Interview with Bethany Joy Lenz of "Men at Work" on TBS - Primetime Article From The TV MegaSite

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By Suzanne

Bethany Joy Lenz

Interview with Bethany Joy Lenz of "Men at Work" on TBS 5/8/13


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 ahead maíam.

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 feels.
And see if I still enjoy it. And lucky me I won the job so. You know.

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 appreciate it.

Bethany Joy Lenz: Okay thanks.

Operator: Weíll go to Lisa Steinberg with Starry Constellation Magazine.

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 differently.

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 rewrite something.


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 morning.

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 much.

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 them.

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 Reviews.

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 that?

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 Dittman.

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 & the Restless.


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 canít.

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 are now?

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 half.

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 you.

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 wonderful day.

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 participating.

Operator: And ladies and gentleman that does conclude todayís conference. Thank you all for dialing in.

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