In today's Sci-Fi Blast From The Past, actress A.J. Cook talks about her role of Lindsay in the supernatural Fox TV series Tru Calling.
Guys, clothes, guys, shoes and, oh, yes, guys – these are some of the things that interest the blonde and beautiful Lindsay, one of the characters in the new Fox TV series Tru Calling. She’s the type of girl who, according to that old Cyndi Lauper song, “just wants to have fun,” and along the way hopefully get a job promotion and find Mr. Right. Lindsay’s best friend Tru Davies is an aspiring medical student who works at a morgue and who by the way can hear the dead speak. It’s Tru’s destiny to re-live the day leading up to a persons’ death in order to stop him or her from being murdered. Not an easy task, and one that requires plenty of moral support not to mention the occasional distraction. That’s where Lindsay comes in.
“Lindsay plays the important part of bringing Tru back to reality and helps keep her grounded,” says A.J. Cook, the Canadian-born actress who plays series star Eliza Dushku’s on-screen gal pal. “Because of her special ability, Tru spends a great deal of time carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. So when she and my character get together Lindsay tries to balance things out. She forces Tru to loosen up and have some laughs in the hope that she can forget, at least for a little while, all her responsibilities. It’s a sure bet that when Lindsay is around the topics of conversation are likely to include boys, shopping and, of course, the occasional lapse into the subject of dead people. After all, that’s what the show is all about,” she jokes.
Although Cook has worked steadily over the past six years on the small and big screens, Tru Calling was the first time she auditioned for an American TV show. “I liked the script and thought it was an interesting concept,” notes the actress. “However, what ultimately attracted me to the project was the character of Lindsay. Lately I’ve been drawn to roles unlike those I’ve had in the past. I’ve grown a little tired of playing the drama girls who are trying to figure out what life is all about.
“So I’ve made an effort to look for parts that are not only different but will also challenge me in new and interesting ways, and that’s certainly true of Lindsay. I’m having a blast playing her. She’s not shy whatsoever. Lindsay is always out to have a good time and on a constant quest to find the perfect man. She’s in love with the idea of being in love even though she’s yet to find it. Poor Lindsay usually digs herself into a hole most of the time when it comes to romance. I think my character represents all those girls out there who are searching for that ‘special someone’ but can’t seem to find him.”
In the Tru Calling pilot, our heroine graduates from New York University and begins her internship at a hospital. Unfortunately, things do not work out and Tru has no choice but to accept a job as an attendant working the graveyard shift at a morgue. She is shocked when, on her first night there, she hears the voice of a murdered woman. The next day Tru wakes up to find that time has been rewound 24 hours and she must find a way to save the woman from being killed while at the same time trying to resolve certain issues in her own life. Much of this footage made it to TV screens, but the pilot itself required retooling before it aired.
“Quite a few things changed when we were actually picked up as a series,” explains Cook. “Story elements were shifted and not all the characters were kept around. As a result, we re-shot several sequences. They also added scenes including one with Lindsay, and I was pleased about that because we don’t see very much of her in the first couple of stories. In those episodes, the writers focused more on setting up the show’s universe and making sure audiences were familiar with Tru and what she can do, which made sense.
“So Lindsay more or less laid low when the series first started, but now she’s definitely involved to a greater extent with the rest of the characters. I mean, I love working with Eliza and our scenes together are fun to do. However, I’ve recently had a couple of scenes with Zach Galifianakis, who plays Tru’s co-worker Davis. Zach and I actually worked together before and he’s a pleasure to be around. I’ve also had quite a few scenes with Shawn Reaves [who plays Tru’s younger brother Harrison]. He and Lindsay are both kind of crazy characters and you never know what’s going to happen when the two of them get together.”
At the time of this interview (early November), Cook and the rest of the Tru Calling cast and crew were preparing to shoot the episode Valentine, which, you guessed it, takes place on St. Valentine’s Day. “This is my favourite script so far,” she enthuses. “It has some wonderful material in it for Lindsay along with the other characters. I can’t wait to start work on it.
“There’s another episode called Star Crossed that I absolutely love,” continues the actress. “There’s a scene in it where Lindsay agrees to meet her boss at a bar for a drink. She works for an advertising firm and is trying to get promoted. Lindsay is there to show off her work and make a good impression on her boss – nothing more. Well, he ends up hitting on her and things get messy. It’s typical of how things go for her,” chuckles Cook. “To top it off, Harrison arrives unexpectedly. He and Lindsay don’t like each other and to have him show up makes her even angrier. Lindsay’s entire night goes horribly wrong but in an amusing way. The show’s writers have been giving Shawn and me some terrific comedic dialogue. Our two characters have become the lighter side of the series so we’re always having a good time on the set.”
Born Andrea Joy Cook in Oshawa, Ontario, the actress first appeared on TV in a McDonald’s advert. “That introduction to working in front of the camera was a real eye opener,” she says. “You realize, ‘Wow, a lot goes on here.’ It’s not just you and the camera lens, that’s for sure.” Cook made her dramatic debut playing a stoned hippie in the 1997 TV movie Elvis Meets Nixon.
“The director [Alan Arkush] was really cool,” recalls Cook. “He took the time to talk with me because I was new to the business. There was so much to learn and I was like a little kid in a candy store trying to take it all in. The filming process itself was quite daunting but it didn’t scare me away. On the contrary, it helped confirm that this [acting] was what I really wanted to pursue as a career.”
Tru Calling may have had a bit of a rocky start insofar as the shooting of its pilot, but Cook is confident that the series is now headed in the right direction. “We’re into a rhythm, so things are running a lot smoother,” she says. “I’m hoping that viewers stick with the programme because it just gets better and better. The characters are starting to develop along with their relationships with one another. It’s all very exciting.”
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