How much do we love Jennifer Beals? From Bette Porter to Teresa Colvin, the tough superintendent of police out to expose corrupt cops on Fox’s upcoming drama The Chicago Code, the actress has a history of playing strong women we love. AfterEllen.com caught up with Beals during Fox’s Television Critics Association party to discuss lessons she learned from Bette, Teresa’s love life and why she felt the urge to sniff her male co-stars post-L Word.
AfterEllen.com: What did you get from your time on The L Word as Bette that you’re bringing to The Chicago Code’s Teresa?
Beals: They share a certain righteousness and they’re driven. Teresa is so much more physically in her body and so much less afraid of using her physicality than Bette. As much as I love Bette, Teresa could kick Bette’s ass any day of the week. Playing Bette has really helped me with this part. There are times when I need a certain kind of strength that she had and it’s really helped inform what I do. In some ways, Teresa is a little bit more butch than Bette.
AE: What makes her more butch — aside from the gun?
Beals: I think she’s a little bit more connected to masculinity.
AE: Any chance we’ll get a chance to see any former L Word stars pop up on The Chicago Code?
Beals: Wouldn’t that be fun? I would love that. I was thinking that the other day, actually. Anybody would be fantastic.
AE: Laurel Holloman is heading to Dinah Shore this year with her art. Any chance we’ll see a Bette and Tina reunion in Palm Springs?
Beals: I’m probably going to be working, knock on wood.
AE: Are you still in contact with any former castmembers?
Beals: Not everyday, but Leisha [Hailey] and I have been texting back and forth and I hear from Rachel [Shelley] quite a bit and Pam [Grier] every now and again. Meredith [McGeachie, who played Tonya] I talk to quite a bit. I hear from [writer] Alex [Kondracke] every now and again.
AE: Will Teresa have a love interest?
Beals: Yes, finally, by the end, thank God.
AE: Male or female?
Beals: Male! Whoot! Whoot! (Laughing.) Can I tell you, when I got onto a movie surrounded by men I was a little bit of an animal. I would just go around smelling the other actors. (Laughing.) It was very exciting.
AE: Did you miss the stubble during love scenes?
Beals: It’s not that I had tons of love scenes or anything but just the smell and presence, it just was really great. I did miss the way that everybody processed things on the set of The L Word and I did miss that kind of really particular kind of camaraderie and everybody on The L Word was very supportive of one another. There are times when I’ve missed that and we’ve all talked about how lucky we were and how it was really this sort of utopic existence — apart from not having to get men smells in great proximity all the time.
AE: Have you finished processing The L Word finale?
Beals: Yes, I’m done. Any parting thoughts I put in my L Word book or have said already. I have to say that I’m incredibly grateful to Ilene [Chaiken] for having had the chance to have played that character and every now and again on this show I would text or call Ilene and ask her advice or talk to her about certain things. It’s a great friendship and was a great working relationship.
AE: Your fans from The L Word are very excited to see you back on a series, especially in a leading role. Any parting words to your lesbian fanbase?
Beals: Just wait for her in a uniform. I think it’s worth waiting for.
The Chicago Code premieres Feb. 7 on Fox.