April 24th, 2012 by thetvchick
I’m a big fan of all things CW, so when I heard about The L.A. Complex being picked up by the CW from a Canadian network, I was intrigued. Most are familiar with the star of the show Cassie Steele (who plays Abby) from her work on Degrassi and fans of Joss Whedon will recognize Jewel Slaite (who plays Raquel Westbrook) from her work on Firefly. Abby and Raquel are just two of the residents of the LA Complex, a sort of grittier, dirtier, younger Melrose Place. They are all trying to succeed in an industry full of rejections, has-beens and sex tapes. This requires them to leave their old lives behind to try to make it in Hollywood. What I loved about this show was that it felt real and gritty. You are rooting for the characters but they aren’t always going to get what they want. I was hooked from episode one, and I think you will be too! I recently had the chance to chat with Cassie Steele about her new role, Abby’s budding relationships/love triangle and why you should watch.
What originally drew you to the role of Abby?
She’s very flustered but I think she has a lot of charm, and she’s kind of the underdog. She is the underdog for the reason that she doesn’t have a lot going for her but she’s really driven regardless of anything that’s happening to her and that alone, those values of getting to your dream are just really inspiring.
Definitely. Obviously, fans know you from your work on Degrassi. Do you think Manny and Abby are similar at all or very different?
I think they’re really different. Manny is just this really confident person, I think. They’re both really driven in a way. But Abby, her confidence sort of falters. And she’s not as confident in herself but she’s strong in the way that she doesn’t let anything bring her down — well, she does let things bring her down, but she doesn’t give up. I guess they’re similar in some ways.
Abby’s very down on her luck, but also the story is very real, so it’s nice to see that on screen.
I got a very Melrose Place but grittier vibe with the LA Complex. How would you describe the show to someone who might not know a lot about it?
I’d describe the show as what it’s like to make it in the industry. A lot of the characters are from different places, so I think it just portrays what being out of your element is and how you deal with situations and what you choose to pursue. And the things that you have to let go, the things that you have to do, anxieties of every person and how much somebody’s ego can take to be brought up and torn down and brought up and torn down. And for people who seem like they have the most glamorous of lives, on the other side, you don’t know. Not everybody’s rich and famous. Most of them are just famous. (laughs) It’s really, really hard. And the characters are really real, so [even] if you’re not in the industry, you have similar situations in your life. I’m sure everybody does and that’s what will attract people to it.
Abby has a budding relationship (that has some big twists and turns) with Connor but Nick likes her, too. So what can we expect to see from her love life this season?
I think that every character and Abby included, I think what you are going to see is how much work can affect your love life, at any age, really. And what kind of decisions that you have to make at that point in your life for your work or are you going to choose something else. These decisions are going to dictate the rest of your life, or your life for a little while. So, I think you are definitely going to fall in love with both guys. Both good and bad for her in every single way. Mostly good. Both of them are really great for her but in different ways. So, it’s really tough to choose sides.
(laughs) Are you on Team Connor or on Team Nick?
I don’t know. It’s like asking me if I’m Team Jacob or Team Edward.
(laughs) Yes! There’s not a right answer.
No, there is not a right answer. If she could have them both, so can I.
(laughs) Good! I like that answer. And are we going to learn more about Abby’s life she left behind in Toronto and her family?
I think we will but this show is about people trying to make it. People working. This isn’t just about any other situation, like Degrassi was about things that happen to you at school. This is something that happens to you in the industry. But unlike school, you’re not just going through the motions. You have to proactively work at this and it does affect your life in so many different ways. And some of your emotions are turned off. Some of your emotions are heightened. It’s very different.
I hope we are going to see Abby get more roles than just Dead Hooker. I really hope so. (laughs)
Yes, yes. But she played a pretty damn good dead hooker.
It was pretty swell. So I mean, do we change what’s working with her?
Can we top that? I don’t know if we can.
It’d be really hard.
Definitely. And we see a budding friendship with Raquel Westbrook (played by Jewel Slaite), but it’s also very competitive. How are we going to see that relationship develop?
I think that it is sort of interesting in the beginning. But I think Raquel is a very, very deep, complex character and I think all of her jealousy and her competitiveness really just comes from an insecurity within herself. No one’s out to get each other. It just happened that way. Raquel likes Connor. Also, she’s at a point in her life where she’s changing. She’s not that vertical in her 20s. She’s gone from young adult to and older adult. I think we’ll just see more of how she has to rediscover herself and redefine herself and the choices that she makes to do that.
I loved the scene in the pilot where Abby said to Raquel “Why do you live here?”
That’s exactly it. Not everybody lives in a mansion as soon as they get a job like Connor did. Not everybody lives in a mansion that works. You have to remember that jobs in the industry, especially for actors, and musicians or anything like that, your work is very on and off. You generate money and it might be a bigger sum but then you have to pay for the whole year and your expenses and all that kind of stuff, so it’s just like any other job.
Do you see a lot of yourself in Abby?
She’s a better character than I am. Nicer in general.
I’m just joking. But am I? I don’t know! I can relate to her situations and I think me, personally, we do make different choices. But it’s sort of comforting to see. While I was reading it, it feels good to see that you’re not the only person struggling, with anything. It’s comforting to know that these situations are real and people are going to relate to that no matter what situation they’re in. It’s nice to feel like you’re not the only one and you’re not alone.
Obviously, it’s a Canadian transplant. How do you think it fits in with the CW Network?
I think it fits great. I feel really, really lucky and blessed to be part of such a wonderful and successful network and they’ve been so kind to us so far and everybody’s been great. And I’m just so thankful that it happened like that and they have such a great audience and such a loyal and dedicated audience. It will be nice to be a part of that. If the audience so chooses to like The LA Complex.
I’m already sold on the show but what would you tell viewers as to why they should tune in.
Well, there’s a lot of sex. So, I mean that alone, is just pretty racy. It’s not just love triangles. Even the love triangle with me and Nick and Connor, it’s not really a love triangle. Nothing is really revolving around these relationships, it’s more people have sex, now we really have a problem with work, and that’s sort of how it’s going.
The L.A. Complex premieres tonight at 9 PM on the CW.Tweet