It’s been my favorite experience so far in my career. Club: When you signed on, was Matthew Modine already on the project? They were talking to Edi [Gathegi], but that’s as far as they were. ” Not “This is my last moment.” But “This is my first moment.” How exciting would that be?
Over the course of the past few decades, Beals has worked in a variety of genres, taking on leading roles (The Bride) and memorable supporting roles (Devil In A Blue Dress, Roger Dodger) on the big screen as well as starring in TV series The L Word, The Chicago Code, and most recently—Proof, which airs Tuesdays on TNT.
Jennifer Beals: I read the script, and I loved it and loved the character, so when they started the casting process I came in and had a magical experience in the room. [Laughs.] That was my word-association part of the interview.
I got to read with [executive producer] Kyra Sedgwick, who can throw the ball precisely over the plate. AVC: Given the premise of the series, at this point you must be sick of being asked about your own feelings on reincarnation, life after death and the like.
I got to work with Alex Graves, who gave me interesting direction during the audition. JB: I have a tremendous amount of faith, and I’m not so egotistical as to presume that I know everything, but I feel that there’s something else. But I do believe in multiverses, and I just think there’s something more.
When I go to audition, I just say to myself, “Well, I’m very fortunate that I get to go act this afternoon,” or “this morning,” or whatever. AVC: So how would you sum up the character of Cat Tyler? And even when I think about the fact that energy can become matter and matter can become energy, I have a very strong feeling that there’s something afterward. One of the things that I love about the show is that [it conveys that] when you start contemplating death, it doesn’t have to be a morbid exercise.
Then to have that experience of his direction and the kindness of all those people was something that put it over the top. Whether there’s consciousness in the way that we experience it now is another matter altogether. I think you end up turning everything on its head when you truly contemplate death, and you are contemplating life.I went home and I told my husband what a great experience it was, and I said, “You know, I really want to work with that director, whether it’s this project or another project, because he gave me really, really smart direction.” Then I found out that they’d invited me to the party [Laughs.], and off we went! You’re contemplating, “Who do I want to be, what do I want to do with my life, and can I live every moment as if this is the first moment?The couple exchanged vows in front of 190 family and friends, including celebrity pals Eva Longoria, Kate Bosworth, Alicia Silverstone, Josh Hartnett, Cameron Diaz, Justin Theroux and fiancee Jennifer Aniston.Welcome to Random Roles, wherein we talk to actors about the characters who defined their careers.The catch: They don’t know beforehand what roles we’ll ask them to talk about.The actor: When an actor’s first big break is a box-office blockbuster, they can often find it to be an albatross.