Actress Jessica Capshaw talked to reporters last month about her role in the new Lifetime movie One Angry Juror (it airs this Monday at 9pm ET/PT) where she addressed what attracted her to the role, playing a lawyer on TV after being a doctor for the last few seasons on Grey’s Anatomy and, since this call took place literally one day before she had her baby on October 20th, a few baby-related questions.
(If you missed what Eric Dane had to say about the Callie/Arizona split during the Burlesque press junket, CLICK HERE. AND…the portion of this interview where Jessica spoke more about Grey’s Anatomy, CLICK HERE)
Jim Halterman: Was all the lawyer speak a challenge for you after learning all the medical speak for Grey’s?
Jessica Capshaw: I was on a show for David Kelley called The Practice for two years where I played a fresh-out-of-law-school but very proud of herself kind of girl and I was actually at the same time probably life imitating art [since] I was just out of school and thinking I was quite the smarty pants. I spent a lot of time watching the young lawyers and watching everything else and I was always pretty comfortable with it all.
JH: Did you meet any of the people involved in the true story of One Angry Juror including your character, Sarah?
JC: You know what? I have to say that was the only disappointing part of the experience was that when I had originally read it, it was set in a different city, it was directly about someone’s real life. I’m not even sure why but somewhere between that reading of the first script and then actually sitting down with the director and writers I think there was an impossibility of doing it in the place it was supposed to be done and then it fell apart from there. She’s Southern, which was kind of exciting because as an actor it’s different from what you normally do. Unfortunately, some of the things that happen are just mere technicalities of making a movie and some of the things fall away and I think that unfortunately a lot of the real life aspect of this fell away.
JC: It’s not been easier or harder. It’s been a little different in little teeny subtleties. I think one thing I’ve learned in the 2nd time is that it’s really ten months. It’s not nine months!
Question: What attracted you to this Lifetime movie?
JC: I think that there’s such a burden of riches in being on a show like Grey’s because all year around you get so satiated with the writing and the family that you live with in the cast and producers who also create this family-like environment. I still feel like work is the school year and then it becomes summer and I still have that part of me from when I was 15 where it was like ‘It’s time to get a summer job!’ So I felt like even with a 3-yr old and being pregnant I kind of went ‘There’s probably something really fun out there that I could do that would be short enough that I could still have a little bit of a vacation but also step outside of being the same character all year around’ and this literally fell into my lap. My agent sent it to me and I felt that it was a really great story and I think it was probably aided and abetted in that it was based on something that had really happened. I think there’s always sort of an integrity or dignity that goes along with that. It seemed like, again, a very different character than the one that I play year round.
Question: What was the most challenging thing about playing the role?
JC: I think that especially again being pregnant you’re so full of life and expectancy and with the character I play on Grey’s there’s sort of a sunny disposition to both. I think it was definitely a challenge in the beginning of this person’s journey to not be starry eyed and optimistic about what this young man had done or had not done and be that jaded, ‘I’m a lawyer, I don’t want to be on a jury, I don’t want to be here, I don’t want to waste my time, this kid obviously did it’ and then have to then go along with the transformation which is finding out the truth and then becoming pretty much about getting to the bottom of saving the day?
Question: Why should people watch One Angry Juror?
JC: I think that Lifetime does a really, really wonderful job of throwing out entertainment that people are able to watch over and over again. I couldn’t believe when I would tell people I was doing a Lifetime movie and people came out of the woodwork. I couldn’t believe how many people watched the network so I think the network has a pretty nice hold on what people what to see. And then I think it’s one of those stories that there’s enough there that makes you kind of wonder what is going to happen and then at the same time I think they’re rest assured they’re going to get an ending they feel good about.
Question: Have you ever done jury duty or tried to get out of jury duty?
JC: [laughs] I think everyone probably tries to get out of it, right? Weirdly enough, I never have…I think I was called when I was in school and then the second time I had just had my son, which seemed like a pretty big improbability of me being able to haul my one-week old son and myself to a Los Angeles County Courthouse. I have plenty of friends who have done it and I think it runs the gamut of being a good thing, a bad thing and a weird thing.
Question: Do you get back to New York often? Any favorite spots?
JC: I do, as much as I can. New York is pretty much near and dear for me. I have memories of being four, five, six, seven [years old] and living there and then going back for my summers and then going back to live eventually after college for a little bit. I think it’s one of the greatest cities in the world.
Question: Was there an important, pivotal moment in life when you decided to be an actor or was it never any doubt?
JC: I think that it was something that I always wanted to be. Growing up and having a Mom (Kate Capshaw) who was an actress…my mother, to me, was just so beautiful and, in my eyes, successful and there was such a glamour that came along with being an actor and in a lot of ways I don’t think I thought that that necessarily reflected who I thought I was as a teenager. I knew that I had this real affinity for telling stories and I loved the comedy of telling stories and the tragedy and studying acting and being on stage and being in production and the community that comes together when like-minded people want to tell a story. I knew that I liked all that and then I think probably in college I thought ‘This is such a cliché to want to pursue this” and then you kind of just have to kind of go, “Well, I only have one chance to try to make myself happy, right? If it all goes to shit, then I guess I’ll take another street’ and so I did. Then, I think it’s important to just take it one day at a time and then I did and I’ve just monkey-barred from job to job and here I sit!
One Angry Juror airs on Monday at 9pm ET/PT on Lifetime. Grey’s Anatomy airs every Thursday at 9pm ET/PT on ABC.
(If you missed the portion of this interview where Jessica spoke about Grey’s Anatomy, CLICK HERE)