What is something about being on a show like “Dexter” that people wouldn’t expect?
It moves a lot quicker than you would think, sometimes you just have a couple of hours to shoot a long scene. You also wouldn’t expect how much of an impact the actors have. For example, my character is a grad student and I noticed that we hadn’t seen her study in awhile so I asked the props master if we could have some text books, a pen and a notebook because even though it didn’t say it in the script I wanted her to be barefoot on the couch doing homework when Dexter calls. It’s a real collaborative effort. I am going to miss the show, it’s over forever! We just wrapped.
After shooting a murder scene, what is the vibe like on set?
It depends. Michael C. Hall is very focused, disciplined and professional. If he’s doing an intense scene he really keeps his mind in the zone. My character is a little lighter. I’m walking around in a bikini, laying out by the pool, carrying a baby around and making out with my boyfriend. Michael has a really great sense of humor, an incredible voice and he knows how to dance. He’s a true triple threat!
How did you first break into acting?
I started by doing commercials with Michael Jordan and Sammy Sosa when I was a kid. I wanted to go to Northwestern so the money from any acting job always went towards tuition. In high school I did theatre at the Piven Theatre Workshop in Evanston and I was Claire in “The Nutcracker” at the Arie Crown Theater. When I graduated I thought I was done with acting because I had already paid for school. I ended up moving to New York, where I lived in Brooklyn and worked in finance. I was a mutual fund analyst and I thought, “This sucks! I’m going back to what I did before.” It’s like dating a guy you love. You have to date other guys and then you come back and hope that he takes you back. Thankfully acting did.
Speaking of dating, are you taken?
No. I’m a single girl!
He’s not the guy you would think but I love Joseph Gordon-Levitt. He’s classy, cool and really talented. He started out as a child actor but he went to a public school in L.A. and came out relatively normal. He’s so charming. “500 Days of Summer” is one of my favorite movies. I used to say Ryan Gosling but then we ended up going to the same gym for awhile and it kind of lost its luster. You have to be careful about your celebrity crushes because you meet them or work with them and all of a sudden it’s awkward. I love Mark Wahlberg. He seems like a cool guys’ guy from Boston. To me Boston and Chicago are very similar cities.
Did fitting into Hollywood come easy?
I’m from Chicago and I tend to be focused on the craft so at first I wondered what breaking down a scene had to do with having to wear a Calvin Klein dress down the red carpet. Then I realized I’ve always wanted my own show and if I really want that I have to build a brand and play the game. Everyone has to do things they don’t want to do. I’ve never compromised my morals or my integrity. I’ve never slept with producers to get a job or to get ahead. If I have to wear a Calvin Klein dress down the red carpet, even though I prefer to be playing sports with my buddies, then it’s a small price to pay. Now it’s fun to me.
You recently did your first love scene. How did it go?
It’s very technical. The last thing you‘re thinking about is the other person. He’s thinking about if his spray tan looks good, I’m thinking about if my butt looks tight. There are nine people around you so it’s definitely not an intimate setting. I wanted to represent women taking control in the bedroom in a very strong kind of way. Coming from the Midwest I’m very conservative but it’s not a cheesy movie, it’s a respected show and it was beautifully lit. I’m working with Golden Globe-winning actors and doing scenes from Emmy-winning writers so it felt very right to me as an artist. I didn’t show everything but it was very suggestive. I wanted to keep it classy and represent Chicago.
Where do you see yourself going next?
I would love to become a producer one day. Sandra Bullock was my boss on “George Lopez”. I always admired her because she would be shooting “The Proposal” in Europe but also executive producing and opening doors for us here. I thought she didn’t know what was going on. I remember saying, “Hi Sandra, I’m Aimee,” and she’s like, “Yeah, I know who you are. I hired you!” Even though you don’t see her she is the wizard behind the curtain.
You seem to be very gracious when it comes to the press.
I do think the media builds you up to tear you down but I took my lead from Michael C. Hall, he’s so gracious and always makes people feel special. He said it always takes more effort and energy to say no [to the press and fans] than to say yes. We get to do what we do because of the public. I just did a documentary [“The Graduates/Los Graduados”] with Wilmer Valderrama who is also lovely and I admire him for segueing into producing. I wanted to pick his brain so I asked him, “How do you deal with it when you’re having dinner with your parents and people come up and ask for autographs and pictures?” He said, “Robin Williams told me that every fan will have a maximum of two minutes, maybe 30 seconds, so what kind of two minutes do you want them to have? What kind of experience do you want that two minutes to be for them?” I will never say no.
When you’re visiting home, what are some of the things you always make sure to do?
I love antique shopping. White Attic is one of my favorite stores. I love little sushi places and the Vietnamese food in Andersonville. I went to Northwestern University so I always go back and walk around campus. You guys actually have my secret favorite job. I went to Medill and always wanted to be a journalist! Frank Sinatra says Chicago is a big city with the heart of a small town and I think that nails it perfectly. I remember once my car died on a random street and some guy came out and gave me jumper cables and said, “Look, I have to go to work but just leave them in front of my door right there.” That would never happen in L.A.
You’re throwing the first pitch tonight for the Cubs game. Are you nervous?
I said to Kerry Wood, “You hold the record for most strikeouts in history, you’ve struck out 20 people in nine innings. Do you have any tips?” He said to aim for the catcher’s head, people tend to throw it down but it’s better to miss high than low. I wasn’t nervous at all because I love Wrigley Field and I would always go to games as a kid but then Matthew Perry, who’s also in town for Kerry Wood’s Wiffle Ball Classic charity event, was like, “Are you nervous? Are you nervous?” I said, “Well no, were you?” He’s like, “I’ve thrown out the first pitch and I will never do it again,” so now I am actually nervous! He said, “Don’t pull a Carly Rae Jepsen!” I guess she threw it straight to the ground. They showed me her YouTube so now I know exactly what that means.
If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?
The first person who comes to mind is Richard Branson because I think he’s amazing, entrepreneurial and a visionary. I’d love to have a drink with Gandhi, just to ask him how he overthrew an entire government without a single weapon. As far as women, oh gosh, I would say Oprah. Talk about a self-made rag-to-riches educated woman! She has this relatability to her.
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