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Interview with Bethany Joy Lenz of "Men
at Work" on TBS 5/8/13
BETHANY JOY LENZ MEN AT WORK CONFERENCE
Moderator: Christina Hamilton
May 8, 2013
10:30 AM CT
Operator: Please stand by we are about to begin. Good day
everyone. Welcome to todayís Turner Entertainment hosted by
me, Joy Lenz, Men at Work Conference Call. Todayís call is
being recorded. At this time Iíd like to turn the call over
to your host for today, Ms. Christina Hamilton. Please go
Christina Hamilton: Hello. Thank you for joining the Bethany
Joy Lenz Men at Work Conference Call. Bethany will guest
star at Men at Work episode: Tyler the Pioneer airing this
Thursday May 9 at 10 pm eastern time pacific on TBS. The
conference call is now open for questions. Please press star
1 to ask your question. Thank you.
Operator: And our first question will come from Earl Dittman
with Digital Journal.
Earl Dittman: Hey Bethany, how are you this morning?
Bethany Joy Lenz: Iím well how are you?
Earl Dittman: Doing great! Doing great. Well congratulations
itís great to see you on there.
Bethany Joy Lenz: Thank you so much.
Earl Dittman: Is this going to be a recurring character?
Bethany Joy Lenz: No not as far as I know.
Earl Dittman: Oh okay, okay.
Bethany Joy Lenz: I guess I could always come back later.
Earl Dittman: So how did you get involved with the episode?
With Men at Work.
Bethany Joy Lenz: Well one of the things I - after I took
some time off when I finished One Tree Hill and spent some
time at home I decided to move out to L.A. and just really
continue working which is something I was on the fence
about. Especially since Iíve had my daughter. So now that I
decided to move back to L.A. and so after some projects that
were strategically designed to move my career in a direction
that was not quite just doing the same thing as I was doing
in One Tree Hill.
Which I loved doing but I wanted to explore some parts of my
abilities as an artist that I havenít done in a long time.
Especially comedy since I started doing comedy when I was
young and doing sitcoms and then I stopped for a long time
doing drama. Because I was doing drama. And so when Men at
Work was one of the auditions that came up and I told my
manager I really, really want to get this because I would
((inaudible)) to have the opportunity to jump into some
sitcom work again and get my feet wet and see how that
And see if I still enjoy it. And lucky me I won the job so.
Earl Dittman: And you picked a perfect sale. I mean what a
great comedy to be on.
Bethany Joy Lenz: Yes itís a great set. It was a great show.
I had seen a couple of episodes and I just really thought
this would be such a perfect place for me to do my comedy
experiment and see if I - see if it works. And I hope it
did. I had a great time.
Earl Dittman: Thatís fantastic. Well I will let you on to
somebody else and catch you back around. Thanks a lot. I
Bethany Joy Lenz: Okay thanks.
Operator: Weíll go to Lisa Steinberg with Starry
Lisa Steinberg: Hello! Itís a pleasure to speak with you.
Bethany Joy Lenz: Hi! How are you?
Lisa Steinberg: Good! I was just wondering. What did you
find the most difficult aspect about filming the show?
Thereís so many good looking men.
Bethany Joy Lenz: The first three days, the first two and a
half days were really difficult for me because, like I said
I hadnít done comedy in a long - especially sitcoms. A very,
very long time probably ten or eleven years. And walking
back onto a completely new set that didnít feel like home to
me, it didnít feel the comforts that you feel after youíve
been on a series for ten years and you know everyone there.
It was a completely new environment and I have so much
respect for artistís environment and everybody does it
And so not only was I walking on to a brand new set trying
to - you know desperately hoping that I would be able to
really contribute something to this show that I respected
but also trying to navigate everyoneís energy and everyoneís
vibe and like how does everybody work here. And you know,
what - I donít know. Thatís probably the best way to answer
that question. I think the first few days were just
difficult in getting my feet wet.
Lisa Steinberg: Are there any funny moments during filming
where you just couldnít keep a straight face?
Bethany Joy Lenz: Yes I think that happened when youíre -
for me that happened when we weíre filming live because
everything is so unpredictable. After the first few takes
you really start listening out and then you find your energy
with the audience and I could really tell the guys were so
used to this and they really had their own routine with the
audience and with each other. So I - there wasnít a -- to
answer your question there wasnít a particular story of a
moment but there were lots of little things that happened
throughout the filming that were surprising and fun.
Lisa Steinberg: Okay. Thank you so much.
Operator: Weíll go to Suzanne Lanoue with The TV Megasite.
Suzanne Lanoue: Hi. Itís nice to talk to you today. I
enjoyed your work on the show and on my screener.
Bethany Joy Lenz: Oh cool. Thank you.
Suzanne Lanoue: I agree with Lisa. A lot of cute guys there.
Suzanne Lanoue: I was wondering when you got the job did
they tell you anything particularly about your ((inaudible))
to help you out or just give you the script or what?
Bethany Joy Lenz: Yeah that - I pretty much just got the
script. Thatís something that like I was saying before,
every environment is different. I found that some
environments they are - everyone involved from producers to
the other actors are very collaborative on the character
work and on, you know, wanting to get facts, story and
information, but Iím not sure that in TV thereís a lot of
time for that. I think itís more you get whatís on the page.
The writers are pretty clear about the character and what
they want to say and who they want you to be.
And everyone that - in terms of the producing and directing
they were great about steering me. If there was something in
particular they wanted theyíd just come up to me and talk to
me about it and you know weíd make an adjustment. And the
writers are always rewriting especially on sitcoms. There
constantly rewriting even the moment youíre filming they
Suzanne Lanoue: I heard. I interviewed Danny Masterson about
a month or so ago and he had said they were kind of flexible
there about like if you wanted to try out new jokes and
stuff. Did you do that kind of thing?
Bethany Joy Lenz: Oh no I didnít. If I had been there for
maybe a few episodes and was really comfortable you know --
I think thatís another thing about coming into someone
elseís set, someone elseís show is that you or I have a
tendency to hold back a little bit first because I just - I
donít know. I want to -- I just want to be respectful of the
environment and let everybody else kind of do their thing
and figure where I fit in.
Maybe thatís something I need to talk to my therapist about.
Maybe I need to be more present and bring more to the table.
I donít know.
Suzanne Lanoue: There you go! Alright thanks a lot and I
look forward to seeing what else you show up in.
Bethany Joy Lenz: Okay thank you.
Operator: Weíll go to Elizabeth Buczak with Beanstalk Biz.
Elizabeth Buczak: Hey Bethany itís nice to talk to you this
Bethany Joy Lenz: Thank you so much for chatting.
Elizabeth Buczak: So you played a mother on One Tree Hill
for quite some time and then I understand that on Men at
Work youíre also playing a mother so how does it differ from
being a mother in real life to kind of playing one on screen
and do you feel more prepared for this role now after One
Tree Hill and your own child?
Bethany Joy Lenz: Well I think if there had been a lot real
intense interaction with the kids that the answer might be
yes but I think - I mean there was no interaction. There
were no actual kid scenes in the episodes. It was more adult
shenanigans. Iím not sure that an actress who is not a
mother would be able to contribute in her own way just as
Elizabeth Buczak: Alright. Okay.
Bethany Joy Lenz: But I did play a mom on One Tree Hill and
that did help I think having my own child. Iíve always had a
real heart for kids and I love children. So I donít know
maybe it did.
Elizabeth Buczak: And then you said it was kind of a more
comedy based show than youíve done on One Tree Hill. How is
it different working on a set thatís kind of more live and
interacting, you know, with an audience more than kind of
the drama One Tree Hill set?
Bethany Joy Lenz: Well I think the difference is that I -
one of my - what I think one of my weakest points as an
artist is comedy impulse. I can do dramatic with no problem
but comedy, Iím funny but not -- like Iím funny in my real
life with my friends, people that are expecting me to be
funny and theyíre looking to me like boom make a joke! I
kind of freeze up but Iím like Ah I canít handle the
pressure, you know! So that was challenging for me. Which is
another reason why I really wanted to do it. Just because I
- thereís only one way to get better at something and thatís
just to do it.
So yeah I - thatís probably how it was different for me. I
was just used to One Tree Hill thereís not a lot of
improvisation. Well Iím sure the writers would disagree with
me about that because I was constantly changing the lines. I
was probably the bane of their existence for ten years. They
never said that ((inaudible)). But yes you know I think that
would probably be the major difference and just being in
front of a live audience and youíre feeling energy from
And thatís whatís so great for comedy is you get to hear the
immediate laugh and you feel relieved like oh God. Thank God
they like me. It was funny. Oh good. Itís working.
Elizabeth Buczak: Alright. Thank you.
Operator: Weíll go next to Courtney Cashman with Raked
Courtney Cashman: Hi itís great to talk to you today.
Bethany Joy Lenz: Thanks Courtney. You too.
Courtney Cashman: So I was just wondering. Youíre werenít
the only guest star on that episode. You also had Ben
McKenzie there. Was there - did having someone else there
who was, you know paying attention who was dealing with the
same issues you were as far as the new set, you know,
working with new people, did that help at all? Did you enjoy
working - did you enjoy interacting with him? Things like
Bethany Joy Lenz: I did! He was a lovely person. He was very
funny. I think he also is close friends with one or a few of
the guys on the show and so they already had a rapport and
there was a comfort level there to just sort of spitball
ideas and play. And he was great, and it did help. I think
it was encouraging for me to see another quote unquote
dramatic actor on the show. He was very funny. He was really
impressed with his instincts.
Courtney Cashman: And Iím just curious. You were talking so
much about how you were really trying to get into comedy but
it looks like coming up youíre going to be in a much more
dramatic role on Dexter, you know. Iím just curious to see
or hear more about how that decision came along too.
Bethany Joy Lenz: Yes well I should clarify. Not trying to
change my career into a comedy career. I just want to be
able to explore, you know as an artist, as an actor we have
so many different sides and so many different ways of
expressing ourselves especially after one thing for so long.
Sometimes it just feels really good to just kind of break
out of that mode for a while. But yes I was - the decision
of Dexter was will you be on Dexter? Yes I will. So itís not
hard at all.
Courtney Cashman: Thatís so great. Thanks so much.
Bethany Joy Lenz: That service is for that show.
Operator: And out next question is a follow up from Earl
Earl Dittman: How are you doing again?
Bethany Joy Lenz: Good.
Earl Dittman: She kind of asked the question there about
Dexter but I know you got your start on soaps and the state
of soaps these days is kind of a flux and now theyíre
starting to move to cable or online, stuff like that. What
do you think about that? Do you think thatís a smart move?
Bethany Joy Lenz: What a great question! You know Iíve got
so much nostalgia around soaps. I mean I would come home
from school when I was a kid and my mom had All My Children
on and I watched All My Children for years and years. I
donít know how many of you guys watched that show but like I
was watching it when Natalie was thrown down the well by her
crazy sister Janet.
Earl Dittman: I watched it too then. Yes.
Bethany Joy Lenz: ((Inaudible)) so I donít know. It makes me
really sad that theyíre kind of dwindling and disappearing.
The bell shows, heís really figured them out Bold & Young &
Earl Dittman: Well now All My Children is online. We can
watch All My Children -
Bethany Joy Lenz: Itís online completely?
Earl Dittman: Yes but now they say itís a little more racier
because they can get away with love scenes that are a little
more racy and stuff like that so maybe itís a good thing.
Bethany Joy Lenz: Good thing. Yes maybe it will jump over to
cable. I donít know I mean I guess programming has to evolve
but, you know, whatís hard about it is that everything - now
we have what nine thousand channels? Yes well the average
person probably has about five hundred. But itís still a lot
and itís not like it used to be when the soaps were on and
we were kids and we had to walk up to the TV and turn a dial
and you had like a channel.
I think that now with Reality TV and people are so much less
apt to sit and follow a story line and just to have noise on
in the background, which is disheartening, disillusioning
for me regarding our culture because I donít know. If you
want to have noise on in the background can you put on like
NPR or something? Do we have to listenÖ
Bethany Joy Lenz: I donít know who these people are but I
Earl Dittman: The main point of this is that did being on a
soap prepare you? Because a lot of people look at soaps and
they dismiss them and say oh well thatís just a soap, but
didnít it really prepare you to being the actress that you
Bethany Joy Lenz: To be in the - Iím sorryÖ
Earl Dittman: Would it prepare you to be in that? I mean
because soaps are really hard you have to do them fast, you
have to do them quick. You have to do them a lot quicker
than regular television.
Bethany Joy Lenz: Oh yes.
Earl Dittman: Did it really kind of teach you the ropes?
Bethany Joy Lenz: Oh yes. Yes it really, really, really did.
I would recommended it to most young actors. Itís like a
boot camp for actors and it really hawed my dramatic improve
skill. Because youíre getting, sometimes fifteen to thirty
pages of dialogue a day that you have to learn. Some of
people - a lot of actors would sit and they prepare for days
in advance. I got into the habit of sitting in the hair
chair and learning thirty pages of dialogue in an hour and a
Earl Dittman: Oh my God.
Bethany Joy Lenz: And thatís why you had to - and thatís why
when I got up to set of course I wasnít going to get all the
lines right. I do have a photographic memory so that helps
me but I couldnít get a line that you just kind of go with
the feeling of the scene and just how it feels. And that
helped so much to be able to be in touch with your instincts
as an actor. You know with soaps thereís so many wonderful
theatre actors and really well-trained actors in that feel
that you can play with and who are prepared to play off of
And thereís not kind of the same pressure that I have found
in Prime Time to get it exactly right. Thereís a lot more
room to play and its fun. I really loved it. I loved being
on a Soap.
Earl Dittman: Well weíre glad youíre back and weíre glad
youíre doing great stuff like Men at Work and Dexter. Thanks
for coming back.
Bethany Joy Lenz: Thank you.
Earl Dittman: I appreciate that. Thanks for your time.
Bethany Joy Lenz: Of course! Happy to talk with you.
Operator: And we have no further questions in the queue.
Bethany Joy Lenz: Okay great. Thank you guys so much. Have a
Christina Hamilton: Thank you so much for joining today's
call. As a reminder you can Bethanyís appearance on Men at
Work this Thursday May 9 at 10 pm eastern time pacific on
TBS. A transcript of this call will be available within 24
hours. Thank you Bethany and thank you all for
Operator: And ladies and gentleman that does conclude
todayís conference. Thank you all for dialing in.
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