Interviews - TV

Sprague Grayden – Death Becomes Her

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Q.  Are there any current projects that you are working on?

A.  Most recently I did a long stint on “Joan of Arcadia” that actually finished up this Friday (12/10) playing Joan’s friend Judith from camp and unfortunately I died but I do come back this Friday.  Then I did a film called Mini’s First Time and that’s a film starring Nikki Reed and Alec Baldwin, it’s a version of a Lolita story and I play her best friend.

Q.  Recently you appeared on the show “Joan of Arcadia,” how did you get involved in that project?

A.  I auditioned and it was a great experience and it turned into so much more than I thought it was going to be.  They gave me so much to do and made my character so present and really fantastic, I had no idea of the depth of the work I’d get to do on that show, and I got to learn how to juggle!

Q.  What made you want to be a part of this project?

A.  There are a couple of things I love about “Joan of Arcadia,” I love the fact that it’s a conscientious show, that it’s aware of its audience and it has to make a statement every week.  I love the fact that the young actors don’t seem to talk down to their teenage audience at all, they simply try to empathize with them and I thought it would be fun and it was fun.

Q.  What was it like getting to work with a cast so young and diverse?

A.  They’re fantastic, I’ll tell you the truth I was a little scared, I was like oh they’re gonna be Hollywood rich kids, they’re going to be obnoxious, nope they’re all fabulous.  They take their work very, very seriously and they have a lot of fun, they’re such a family and the minute you start working with them they just bring you into that family.  When you stop working with them, they make sure they call you and see how you’re doing and they’re great kids!

Q.  The cast has amazing chemistry on television, do they get together often when not filming?

A.  They do! They’re definitely a family!

Q.  How was it portraying a character in her teens, when you are no longer a teenager?

A.  It’s difficult some times, it’s definitely a responsibility.  I think the most important thing when playing a teenager, you don’t have to play a caricature, just remember to play a person who goes through these experiences, I mean they just don’t have all of these senses you do when you get out of your teens.  Being a teenager is about being more raw.

Q.  A lot of actors view their characters as a part of themselves.  Judith passed away on the show “Joan of Arcadia,” do you feel like you’ve experienced a loss?

A.  I’ve experienced different losses in my life which in many ways I think subconsciously came through with Judith’s death, so it wasn’t so much that I’ve experienced a loss as it was a memory of things that have happened to me in the past.  Judith’s personality is much more a part of me verses her death, her effervescent, some what spazzy personality.  Definitely who I was in high school!

Q.  Judith was a rambunctious teen, what were you like in high school?

A.  I thought I was very deep, I don’t know if I was very deep but I thought I was very deep.  I was involved in theater and I did a few sports just to try them, but I wasn’t very good at them.  I wore black a lot because I thought that was very deep and I was very, very opinionated and at the same time I went to a very, very small school and I had a lot of fun. Everyone excepted me for all of my eccentricities and my craziness.

Q.  You began acting at the age of five, how did you get involved in acting at such a young age?

A.  My parents are both teachers, public school teachers so they had no idea about acting or the entertainment world, any of that.  And we went to a party when I was a little girl and I started dancing in the middle of the party and their friends were actually casting directors for commercials and they mentioned to my parents that I should go out for commercials because I could make money for college.  And that’s what I did, I saved up money it helped put me through college!

Q.  You’re a major movie buff, what’s the last great movie that you saw and what made it so great?

A.  Finding Neverland, I saw it yesterday. Finding Neverland first of all is just beautiful, it’s visually stunning.  They tell the story perfectly, like a great book there is a beginning, a middle and end and when you walk out you feel warm and yet there is this intense sadness that just goes through all of you and stays with you all day.  It was just very beautiful and Kate Winslet is my hero. 

Q.  How did you get started collecting Pez dispensers?

A.  When I was in college my best friend for my birthday gave me a Princess Lea Pez and from there on I started collecting the great women of Pez.  There aren’t so many great women of Pez and I think I’m going to make an effort to get Pez to make more women!  But once I was done with the great women of Pez then I started collecting all the kind of junky ones I found, to the point where I have Tweety Bird from France.  It’s really cool, it’s Tweety with a little beret on it, I have about 100 Pez now. 

Q.  Do you have a most memorable moment from filming “Joan of Arcadia?”

A.  Just everything I did with Amber is pretty memorable cuz she’s crazy, I love her!  She’s become a pretty good friend of mine, so that’s all pretty memorable but Amber’s been in television since she was a little girl and she was on “General Hospital.”  I’ve only been doing TV for a couple of years and I come from a theater background so I still have some difficulty getting my mark because we’re supposed to stand after rehearsal so that the camera can find you.  So, a couple of takes there you can see Amber holding onto my elbow and leading me to my mark because otherwise I’ll look at it and then everyone will know I’m looking for my mark!  So, that’s pretty embarrassing!

Q.  Amber is into politics a great deal, did you ever speak to her about the subject while on “Joan of Arcadia?”

A.  Yes, thought our politics are quite similar actually, very, very similar.  I’m also very liberal and registered Independent but thought I mostly vote Democrat.  Amber’s so knowledgeable about politics, not only does she have a strong opinion, she is so learned about it that it’s great to talk to her because she tries to back up everything she states so I learned a lot from her.

Q.  What’s in your CD player right now?

A.  Amy Mann is in my CD player, I’m not very cool, I grew up in a really small town in Massachusetts and so I like a lot of classic rock and I like a lot of chick music.  I like Tory Amos and the Indigo Girls.

Q.  Is there anything that you’d like to say to your fans and supporters?

A.  Thank you for being my fans and supporters, that’s the first thing!  This is the first year I’ve really been on shows like “Six Feet Under” and “Joan of Arcadia” that have this wide an audience and it’s been really wonderful to have so many people come up to me and say they appreciate what I do and that it means something to them.  That’s what we all strive for, is to do work that means something to you, so thank you with a hug and a kiss! 

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