L7 Convention in Birmingham, UK – Day 2 Saturday Report
As I had done with my previous convention reports, I will post summaries of the questions and answers from each session. On Saturday, each guest had her own separate Q&A session and everything went smoothly and surprisingly on schedule. Most of the questions were interesting and fun but of course, there’s always a fan or two asking the same old questions that the cast probably got tired of answering. Questions like: Are you gay? What underwear are you wearing now? Who’s the best kisser? Or Are you single?
Sometimes I wonder if those fans come from a different planet or if they lived under a rock for the last six years. If fans of the show follow the news and read interviews and articles in the press, they should know that the cast members, especially Kate, don’t like questions about their sexuality. Rose Rollins once said that questions like: “are you gay or not” is a no-no.
So here is the Q&A summary from the Saturday session. I’m only posting the answers as far as I can remember them. Sometimes it was hard to understand all the questions with so many accents present and the microphone position.
Q&A with Mei Melançon
- When she first joined the cast, it was interesting to see how the actors are different from their characters. When you watch them on TV, you don’t realize that they are much more down to earth. There are still certain qualities they have in common, like Leisha who has a lot of energy just like Alice but Leisha is a lot more calm and quiet.
- It was a challenge for Mei to come to the show so late because they were already a well-established group and she didn’t want to mess up. She wanted to come and support Leisha’s and Rose’s characters and do a good job. She was nervous at first but they made her really comfortable.
- Mei’s mother met her dad while she was travelling and after Mei was born, they went to Japan. Mei is second oldest out of seven brothers and three sisters and they continued to travel a lot. She had to look after her youngest siblings all the time. A lot of her education came from travelling. As a kid, the most interesting place they’ve been to was Korea, especially the streets and all the different food because they eat everything over there. When she goes back now as an adult, she looks more at the things like architecture or fashion but as a kid, she was looking at very different things.
- When asked what character she would date from the show, Mei said that she finds herself in a place right now when she’s really independent but also wanting to settle down so she would date Bette who would be really challenging and eventually she would be a good mother. Emotionally, she related the most to Rose Rollins’ character, Tasha, because she has the same personality and her oldest sister and a younger brother are in the military. Growing up it felt like being in the army because there were so many of them and they had “5-minutes showers”.
- Before “The L Word” Mei played a couple of lesbian roles, one of them was a movie with Lauren Lee Smith called “Pathology” where Mei played her part-time lover. It’s not that much fun to play roles that are easy or not controversial. She’d like to play roles that have an impact. Jamie’s character was involved in several storylines. Mei really connected to one of them, where Jamie helped a young girl who was kicked out of her home. It was very emotional when she auditioned because it wasn’t so much about the sexuality of the girl but about this common thing with young women and men who are kicked out of their home because their parents do not accept them.
- Jamie Chen’s role was controversial because she separated two people but this stuff also happens in life and it makes people think. Even when you are playing a villain and not a hero, you can still make people think.
- When you are a newcomer, coming on a set, you are much more aware of how everyone’s reacting to you. Mei was terrified at first but everyone was very gracious and welcoming, very professional.
- Mei’s future projects include a movie called “Shockwave Darkside” where she played a sergeant named Machine. It takes place on the Moon and Mei’s hair is blonde. She finished filming it just a couple of weeks before L7 and it’s coming out next year. Mei has been only acting for about five years and when she goes to auditions, she always tries to find something that has an interesting twist. She would love to do a comedy.
- Mei doesn’t know who killed Jenny. In the world of television, it doesn’t really mean much because it could be just a dream or some kind of a fantasy. If she had to choose someone, it has to be a character who you’d suspect the last, like Tina. Mei said it would be funny if Tina was like a secret assassin or something.
- When Mei first read for the role of Jamie it wasn’t strictly an ethnical role because she could’ve been anyone and her last name was changed to Chen after Mei got the role. She wasn’t written with all the ethnical stereotypes at all. At that time, there were two or three roles she was reading for and Mei was asked which one she wanted to do. She felt that she connected more to Jamie’s role and she wanted to be a part of the show. It had more depth than e.g. the role of a secretary in the office.
- Sometimes it’s stressful to play a role and meet fan’s expectations, like when Mei played the role of Psylocke in “X-Men”. They could fit only so much in the two hours and her role ended up not being really big and she got some whiplash from her fans. It wasn’t too serious but some fans were disappointed. She can only do the best job she can for any character.
- Mei is a spokesperson for “Sierra Club”, which is an environmental group.
- If Mei could choose a super-power it would be reading people’s mind but only in emotional or dangerous situations and not like being in a group of thirty people, hearing what they want to eat.
- When Mei was growing up she didn’t watch a lot of television but she watched a lot of old movies and she admires Katharine Hepburn and Lauren Bacall. From the modern times, she admires Daniel Craig, especially his emotional strength, which is not too obvious.
- Mei likes French cinema and Michael Haneke’s “Piano Teacher” is one of her all times favorite movies.
- Mei likes being outdoors and surfing is one of her favorite things to do.
- Mei doesn’t think that Jamie and Tasha’s relationship would go anywhere because it’s not the best way to start a relationship the way they did. In the world of television, it could go on forever but rarely in real life. Also, Tasha and Jamie were so similar but you also have to grow with someone and learn things and if two people are the same, it usually does not happen.
- It is much more fun to play characters that are naughty than good.
- Even though the show is over and they all have their separate lives, the cast often gets together to hang out.
- Tattoos on Mei’s arms say, “Love me” on one and “Hate me” on another in Japanese. She got them when she was 22 and it was a time in her life when she was going through a lot of emotional stuff. She got it to basically say: “Love me or hate me but that’s who I am.” She’s okay having them because it’s still relevant to her today.
- Mei’s fondest memories from filming “The L Word” was when they are all sitting on set in-between takes, talking and laughing. Also she liked to watch other people work.
- Mei had a lot of fun and enjoyed meeting so many people from so many different countries.
Q&A with Leisha Hailey
- Leisha had done a little of theater, mostly musicals but TV is her favorite because she likes to live with the character for a long time and see it grow.
- She liked the original beeping sounds of the Season 1 opening and it didn’t make sense as to why they switched to a theme song that nobody really liked.
- The most difficult and challenging scene was when Dana died because it felt like losing a friend and it was real because Erin is a friend and she was leaving the show. The funniest scenes were usually with Rose or Mia because they would make each other laugh so much. Leisha wished that Ilene would make a tape with all the cuts and behind-the-scenes stuff because there’re so many things that happened and that were absolutely hilarious.
- When Leisha came out to her parents they were really supportive.
- Rose was really obsessed with the “Push-it” dance they did in episode 607 and she made Leisha and Mei practice every single minute everywhere.
- Lesbian parents make better parents in Leisha’s opinion but she herself doesn’t want to have kids. About five years ago, she made a documentary and followed three sets of gay parents with teenage kids. They told the stories through the eyes of the teenagers and how it was for them growing up.
- Everybody in California was completely shocked when the Proposition 8 was passed but Leisha doesn’t think that the country is going backwards. We are still moving forward but there are always some obstacles in the way. Marriage is also a very personal choice for gay people. It’s all about equal rights and the actual word marriage is where people sometimes create problems because equal right is what matters the most.
- Leisha really likes London. She lived in New York for more than seven years and there’re similar qualities between these two cities but London is more alive and festive. New York is heavier.
- Madonna is one Leisha’s all time favorite singers.
- Music and acting are so different and she prefers either of them at different periods in her life. “The L Word” was her big break from music because she was burnt out by the business side of it. Now she’s digging music more in her life.
- Leisha likes to buy people clothes and she likes to find things along the way when she travels. She loves cowboy boots. Like Carrie in “Sex and the City” has lots of high heels in her closet, Leisha has a soft spot for cowboy boots and has a lot of them. She was wearing the new ones she got in London.
- Uh Huh Her’s new album is being mixed right now. They got a studio in the valley in L.A. and met there every day to write. Leisha and Cam have been working on the new album for a year and a half, using their own money. When it is released next February, they would love to come and tour Europe. They usually come to London, Wales and Germany but they are hoping to go to other countries in Europe as well.
- If she was born as someone else Leisha wanted to be Axl Rose because he is sexy and trashy.
- Leisha appeared on Liz Feldman’s “This Just Out” along with Kate, Rose and some other cast members. Liz and Leisha are very good friends. Liz is very funny and right now, she’s writing for the new show “Hot in Cleveland” with Bette White. “This Just Out” was always improvised; they never knew what was going to happen next when they were filming it in Liz’s house.
- Leisha was always attracted to powerful and talented women so as herself she would sleep with Bette but at the same time Bette would be a little too conservative for her because Leisha also likes freaky chicks. Jenny would fit that requirement but then Jenny is a little too freaky.
- A lot of Leisha’s lines were improvised, especially many of her scenes with Mia. In Season 6 there was a scene where Jenny tells Alice that she should do cartoons and it was entirely Mia’s idea, but the scene was cut out. In real life, Leisha had done some cartoons, like “Family Guy”, “American Dad.” She usually does voices of drunken college girls and teenagers.
- They would still have to get permission to improvise. The person who wrote the best comedy was Rose Troche. Every time she wrote an episode, Alice would have some funny lines so Leisha didn’t have to do much improvisation because it was already funny.
- Leisha loved to work with Ann Archer and she was sad that they didn’t bring her back. She met Ann recently when they were auditioning for the same Pilot and it was great. Ann is a very dynamic person.
- Leisha liked that in the beginning they made Alice bi-sexual and she had a character choice to go back and forth but then they just sort of forgot that her character started as a bi-sexual.
- Leisha hasn’t heard anything about the L Word movie yet. She said that they all would love to do it but right now, they are all busy with other stuff. She doesn’t want Ilene to wait too long to do it. When they are all too old, no one would want to see that.
- The Chart was introduced to Leisha by Rose Troche when she went to the production office in L.A. and Rose told her that it was going to be Alice’s obsession. Leisha never did one herself.
- Ultimately in life, Leisha wants to be a good person and she wants to have a good time. She’s getting older and life’s too short. It’s not about financial success or being famous; it’s about being happy.
- Leisha was going to appear in “The Farm” as Alice who was falsely accused for Jenny’s murder but it was not picked up by Showtime. It was the same crew in Vancouver, the same production office but a different cast. It was based around women in prison. It was a little funny at the beginning but then it became a very dark, serious, dramatic prison show.
- Leisha was born in Okinawa, Japan, because her father was stationed there but they left when she was 4.5 years old and she doesn’t remember a thing. She’s been back there six or seven times and she loves it.
- Leisha on Alice’s relationships: Dana and Alice were soul mates. When you go from best friends to lovers, you can’t beat that. Tasha and Alice were so opposite but for some weird reason these kinds of relationships work better.
- Leisha has been with her girlfriend for almost ten years.
- To come out of the closet and announce to the world that you are gay is a personal choice. If you are in Hollywood, people might worry about losing their jobs but personally for Leisha, to represent herself honestly is the best way to go.
- If the show would continue, Alice and Tasha would have made it, though it wouldn’t be easy.
- Not only gay people but also straight people watched the show because straight people were probably fascinated by gay lifestyle but ultimately because it was a show about women, about people just like them.
- According to Leisha, Jenny killed herself.
Q&A with Kate Moennig
- Kate really admires Jane Lynch. She also admires Tom Ford (who made his film directorial debut with “A Single Man”) because he’s wildly talented.
- Now that “The L Word” is over and her other projects are done Kate is thinking about doing some travelling but not around Europe this time. She also got an offer for a movie called “The Lincoln Lawyer”, which is based on a book and is going to be filmed in L.A. It has a good cast (Marisa Tomei, Matthew McConaughey).
- Kate is like Shane in a way because she’s loyal to her friends but she’s not a slut.
- When she was a little girl, Kate wanted to be a doorman because she thought it was the coolest job in the world. Later she was thinking about being in the violin-making industry like her family but acting was always something she wanted to do.
- When she was growing up, her favorite cartoon characters were gummy bears and her ultimate favorite was Scooby-Doo.
- Kate took the role of Shane because she needed a job and because she thought Shane was a risk and therefore fun to play. Kate also thought that if the show was going to be picked up it would be huge and popular but she didn’t think that about her individual character; that Shane would be so popular.
- Love scenes on a show, at least the ones involving Kate, didn’t take a long time to shoot; over an hour at the most because the director and the camera crew didn’t want to torture them too much. Most of the love scenes were choreographed, especially the ones that included extras and day players because it made Kate uncomfortable to do certain things to them. With someone like Sarah, Clementine or Rosanna it was easier to do because they knew each other.
- When asked about physical attraction, Kate said that she likes eyes. Also, in a future partner she’s looking for respect, communication, balance, openness.
- Kate’s favorite cities to visit are Tokyo and Paris.
- Kate’s perfect day: wake up, take the dog on a hike, water her plants, sweep leaves off her deck, and then cook for friends who will come over.
- The cast made the show but the fans are the ones who kept it alive.
- Kate’s not a huge fan of Broadway musicals but if she had to choose her favorite, it would be “Cats” because she saw it three times when she was a kid.
- Kate thinks that if Shane wasn’t as cool as she was she would fail miserably at seducing women. Since Shane wasn’t terribly articulate, she couldn’t do it with her verbal skills so her only choice would have been to get them drunk.
- It’s tough to name a favorite scene from all six seasons. Kate was given a choice of Season 2 and she said her favorite scene was working with Mia Kirshner, who is wildly talented.
- Shane or the series didn’t get any closure with the end of Season 6. Speaking for herself, Kate thinks that the finale and the whole Season 6 was disappointing. It could have been a fantastic finale like the finales of “Six Feet Under” or “Sex and the City” but she didn’t know what happened with “The L Word”. She didn’t like it and was disappointed.
- If she was on a deserted island Kate would bring her dogs, sunglasses and I think she said a book but I’m not sure.
- If she has to pick three characters from the show to take with her Kate would choose Alice, Jenny and Dana because they are her homies. If she’s allowed to bring a fourth character then it would be Tasha.
- Kate’s dreams are just like everybody else’s: find the right person, live a great life, be happy and just be present.
- Shane was a bad girl and that’s what probably attracted many girls to her because they like bad girls.
- Kate is narrow-sighted and has to wear glasses. The ones she wore on Saturday came from “L.A. Eyeworks.”
- If Kate would audition for “America’s Got Talent” her talent would be barbequing.
- Being around her friends makes Kate happy.
- Aidan who played Shay was a really easy child to work with.
- Some storylines that Kate would change in “The L Word” were Dana’s death and how they dealt with Carmen. If it was Kate’s choice, Shane would’ve still left Carmen but she would have tried to see some sort of reconciliation.
- If Kate would do karaoke she’d do Eminem because she doesn’t have a good voice but she can rap the crap out of something.
- If Shane would end up with anyone out of her lovers it would be Carmen because she was the most substantial.
- The idea for Shane and Jenny to get together was Mia’s. At the end of Season 5 when Jenny caught Shane and Niki together, she mentioned a broken heart and Mia said, “What if Jenny meant Shane and not Niki?” and then Ilene took that idea and she ran with it. In theory it was a good idea but because most of Season 6 was devoted to the murder idea, they didn’t have enough time to develop their relationship to make it okay. The hardest time for them was their first kiss in the hallway. They would approach each other and then Mia would run off the set. The next take it was Kate who would ran away. After they finally did the first time, it was okay but they kept laughing about it and they still do.
- Kate would never go gay for Shane. Her exact words were, “F*** no.”
- Kate likes to write and one time she wrote something and her friend thought it was great and just when she finished, her computer crashed, and she lost everything. Now she writes when she gets the urge.
- Kate would only do The L Word movie if it will include the original cast members.
- Kate gets tattoos when she wants it and not all have some significance to her. One on her wrists she kind of regrets now.
- “The L Word” ended because it was time and not because of the writers’ strike. Six years for a cable show was pretty long, especially for Showtime and they were really generous giving them that long. It was time to move on.
- Kate’s three favorite movies are “Cool Hand Luke”, “Jaws” and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
- Jennifer Beals is such a good photographer. Kate’s favorite photo from Jennifer’s L Word Book is the one where Leisha and her standing in front of the sign “17 Reasons” and Kate has a bottle in her hand. She loves that photo.
Nothing exciting happened during the autographs signing. With only three guests it went pretty smooth and fast. I signed my Jennifer Beals’ “L Word Book”, said Hi to all the guests and was on my way to hang out with friends.
Day 3 report is coming next.