Lizzy Caplan has been doing tons of press for Masters of Sex, cast by Risa Bramon Garcia, done right here at The BGB Studio. The show started airing to stellar reviews and an enthusiastic audience. Playing Virginia Johnson introduces Lizzy to a new audience that is instantly falling in love with her. And her fan base is loving this new, complex role. Lizzy took a few minutes out of her crazy schedule to talk to Risa about audition process and getting through the rougher times.
RBG: Hey, Lizzy, how do you feel?
LC: Exhausted! And excited. And anxious. Quite a few things one after the other…
RBG: You’re doing a lot of press for Masters of Sex… how’s that going?
LC: So far, so good. I used to detest doing any press, in any form. I found it pretty tedious and boring, and never really cared for much for how I came across in interviews. But I must say, for Masters of Sex, the press has been mostly enjoyable, at least more attention-holding than it usually is. The subject matter of the show leads to questions about sexuality and feminism, and the world in the 50s vs the world of today. It leads to a far more interesting conversations than the expected ‘how did you get the part? can you describe the plot of the show?’ that make up the majority of most press tours.
RBG: Describe process of getting the role in Masters of Sex. It took a long time… What was that like?
LC: It was not the most fun process, as you know. It took a while to be officially signed on to the show. It remained unofficial for months. So I mostly walked around with the news that I was to play Virginia as a secret, since I didn’t want to suffer the humiliation of telling everybody I got the part, then having to call all those same people and tell them that it didn’t work out. Which I’ve had to do before. All actors and actresses seem to have their ‘firing story’. Pilot season happened while I was waiting to hear officially about Masters, and I didn’t have the easiest time convincing my agents and managers that even the POSSIBILITY of getting to do Masters of Sex was infinitely more appealing to me than the real, tangible pilot jobs that were being presented to me. But (somewhat miraculously), it all worked out.
RBG: Do you enjoy the audition process?
LC: Sometimes. Usually not.
RBG: Women – and men – have had to read for roles that include sex (alone and with a partner) and partial nudity. How do you deal with that? What advice would you give to actresses – and actors – who have to audition and agree to be naked or engage sexually?
LC: My advice would be that it’s much scarier anticipating shooting a sex scene for the first time than it is actually shooting it. You should feel protected by your crew and the actors around you. And remember, you’re surrounded by people who work very hard to light you well and find flattering angles of you. Your crew are your teammates, and everybody wants you to look good… unless, I suppose, the script calls for the opposite.
RBG: Describe the feelings you had about your career up to now. What kept you going through disappointment, slow times?
LC: I have no college degree. No skills in any other area. I think I needed to feel like it was all or nothing for me in this business, because of course there are periods when quitting starts to sound pretty good. Or the logical option. You just have to believe (during the hard stretches, the unemployed stretches) that eventually people are going to start picking up what you’re putting down — because this business has many varied and interesting ways of busting up your self-esteem. Every time I was told ‘no’ for a job I’d really wanted/needed, I used it as fuel for the fire. More incentive to prove them all wrong. I think in the past, I needed to get that dramatic about it in my head in order to keep going.
RBG: What would be one specific thing you’d say to young actors auditioning?
LC: Everybody in those rooms wants you to do well, not fail. And figure out a way to not be nervous for the big auditions. And when you figure that out, please let me know the secret.
This is an excerpt on Lizzy’s audition process for Masters of Sex from another interview she did with Alan Sepinwall: ‘Masters of Sex’ star Lizzy Caplan on nudity, the 1950s and typecasting.
Lizzy Caplan: Well the first time I met everybody was just a meeting and a conversation. I didn’t really do it there and then I read once with John Madden, who really had my back on this from the get-go. He really saw me in this role far earlier than I saw myself in it. We did a full like hair, make-up, wardrobe thing and read all of the scenes. And he was convinced I think before I was, but I remember walking away from that audition — it was several hours long — thinking, “That was one of the best auditions and one of the most enriching experiences of my career. At this point if I don’t get the part, I’m glad I got to do that.”
Check out more about Lizzy as Virginia Johnson here!
Thank you, Lizzy
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