AE: So, what do you like about each of those roles — acting and producing?
HL: Um, I’ve always wanted to act, from the time I was eight years old. I thought, that is my absolute dream. Acting is something I’ve always had a passion for. But it’s a lifelong pursuit. It depends what you want to do: Do you want to do it because you have a passion or it or
because you want to be a star? I think if you want to be a star, you’ll find something else to do. That’s where people can be misguided.
Producing, for me, was something that I fell in love with right from the beginning. And it’s a huge process. The creative part of it and helping somebody to realize their dream, to me, is the greatest part of it. Anybody I work with will tell you that when I find a director or writer, it’s like really honing whatever that is they’re doing and really wanting to create. That is huge. To watch the face of a writer see her film on the screen for the first time is just amazing. So Melanie Aswell, who wrote Promtoversy, she sat there and saw in front of an audience for the first time — not only did Leana Creel direct her film but Jane Lynch is in her film — she’s
watching this and I asked, “Is it what you expected when you wrote it?” And she said, “It’s so much more. And it’s different than what I had originally set out to do.”
AE: Was April’s Shower the first feature that you’ve been involved with?
HL: Well, it’s the first feature that I actually was involved with from the roots and up, in terms of producing and raising the money and seeing it all through close, and it being my production company. That’s the first thing we produced. But I used to work for Passion Films, and we did a film called Good Advice with Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards and a few other people. That was just a totally different experience because the company I worked for, its executive
producers, you’re in a different place. I was working for Michael Bolton at the time. That was his company. And that was originally a movie written for him.
We were all friends, so Mark Burg said, “I think this would be great for Charlie.” And Charlie was making his comeback. He hadn’t really been doing anything. You know, he wasn’t really on everybody’s top 10 list. Or top 10 favorite list. It would be a different top 10 list. He was just then coming back to do Spin City, and, you know, coming out of hiding or wherever he was. And he played that role. But Good Advice is a movie that Michael Bolton developed with the writers. So he had his film company, which was fun, and I got to work with him for three years. That was a really good experience. That’s where I made my leap. I went from the modeling business to producing. I took a drastic cut in pay but I really got to learn a lot and meet a lot of people, which was great.
AE: You hadn’t done any acting before you got into producing films?
HL: No, I had done nearly 80 commercials and some bit parts in films. And honestly, producing was a way to actually do the roles I really wanted to do, and for me to not be stereotyped to just ethnic actress. Sometimes people are just so thick; they can’t see past the outside.
AE: What kind of work do you want to be involved with in the future? Is there anything that you haven’t seen yet that you’d like to see happen?
HL: Well, I really do feel that I’m either doing everything that I want to do or at least moving in that direction. I mean, cloning would be great because there could be three of me and I
could do all of the things I really want to do in this lifetime. But right now I think the most important thing is, I’d love to see this network have more good shows take off, and I’d really like to continue promoting people within our community. Promoting not just organizations and
charities, but different things. I get to work with a company, as I feel the necklace around my neck, Love and Pride. This is a company that I’m going to get to design some jewelry with. You know, fashion is something that I love, and I spoke to Udi Behr, who’s a designer for Love and Pride, and we’re going to create some jewelry together. We actually just created a whole line for The L Word. He’s in Italy and he’s just wonderful. People like that, people who are creating and doing things for the community.
Because I think the reality is that the gay and lesbian population in this country has more disposable in come per capita than any other sector. Any other sector. We make $710 billion a year. We are the ones spending money, we are the ones buying the luxury products and we are the ones facing corporations like Ford, like Wal-Mart — there are corporations out there that just aren’t catering to us. We’ve got to band together and start boycotting some of these people who just simply aren’t getting it.
And you’ve gotta ask yourself, how important is my Land Rover, my Range Rover, my Jaguar to have as opposed to my civil rights. And, quite frankly, that’s what I believe in. What I really believe in the future. And it’s my duty as a lesbian who’s out there and recognizable — it is my duty to go out there and speak up, say, “Hey, wake up!” You know? I don’t need to spend my money here, with people who are
completely close-minded. And the thing that does allow me to sleep at night is knowing that George Bush will no longer be in that White House in 2008. Thank God.
AE: We have that at least.
HL: We need to wake up and smell the coffee. Trust me, I come from a Republican family. I thought capitalism was more important than anything else. I really hope that people wake up and smell the coffee, because it’s going to be their child. And it’s really the person who doesn’t want to see it, who turns a blind eye to it, whose son or daughter unfortunately is either going to get murdered or attacked over their sexuality. You know, there’s still a lot of hate crimes against people in our community. And we have to stop the segregation within our community, and then we have to get out there and speak up.
AE: Well, it’s great that you have a platform to do that, and that you’re actually using it.
HL: Yeah. [Sigh] You know, I am. It’s one of those things. I got pretty riled up just talking to my family last night and just trying to make the point: Watch where you vote and watch what you do, because just imagine me disappearing from this table and not existing. Because when you pull that lever and you vote in a certain way, that’s what you’re saying. Do you want to
face that reality and do you want to basically throw away your daughter’s, your sister’s, civil rights?
AE: Well, I hope you changed some opinions in that conversation.
HL: Oh, yeah. You know they’re just like, “Oh dear… Does anybody want a cup of coffee?”
AE: [Laughs] Well, you gotta at least try. You’re making a lot of effort.
HL: Well, hopefully we all will.