is a little crazy at the moment, I think.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): Anything to do with Donald Trump?
Lauren Holly: (laughs) Yeah. They’re just wondering if that’s really a possibility.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): This may be a little piece of trivia, but how in the world did you ever get involved in the Dixie Chicks’ video “Goodbye Earl,” as “Mary Ann”?
Lauren Holly: You know what? I’m not really sure, to tell you the truth. But, it was so fun, and I love those girls. I’m so glad I did it. But, that was just a phone call I got asking if I would ever do something like that, and I said, “Sure. It sounds fun.” It was a blast, but I have no idea why they called me.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You’ve also had a fashion line?
Lauren Holly: That was really great. I did a line with a Canadian retailer called Le Chateau. It’s just European flair with an excellent price point, and I just loved the clothes. I made a movie called After the Ball, and they designed the clothes for the movie. I was like, “Who did this?” I became friends with the owners, and next thing I knew, we were developing a line. It was really a great deal of fun.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): You have a film out later this month with Emma Roberts?
Lauren Holly: It’s called The Blackcoat’s Daughter, and it’s really creepy (laughs). I saw it because I’m in it. Otherwise, I’m not sure that I would watch it. I’m not one for horror films. But, this is like old-school horror. It’s not a slasher movie at all, which I really appreciated. I think the director, Osgood Perkins, is very talented. It was fun for me because James Remar, who plays my husband in the movie, played my sugar daddy in my first studio feature, Band of the Hand, in the mid-80s. It was like a little reunion.
Melissa Parker (Smashing Interviews Magazine): What else is going on, Lauren?
Lauren Holly: Right now, I’m just enjoying August. That’s my plan, just having a little bit of a summer break with my boys. We’ve been going to movies, hanging out, being at home, enjoying our house because we've been traveling a lot. Lots of their friends have been coming over. I’m manning a mean barbecue grill. Having a nice time.
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