Interview with Sasha Alexander of "Rizzoli & Isles" on TNT - Primetime TV Show Articles From The TV MegaSite

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By Krista

Sasha Alexander

Interview with Sasha Alexander of "Rizzoli & Isles" on TNT 11/15/12

She was great to talk to-very bubbly, energetic and sweet, and just all around great! I think she'd make a great friend to hang out with.

Moderator: Christina Hamilton
November 15, 2012 12:00 pm CT

Operator: Good day and welcome to the Turner Entertainment hosted Sasha Alexander Rizzoli & Isles conference call. Todayís conference is being recorded. And at this time I would like to turn it over to Ms. Christina Hamilton. Please go ahead, maíam.

Christina Hamilton: Good afternoon. Thank you for joining the Sasha Alexander Rizzoli & Isles conference call. TNTís Rizzoli & Isles returns with all new episodes Tuesday, November 27, at 9:00 pm Eastern Time/Pacific on TNT.

The conference call is now open for questions. Please press star 1 to ask your question. Thank you.

Operator: Weíll take our first question from Meredith Jacobs with Your line is open.

Meredith Jacobs: Hi, thanks for being here today.

Sasha Alexander: Hi, Meredith, how are you?

Meredith Jacobs: Iím good, how are you?

Sasha Alexander: Good. A little sick, but Iím okay.

Meredith Jacobs: Well when we last saw Hope things werenít going very well between Maura and Hope. So how does that affect it when she returns?

Sasha Alexander: You know, yes, some time has passed and Hope does not - she doesnít show up, so I think Maura kind of, you know, left it at that. And when she does show up itís really awkward and really uncomfortable.

Maura reacts in a very unmoral-like way, which is rather surprising, and also I think very liberating for her because she tells Hope, you know, what she really wants to say to her. And I think that, you know, Maura was just deeply hurt because of the way that Hope handled, you know, handled it when Maura told her that she was her daughter. And she basically told her she was a liar.

And so I think Maura is hurt and I think what she does is she really expresses herself to Hope. And in turn, what she sees in Hope is a woman who, you know, may or may not be somebody that she wants to know in her life. You know, itís an interesting storyline because I think that whether we know our mothers in real life or not, like in our life, there comes a point as an adult that you discover who your mother really is.

And I think this is that point for Maura where there is this woman standing in front of her that she wants so badly to be her friend and somebody in her life that she can turn to. And yet Hope is there with a very specific agenda, and that is to save her other daughter. And so it really comes down to, you know, that. Sheís not really there to, you know, to be best, you know, to get close to Maura.

And so itís sad actually. Itís sad, but then interestingly enough some events happen that kind of lead to an interesting road for the both of them.

I like it. I think itís been a real path of discovery for Maura. I had a really good time and am having a good time discovering whatís happening with these two women.

Meredith Jacobs: So is it a storyline that will stretch into next season?

Sasha Alexander: Yes, it is ((inaudible)).

Meredith Jacobs: And what can you preview about Mauraís love life?

Sasha Alexander: Gosh, I wish I could tell you, I feel like itís been so bleak. Season 3 has been so bleak. I really hope Season 4 has a lot more loving going on, thatís what I can tell you.

Yes, a couple of times I checked in with our creator, Janet Tamaro. And Iím like, ďWhatís up? Where are all the cuties?Ē Youíve got these two single ladies and, you know, poor Jane is dealing with the unfortunate sort of predicament that Sergeant Casey Jones is in. And thatís been a huge struggle and is a big struggle and a very sad sort of story going on for her.

But for Maura, I think itís just been a little bit of, you know, one cute guy who turned out to be a killer.

I hope that Season 4 will offer up some more. But no, thereís not really a whole lot of relationship stuff happening for the moment in our love life.

Meredith Jacobs: All right, thank you.

Sasha Alexander: Thank you.

Operator: And once again, if you would like to ask a question, please press the star and 1 on your Touch-tone phone now.

And again, that is star and 1 to ask a question.

Weíll take our question from Earl Dittman with Wireless & Digital. Your line is open.

Earl Dittman: Sasha, how are you doing this morning?

Sasha Alexander: Hi. Very well, thank you, how are you?

Earl Dittman: Doing great. Itís great to talk to you again.

The last time we spoke was on the very first season of Rizzoli & Isles. And that was way back there it seems like now.

Sasha Alexander: A lotís happened.

Earl Dittman: A lot has happened. And for you as an actress, both as a character on the show and as an actress, how easy has this time been for you? Both for the character and both for yourself?

Sasha Alexander: Well theyíre so different. Which one do you want to hear first?

Earl Dittman: You go first, dealerís choice.

Sasha Alexander: The character?

Earl Dittman: Yes, there we go.

Sasha Alexander: Yes. So, I mean, for Maura I think itís been a huge, you know, a really fun road. You know, I mean, Maura is a woman who, you know, sometimes I feel like Iím playing Chrissy Snow on Threeís Company. You know, thereís like scenes that are so comedic that I feel like sheís really like in her own world and sheís this kind of like, you know, just kind of offbeat, you know, bubbly gal.

And then it turns around and thereís this real darkness to her personal life that she has been discovering that started off a bit in Season 1 and got greater in 2 and deeper in 3. And all of it has been sort of like peeling this onion of, you know, who am I? Where do they come from? Who was my family?

And this season it was meeting, you know, her mom, her biological mother who, you know, isnít really claiming to be her - wonít take the responsibility to say that she is her mother.

So itís been kind of a sad journey as an actor, been really thrilling for me because I love comedy, so I love doing all the scenes with Angie that are lighter and that are just fun, you know, I love doing those scenes. You know, to me itís like the throwback to just, you know, even great movies that I loved, like Lethal Weapon and, you know, like those were just fun, buddy stuff. And in this case, you know, we get to do girly things and itís a nice, you know, a nice contrast to the crime, the grittiness of the crime that usually happens. So I like that stuff.

But then I get to turn around and have these very kind of, you know, interesting character-driven scenes. And so itís been emotionally a really kind of fun and interesting ride for me. Iím always surprised by the scripts...

Earl Dittman: Yes.

Sasha Alexander: ...and always find myself going, ďHmm, now how do I play that? How do I make that sound okay without being completely silly?Ē Because at the end of the day, I am a medical examiner, I am a smart woman, and I do need to be, you know, competent at my job, and that is the most important thing to maintain always.

Earl Dittman: Well, you know, ((inaudible)).

Sasha Alexander: ((inaudible)) push the envelope a bit.

Earl Dittman: Yes. Well what impressed me as a fan though is that youíve really just grown into this character and just really, I mean, not that you didnít in the beginning, but you have really just grown into it and commanded it and made it your own. I mean, I donít even see Sasha Alexander anymore, I mean, I see her character, thatís how great you pull into it.

Sasha Alexander: Thank you. You know what? Itís such a compliment because...

Earl Dittman: And really - and I mean this from the bottom of my heart. The chemistry, it was perfect from right on when you all began. And now it seems like itís even gotten better. It seems like youíre inseparable in some weird sort of way.

Sasha Alexander: You know what, I agree with you, you know, and we feel that. Angie and I have a - well first Iíll tell you one funny thing in regards to just me playing the role. I will tell you that sometimes I come to set dressed in my normal non-work clothes. And, you know, Iím a beach gal. Like Iím really low key, Iím a bit of a hippie so Iím dressed kind of down, you know, like Iím in my jeans and Iím just like really completely different, you know, than Maura.

And sometimes Iíll come to work and, you know, the crew thatís been working with me for three years does a double-take and they go, ďGosh Sash, we were wondering who that girl was and we realize itís you.Ē They donít - theyíre so used to me playing the physicality of Maura because her clothes even change the way I walk, they change the way that I move. And so people think that thatís what you are, but really thatís not at all, you know, thatís not how I am.

So itís fun to play a character thatís not so close to me. I like that.

But Angie and I do have a joke as well in regards to our chemistry, that if for some reason the scene doesnít seem to be flowing at its best, we have this joke where we tell the director, ďDonít worry about it, we cut really well together.Ē

Because we do. Sometimes the scene is maybe, you know, maybe not its strongest and we will find something in it thatís between us that plays on camera and plays on film and translates, and so itís really fun to be able to have that.

Earl Dittman: Thatís fantastic.

Well one final question and Iíll let you go, I promise. Itís kind of off the subject but itís for a friend of mine.

You know, in terms of your looks, I can look back at the old NCIS series that you did and look at you now and it looks like you havenít aged a day in that time. So what do you...

Sasha Alexander: Oh bless you.

Earl Dittman: Iím serious. So what do you do as your beauty regimen? Whatís your magic secret? What potion are you taking?

Sasha Alexander: You know what, thank you very much for saying that, I appreciate it. You know what, itís funny. All I have done is put on weight since NCIS. Partially because I had two babies...

Earl Dittman: Yes, of course.

Sasha Alexander: ...and partly because I have, you know, I have, you know, like - I have cheeks. So like I have put on a bit more weight and I think that weight, as we age, helps us.

Earl Dittman: Oh yes.

Sasha Alexander: I think being - I was really, really, really just - I just think, you know, I just worked out like crazy when I was on NCIS and I was in a different phase before babies, and I just - I think that that little bit of weight helps us just get a little bit - I donít know, it just...

Earl Dittman: You get less wrinkles, you get - things like that, yes, all that stuff.

Sasha Alexander: Yes, you know, think like when you get too skinny you look gaunt and older. I know a lot of my friends, they want to be super skinny, but Iím like, ďGreat, then youíre going to look ten years older.Ē

So I think that that helps. And, you know, I do, I take care of myself, I eat well, I exercise, I do the best that I can when weíre shooting. And, you know, thatís about it. I try to live a happy life. And I think if youíre happy, then hopefully that shows in your face and in your body and, you know, in your health.

Earl Dittman: Well it works. And thank you so much for everything you do. Just keep on doing it.

Iíve had the luxury of seeing these upcoming episodes, so I could just say they just get better and better and better. So thank you so much for your time and for your great work.

Sasha Alexander: Thank you so much for positivity and your wonderful comments, I really appreciate it. Thank you.

Earl Dittman: Thank you, Sasha, I appreciate it.

Sasha Alexander: Thanks, have a good day.

Earl Dittman: Bye-bye.

Sasha Alexander: Bye.

Operator: And once again, itís star 1 to ask a question.

Our next question will come from Krista Chain with TV MegaSite. Your line is open.

Krista Chain: Hey Sasha, how are you?

Sasha Alexander: Very well, thank you. How are you?

Krista Chain: Iím good. I just wanted to ask some more about maybe some guest stars, if you could give us any details about any guest stars that might be on in the next season?

Sasha Alexander: In the next season, like Season 4?

Krista Chain: Yes.

Sasha Alexander: I have no idea. I know nothing. I am like - I am as much in the dark as anyone. You know, our creator Janet Tamaro doesnít sort of clue us in until we sort of get going on that season.

I mean, I do know that Sharon Lawrence, who will probably come back and continue her, you know, character of Hope, because I think thereís a lot more to be done with that storyline. Iím sure that Colin Egglesfield will continue to join us as Tommy Rizzoli. But I donít really know about other characters yet.

Krista Chain: Okay. And what are some of the...

Sasha Alexander: But I hope thereís some cute boys. Men, I should say men.

Krista Chain: Well do you think that Maura will be - since she was hurt by the love interest she had with the killer, do you think that that will cause her to hold back from having a love relationship?

Sasha Alexander: Well I donít think itíll hold back. I think that was really kind of an unfortunate situation. You know, I donít think sheís that kind of a person to let that sort of, you know, traumatize her for too long.

But do I think that, you know, that sheíll be slightly cautious? Yes, I do, absolutely. But I think a lot of time has passed, and so I think sheís probably put that in a drawer somewhere and, you know, realized that it was a very rare situation.

Krista Chain: Okay, well thanks.

Sasha Alexander: Okay, thank you.

Operator: And weíll take a follow up from Earl Dittman with Wireless & Digital Communications, your line is open.

Earl Dittman: Oh my God, Sasha, I thought it would be awhile before I got you again.

I was going to say, throughout these seasons though has there been a particularly challenging storyline or challenging maybe even stunt that youíve had to do thatís really kind of made you, ďOh man, this is tougher than I thought it would beĒ?

Sasha Alexander: You know, in our finale now, winter finale coming up, Episode 15, it was a really challenging episode for everybody. I donít want to give away what happens.

Earl Dittman: I know what youíre talking about.

Sasha Alexander: Okay. So did you see it?

Earl Dittman: Uh huh.

Sasha Alexander: Okay. So, you know, that - the shooting of that particular - that event was really challenging.

Earl Dittman: Yes.

Sasha Alexander: It was physically difficult because we were covered in soot and dirt from head to toe, you know, 15 hours a day for about a week. And it was hard to breathe and it was hard to be inside of the space even though we rebuilt a lot of it on the stages. Itís just dusty and dirty, you know, it was just hard, it was challenging.

And you know, I love those kinds of action scenes and stuff that has a kind of, you know, that feels like that natural catastrophe kind of feeling of it because thereís a real adrenaline.

But, you know, thatís an adrenaline that like doesnít turn off. You know, you really are kind of in it all day long and then you clean up and then you come back and you do it again.

And so itís exciting but itís very exhausting.

Earl Dittman: Yes.

Sasha Alexander: And that was pretty hard. We had some scenes where Angie and I were stuck, you know, under tunnels, dark tunnels. And theyíd done such a great job of filling it up with a lot of movement and, you know, that was hard.

And what else? Storyline-wise, Iíd say this year the hardest - there was also a scene in the finale between Maura and Hope.

Earl Dittman: Oh yes?

Sasha Alexander: That was a particularly unique scene in the sense that it was written that Maura, you know, that Maura had a lot of feelings to express to Hope. And it was a scene where Janet was on set with us and really sort of massaging the words and making sure that it all had a lot of intention to it, a lot of emotional intention and making sure it wasnít obviously too long and too short.

So it was a scene that we really all sort of dug in and worked on together, Sharon and Janet and myself. And I think we really got to a great place with it. ((inaudible)).

Earl Dittman: Do you like that? Do you like the ability to work with them and, you know, maybe change a line here or there and say, ďOh no, Maura wouldnít say that. Can we try this instead?Ē I mean, are they pretty open to that kind of stuff?

Sasha Alexander: You know what, I donít always have to do that because most of the time Janetís pretty dead on.

Earl Dittman: Really?

Sasha Alexander: Itís very, very rare that that happens. And when it does it usually has to deal with just an emotional feeling. Like when you take a scene like this thatís so emotional-driven, sometimes I may have to say, ďJanet, why do you think I feel like that?Ē Or, ďWhy am I reacting this way?Ē I need to understand emotionally what she was thinking when she wrote it.

But usually with the dialogue specifically, you know, look, I would love for her to cut down some of that medical terminology but thatís not going to happen. Thatís the only thing that makes it tough. All that memorizing, that could kill me. Sometimes I just look at her, I go, ďYouíre killing me.Ē

Earl Dittman: You donít beg for like a little, you know, cards that you can see outside the camera, they had a word on there and pronounced for you where you can read it real easily in case you forget? Cue cards.

Sasha Alexander: Not really, because usually Iím looking down at the body.

Earl Dittman: Oh, thatís right.

Sasha Alexander: (I have) to do work. Itís not like I can have cue cards. I wish it was like that.

No, it canít happen. And itís got to roll off my tongue very quickly like I know what Iím talking about. So I have to learn it, you know.

Earl Dittman: Oh my God.

Sasha Alexander: I have to learn it, oh yes. Angie gets to be dancing on set and doing ((inaudible)), whatever. And Iím like, ďShh, I have to do this monologue of difficult words. Quiet down.Ē

Earl Dittman: Well no...

Sasha Alexander: Nobody cares about me and what I have to say.

Earl Dittman: Now, which ways - bigger ways. In which ways are you very much like Maura and which ways are you not like her?

Sasha Alexander: Iím a lot not like her.

Earl Dittman: Really? More than...

Sasha Alexander: Oh yes. Iím not as like, you know, letís say book smart in that way. Iím more of a street smart gal. I mean, sheís very incredibly knowledgeable about so many things and I am not, and nor do I think that I would think about most of the things she thinks about.

However I think weíre both curious and I think we both like people. Iím kind like she is, Iím polite like she is. I try to look at the positive like she does. And Iím, you know, Iím curious about the world and people and things. I like different cultures, I like languages, I like different - I like to try different foods. Iím very interested in that kind of stuff like she is.

Earl Dittman: Yes.

Sasha Alexander: So thereís a curiosity in that that I think we share. And thatís why itís really fun to play her, because sometimes the stuff that she talks about it just totally kooky to me. And yet I get to learn something at work, so itís fun.

Earl Dittman: Yes, thatís good.

Sasha Alexander: But no, Iím not as uptight as she is sometimes. And Iím not as - I think not as Type A, you know, in the way that I sort of look at things in my, you know, look at life and approach a daily life and work.

And, you know, Iím not like her because I would never ever dream of being - working around dead bodies all day long.

Earl Dittman: But you had to go to the morgue and...

Sasha Alexander: My life, I would never dream - out of all jobs, I am not sure that that would be anywhere on my list of things to do.

Earl Dittman: But didnít you have to go at least...

Sasha Alexander: But I ((inaudible)) respect what she does and Iím grateful to anybody, any doctor that, you know, work with people in that way.

Earl Dittman: Well when the show began, didnít have to go research it and go visit one at least?

Sasha Alexander: I did. And we also had - I did that. I also learned a lot when I worked on NCIS from David McCallum. We had met with a coroner then and I met with one again. And then we had this LA coroner work with us on set.

So I have somebody that was there to sort of show me how to use the instruments and stand over me and just kind of help - thereís always somebody there to make sure that each scene looks realistic.

Earl Dittman: But youíve never actually been with a dead body?

Sasha Alexander: ((inaudible)) learned a lot, you know, about the anatomy.

Earl Dittman: Yes. But you never actually got to work with a dead body?

Sasha Alexander: No, I have seen dead bodies but I havenít...

Earl Dittman: Hadnít worked. Well thatís good.

Sasha Alexander: ...(like somebodyís) ((inaudible))...

Earl Dittman: I couldnít either.

Sasha Alexander: ...and had to pull out their heart and cut it open or dig out their stomach contents, which seems to be a very popular...

Earl Dittman: Yes, yes.

Sasha Alexander: ...thing to do in Rizzoli & Isles. ((inaudible)) very funny scene in these next episodes where I dig out the stomach contents. And I always enjoy pulling out whatever it is and giving it to Jane to sniff.

We play a game where I say, ďCan you tell what this is?Ē And sheís like, ďNo thanks.Ē

Earl Dittman: Well thatís good. Again, thank you so much for your time. Youíre always wonderful as usual and I appreciate it. Thank you so much.

Sasha Alexander: Thank you, thank you.

Earl Dittman: Bye-bye.

Sasha Alexander: Bye-bye.

Operator: And once again, if you would like to ask a question, please press star 1 on your Touch-tone phone. Weíll pause for just a moment to allow questions to queue.

Sasha Alexander: There are no questions.

Operator: This does conclude todayís conference call. You may disconnect at anytime. Thank you and have a wonderful day.

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