January 28th, 2010 by thetvchick
The Deep End is a mid-season show on ABC that centers around five first year law associates, the pressures of the jobs, their relationships and staying afloat in an extremely competitive environment. In my advance review, I mentioned that I thought the show was very entertaining with some great acting. To be quite honest, one of the main reasons I tuned in was for Tina Majorino. I have loved her since the days of Veronica Mars, when Veronica and Mac would team up for crazy adventures. She has since moved onto Big Love (playing Heather Tuttle), and now to The Deep End. I was absolutely thrilled to get the chance to speak with her, and she couldn’t have been more gracious. I had extreme technical difficulties, as my phone, despite having full service (AT&T, I hate you!) didn’t ring. I finally restarted it and found I had a sweet message from Tina on it. We finally were able to connect and we talked about how she relates to her character on The Deep End, what makes the show so unique, and even a little bit about her days on Veronica Mars.
Tell us a little more about your character Addy.
My character is a really sweet, somewhat naive girl who is just fresh out of law school. She’s bright-eyed and bushy tailed and just really wants to help people. And as time goes on, the great part about this character that I really enjoy this aspect is that she doesn’t stay green. She, as time goes on, and she goes through these different experiences of getting pushed around and walked on, she learns from it and applies. So, it’s really fun to go on this journey with her as she tries to find that balance between being a good person and being a good lawyer. Because she does want to keep her integrity, and she wants to keep that passion that she has for her job, but there is that really important part that she needs to learn how to be more assertive and be tougher, because that what it’s going to take to be a successful lawyer. So it’s really fun to go on that journey with her, and to see her grow and learn as a person and as a lawyer.
What originally drew you to the character?
I think — when I read the script — David Hemingson is such a genius writer that I really loved her humor. I think that she has a really great ability to not take herself too seriously. So she has that ability to laugh at herself, and to also be — she has to have the ability to reflect on herself and acknowledge where there’s room for improvement. And I think that’s a really admirable quality in someone. I just was really excited to do something this different. I have never played a role like this before, and as funny as this sounds, I literally have never played anybody over 17 before, so it’s really nice to get the opportunity to play an adult, and also step into attempting to play a lawyer — that’s really difficult. So the role is challenging in so many different ways so I was really attracted to not only her qualities as a person but the challenges I knew that this character would apply me with.
How do you relate to Addy — obviously you’re not a lawyer. How do you draw from your own experiences to play this character?
(laughs) I think that we’re very similar in certain aspects and we’re really, really different in others. Our similarities are you know, obviously we’re the same age and we’re both trying to — I kind of feel like with this project, I’m stepping into a new part of my career. So I kind of relate to her anxieties about trying to navigate that aspect of her life — trying to figure out this new direction that she’s going in. And I definitely relate to her in that I could use a lesson in being more assertive. I have a tendency of — I can let myself get walked on sometimes, and it’s something I’m working on.
(laughs) We all can, right?
(laughs) And I think we’re both pretty quirky and clumsy in certain ways. I really enjoyed playing her because they gave me some great physical comedy in the show and that’s pretty similar to me. I’m a very physical person. I tend to trip and fall — you know do that kind of stuff all the time. And we both bake. So those are my similarities with her. There are a lot of ways in which we differ too. I always try to find characters to play that there are differences because it’s more challenging when a character is not you. I do try to bring some of myself to this character, as I do with all the characters I play but I really like playing our differences.
That makes sense. And did you speak to any first year lawyers to research for your role?
We actually got to meet some once we got to Texas to film. And it was so interesting to see the real deal. And it’s exactly how David Hemingson writes it. They are just completely flustered and overwhelmed and overworked and going on no sleep, and it’s really — I liked getting to know the first years just because it just solidified everything that had already been explained to me. You actually got to see it first hand. But as far as doing research went, more of that came from reading for me, and what’s great about this is that David used to be a lawyer, so if you ever had any questions, he was there for you to ask him, and that was very helpful. Because obviously, like the legalese and the terminology and all of that is not something that anyone who hasn’t been to law school would understand and I wanted it to be realistic. You know, you don’t want to be saying those things and not know what you’re talking about. So it’s really helpful if you can ask him and be like “Okay, I’m sorry, what does this mean.” (laughs)
And what was it like filming in Texas, away from LA?
It was actually really neat. I enjoyed it greatly. The crew in Texas was amazing, it’s probably one of the best crews I’ve ever worked with, which is really important because we all can’t do our jobs without each other. It’s really nice to be able to get along with your crew and have such a good time. I actually really liked kind of that separation from LA, because this project has been such a long time in the making that once we finally did get the pick-up to do these six episodes, it was nice to have that space so that we could focus. There weren’t any distractions, because we were so far away from everything. Of course, it would be nice to film in LA just because I feel like LA is a character in itself on this show, so it was kind of hard to fake LA there. But it kind of forced all of us to stick together more so than it would if we had filmed the first season here in LA. So I really enjoyed Texas, it’s beautiful. And it was quite an adventure for me. I enjoyed it a lot.
And there are a lot of law dramas out there. What do you think makes The Deep End so unique?
I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it’s from a different viewpoint than we’ve seen before. You’re getting to see what it’s like your first year out the gate. I think because it’s from a young person’s point of view, it’s a different way of looking at it and I think because we’re more focused on the relationships between these people, and the partners — you’re getting a more behind-the-scenes look instead of it all being focused on the court room. There’s a lot more time that goes into allowing the audience to watch what has to happen before you go to court. So I think that because we’re a much more relationship driven show, it’s different in that aspect than other shows that are more driven just by the court cases and the clients. So I really like that part of this, that you’re really getting to see what it’s like when these kids are fresh out of college, trying to figure this out, moving across the country, trying to figure out how to balance their personal life and their professional life and how those lines get blurred when you’re spending so much time with the same group of people and how much pressure is on them, really. I think that that really sets us apart.
And you just appeared on another episode of Big Love. I was just curious what it was like being on a show that is so different from any other show out there.
I am so honored that I got to be a part of that show. HBO is such an envelope pushing studio. They’re always making things that are interesting and controversial, and in such a wonderful way. They get people talking about things that normally they wouldn’t. They’re giving you a look into these different lifestyles that are not every day things. And I think just for me, being allowed to act on a show like that — not only is it challenging and fun, but it’s kind of like becoming a part of history in a way, because Big Love is probably the first show that has ever touched on this subject and just the fact that they let me be a part of the show is so mind-boggling.
Aw, no! I wanted to know if you might be returning the show at all?
I certainly hope so! We’ll see what happens. Anytime they want to use me on that show, I am there!
Fans (myself included) miss Veronica Mars very much.
We are sort of all hoping to hear news of a movie that may not happen now. But what do you miss most about that show? I’m curious to hear your take on that whole experience.
That whole experience was so fun for me, especially getting to work with Rob Thomas because I’ve known him for such a long time and the fact that he believed in me enough to hire me for that show was pretty incredible. You know, he wrote the part of Mac with me in mind which is such an incredibly flattering thing. I really miss playing Mac, actually. That show was just so fun because it’s not often that you get to watch a show where the lead character’s this kick ass detective girl. That’s rare. I just miss the story lines and the adventures that Veronica and Mac got to go on, and I like the fact that — I’m a big fan of projects that make women friends, because a lot of times you’re watching shows where women are at each other’s throats and backstabbing each other and Veronica Mars, and that’s how The Deep End is similar for me is that you actually see that Beth and Addy get along, and that’s the same thing as Veronica Mars, is that Mac and Veronica really get along, and they want to be there for each other, they want to help each other, and I love that. I love seeing the fact that — being a part of something that’s showing a positive spin on female relationships. Because I get so sick and tired of watching these shows where girls hate each other.
I know, right? It gets tiring!
Yeah, it’s totally tiring. And I kind of don’t want to perpetuate that situation, so I really appreciate that Rob and the writers at Veronica Mars were able to make Veronica such a tough girl but in the same breath, she was sensitive, and she did have this lovable, vulnerable side to her. And you can be a strong woman and still be feminine and loving and have female relationships. I miss that. I had fun on that show.
And do you still keep in touch with your former cast members?
I try to. It’s really hard to keep in touch with people, because you go from project to project and because filming is so intensive, a lot of the time, you get really connected with the people you work with, and then you have to move on. And they’re onto their next family, and you’re on to yours. So we try our best to keep in touch, but even when we don’t get a chance to talk as much as we’d like, we all support each other, even when it’s from afar so yeah, I wish we could keep in touch more, but everybody gets so busy.
And you were just talking about Rob Thomas. His new show, Party Down, has had a lot of Veronica Mars camoes. Is that something you’d like to do? Have you talked to Rob at all about that?
I haven’t spoken to him about that at all, but anything Rob wants me to do, I’m pretty sure I would do it because he’s so talented and I have a lot of fun working with him, so if he ever asked me to do something I would be there. [Ed Note: Come on Rob Thomas, give Tina a call!]
Sounds good! And have you found at all that your characters have any similarities to each other? Are there pieces of Mac in Addy or in Heather?
I try to separate my characters as much as possible. I think recently, the thing that my characters have had in common is that they’re very quirky, I guess. I think that a lot of the characters I portray are more of the outsider, and that’s what’s interesting about playing Addy is that she’s not that way. I don’t see her as being much of an outsider. I think that she’s different from other girls, in the sense that she’s super smart and like I said, she can be somewhat naive and green and all of that, but I think that’s she’s much more normal than girls that I’ve played recently. And the thing is, I like playing people that are not just average, I guess, because it’s more of a challenge, and I feel like I’m reaching out to those of us nerdy people who feel unacknowledged sometimes. It’s a way to acknowledge those of us who weren’t the popular kids in school, who did have problems growing up, and who were socially awkward. I think that’s more fun to play. And I definitely connect on that level with the characters. So I think I enjoy playing characters like that, but now that I’m getting a chance to do something that’s so much more mainstream, I’m getting to see this side of it as well, which is fun also. So I think there’s an upside to playing both sides of that track, whether it be more of an awkward girl or more of a mainstream character. But I try not to let the different characters I’ve played bleed into each other, because I try my best to create a fresh character with each project. I’d like for people to be able to differentiate between them. I don’t want them to all be the same.
That makes sense. They’re all three very, very different. And I know you can’t spoil too much but can you give a little teaser of what’s coming up on The Deep End, especially for Addy.
Addy has a lot of love life complications coming up, so it’s going to be really fun, and she gets into some trouble in this next episode, which is really funny. (laughs) This next episode should be really good, so I’m excited to actually get to watch the full thing all the way through.
And I like the show already. But what would you tell fans as to why they should tune into The Deep End?
I think because if you liked the pilot, and you really connected with the characters, it’s just going to grow from there. I think that with every episode, you’re getting another opportunity to learn something new about the characters, and because the writing is so brilliant, the story lines are shared evenly. I feel like you’re getting an opportunity every week to get a closer look into everybody’s lives. It’s not just focused on one character. And we just have so much fun, so it’s fun to watch, and it’s fun to kind of allow yourself to become part of their world. You know, that’s something that’s so great about TV, is when you’ve had a hard day at work, and you’re feeling down, you get to come home and kind of disappear into these imaginary worlds that we have so much fun creating. So I certainly hope that people are connecting with the characters, because every week, we have better and better stories and they’re funny.
And do you have any favorite TV shows?
I am obsessed with Lost.
So you are excited about its return?
Yes, I’m very excited about its return. (laughs) I am really nervous about what’s going to happen in this last season because I’m so scared that it’s going to be something like — you read those websites where it says oh, they’re in purgatory, or whatever they’re saying, and if that is the case, I want the last five years of my life back, because I’ve been so invested in this show, and I think the acting on that show is incredible, and I love all the characters. So I love that show and that’s pretty much one of the only shows that I tune in for every week no matter what. I love Grey’s Anatomy as well, and I’ve been a fan of that show since the beginning. And I’ve recently jumped on the Private Practice boat, so I like all of those shows.
Be sure to tune in to ABC tonight at 8 pm for an all new episode of The Deep End!