Interview With Michelle Wolff

AE: What is Brit up to in Season 3?
Brit’s getting into all kinds of trouble. She’s a series regular now, so her character gets fleshed out. She gets to have connections with all different kinds of characters rather than being limited the way she was in Season 2. She’s smarter than people got to know last season, and she definitely has a huge role in everything that’s going on in Season 3. The sexy scenes are going to be insanely hot, which is great.

AE: Is Brit involved in the supernatural in the new season?
In Season 3, the supernatural is all around, but the way that she works with it is different than a lot of the other characters, so it definitely sets her apart a little bit.

AE: How do you like working on a series that deals with the supernatural?
It’s not a genre I’ve done before, and it is so much fun. You know, they call it a guilty pleasure, and it really is. I totally love that kind of stuff. I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and I would watch Charmed. [Dante's Cove] is a show that doesn’t apologize for what it is, and I love that. It’s fun, it’s sexy, the magic is great, and the story lines are so good this season. Season 2 was a lot of fun, but Season 3 is going to be even better.

AE: With your being in Hawaii now to film Season 3, I was wondering if you surf?
I do a little bit. Actually I learned last year when I was here shooting Season 2. I’m just a water baby; I love being out in the ocean. At Turtle Bay, where we stayed for the first part of our shoot, every morning — didn’t matter what time my call time was — I’d get up early, go to the gym, and go swim in the ocean. It was a great way to start every single day. For me it really is paradise shooting here. My friends are all packing their parkas going to Vancouver to shoot, and I’m like, "See ya!"

AE: spoke with you in early 2005; how has your career changed since then, besides your role in Dante’s Cove?
I’ve done a few projects with here! TV. I did Trapped opposite Alexandra Paul. I played her girlfriend in it, which was fun. Hello? Alexandra Paul! I’ve done a lot of television, some guest [appearances]. I’ve been steadily working, which is great. But it’s exciting for me to be doing more of the gay-themed shows and films, because it’s something I believe in. Not that I don’t love doing mainstream as well and playing straight roles, but having these opportunities and putting good product out is exciting.

I’m looking forward to continuing working with here! and working on other gay films. I love the fact that I get to do this. I get so much feedback from fans and from the public, just being grateful and thankful for a) putting out this product, and b) for being an out actress, because it really does create positive things in other people’s lives. I’m really proud of that. I get a lot of thank you’s, and some of them make me cry. They really do.

AE: What changes have you noticed in the industry in the last few years, especially for lesbian actors?
I love the fact that gay characters and gay stories keep popping up more and more on television in general. To me, the more the better. Let’s just keep that going, because it takes a lot of that silly stigma off of being an out actor. There’s no reason for it. We’re actors, and you’re asking us to play a role. Why do I have to be straight in order to play a straight role? Why do I have to be gay in order to play a gay role?

AE: You’ve mentioned in the past that you are often cast in paramedic and police officer roles, partly due to your physical characteristics. Does that continue to be the case?
They [mainstream casting directors] still have a hard time looking beyond the box. That isn’t as much about me being gay; that’s more about them looking at me and saying, "Wow, she looks like she could really be a firefighter." I played a firefighter on ER, and I had somebody ask me if I was a real firefighter, and I said, "Are you crazy?" I just have that vibe about me. Casting directors respond to that.

But I definitely have been able to be part of some great projects. … In Trapped I played the head of a company, very businesslike; there’s nothing firefighter/paramedic/cop about her. What I find is I have many more opportunities in gay and lesbian-themed projects than I do in mainstream. The gay community tends to give me a little bit more wiggle room in terms of where they’ll put me and what kind of roles they’ll give me.

AE: You were at the Dinah Shore weekend in Palm Springs this year. Had you ever attended before?
I have been before, but I haven’t gone before to promote a show. It was crazy. Seriously, I wasn’t expecting it to be as crazy as it was. We were with Jackie Warner and the L Word girls. We were all involved in a lot of different promotions for our projects.

The lesbian community is so hungry to have [actors who] are out and are on shows and out there doing this stuff, and people would go crazy. It was fun, but it was almost too much at times. We had to have [security] make sure that people stayed back and didn’t get inappropriate.

They took such great care of us. Seeing India.Arie and getting to do all of the stuff that we did, it was just a blast. It was definitely the most fun I’ve had [at Dinah].

AE: Do you play golf?
No, I don’t play golf. I follow it a little bit, but I’m not a golfer. It’s funny because so many women there don’t even know a golf tournament is happening. It’s hysterical; it’s like, "What do you mean, golf? Golf?" It really is all about the parties and the pool and chicks everywhere.

AE: As someone who loves sports, what do you think about the recent comings out of professional athletes such as Sheryl Swoopes?
Most people in the gay community already know, and so it’s not like it’s a big shocker. But again, it’s just another example of being gay not being an issue, and I think that that is really important. I would love to see it more in men’s sports and in men’s team sports. That is the next step.

And for people not to wait until they’ve been retired for 10 years to come out … I still think that that’s great, but my wish would be to see more people who are still playing actually come out and be out. It would be tough. It’s definitely a culture that doesn’t foster a whole lot of tolerance for any kind of diversity in terms of sexual preference. But the more it’s out there and the more people see it, it becomes less and less of an issue.

AE: Do you think there’s more tolerance for out actors than athletes?
In terms of your work life and your personal life, it’s much easier as an actor, because Hollywood is very gay-friendly in general. They might not put that on the screen all the time, but there’s always a lot of out gay people on sets. You might see a change in your career, but it’s not like your work environment becomes more difficult.

I think being out and playing a team sport, especially for men, would be a lot harder, because you would be faced with that intolerance and discrimination every single day. Not only from teammates who say they don’t want to play next to gay guys, but also from fans. They’re right there on the sidelines, they’re right there in the stands, and they can get pretty brutal.

AE: Are you going to be hitting any Pride festivals this summer?
We’ve already been booked for gay pride in L.A., and I’m sure there will be others. It’s about us getting more visible, not only for Dante’s Cove but for the here! network. It’s been difficult with some of the [cable] contracts to have here! available in L.A. and other places; a lot of people haven’t been able to get it. That is changing early this summer, so it’s going to be exciting to have it available to more people, doing all gay programming 24/7.

It’s interesting because most of our fan base right now is in the East Coast and the Midwest, and it’s just because it’s easier for them to get it. I think once it expands, it’s going to be awesome.

For more on Michelle Wolff, visit her MySpace page or her official site.

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