Lexa Doig Talks Aurora Teagarden, The Arrangement, and More [Exclusive]
Lexa Doig has been a familiar face to genre fans since her role on Andromeda. At TV Goodness, she’s on our radar from one of our absolute favorites, Continuum. Hallmark fans know and love her as Sally Allison in Hallmark Movies & Mysteries’ Aurora Teagarden films, and Sunday night Doig returns for the 8th installment, Reap What You Sew. Yesterday, I spoke with Doig about the film and her role on E!’s The Arrangement.
After sitting out last fall’s Aurora Tegarden because of her The Arrangement schedule, Doig was able to return for this film and the upcoming 9th, which were filmed together. She credits director Martin Wood, who’s a family friend dating back toÂ Stargate SG-1, with bringing her into the Hallmark fold in the first place.
“We were at the soccer pitch one day because our daughters had soccer practice and he said, ‘I’ve got this Hallmark thing coming up, why don’t you come read?’ I said, ‘I’d read the phone book for you but I’m not Hallmark. I’ve got tattoos and I’ve played terrorists,'” she laughs.
“I think I’m hilarious, but in town, a lot of casting directors don’t see me [that way. I went to read], but thought, ‘They’re not going to cast me,’ and [executive producer] Jim Head was at the audition and said, ‘I love her. Let’s cast her.'”
“The movie Sally is a composite character. I believe in the books, she’s a little bit older. She’s part of the Real Murders Club, but she’s not Ro’s best friend. Jim Head combined the two characters. When I realized how different the character was from the book, I let the books go because I didn’t want to be overly influenced.”
Reap What You Sew investigates the murder of Ro’s cousin, rising DIY You Tube star Poppy. Two of the suspects have direct ties to Sally, which gives her a more prominent role. Doig was thrilled to be back. “I was gutted not to be able to do the one that I missed,” she says.
“In the first season, there wasn’t an overlap [with The Arrangement] so I was able to do both. When I came back, there was a lot [for Sally], and I think that was to [reassure fans] that Sally was back. I missed it. I actually love doing these.”
“They’re so much fun. It’s such a great cast. I think Marilu Henner has said that we’re like this repertory company except that we [only] do this. We have so much fun hanging out [on set]. They’re all really talented so it’s fun to play with them on camera as well. [Since] I also do a lot of heavier stuff, it’s really nice to have fun and be light. We always joke that Lawrenceton must be the murder capital of Georgia. Thank God we’re not a series or the town would be decimated.”
Doig’s role on The Arrangement, which airs Sundays at 9 pm E on E!, has expanded this year with a deeper dive into DeAnn, and Doig says that’s been part of the plan. She was cast from a taped audition and only met the showrunner and series creator, Jonathan Abrahams, after she was hired.
“He and I had a few discussion about [my character]. I think the most important thing to establish in the first season was Kyle and Megan’s relationship and the outside forces that work against it, the most obvious being Terrence. DeAnn was a big question mark and that was by design,” she explains.
“[Abrahams] is pretty feminist in his approach to things. My thinking sometimes is [that’s it hard] when characters are described as an appendage to a male character. In Season 1, she’s Kyle’s producing partner and Terrence’s wife. What was her ambition and her place in all this outside of being defined by the male characters in her life?”
“In Season 2, you really begin to see who she is. In my mind, as an actor, when you approach a character, you don’t look at them like that–you have to make the decisions [about who they are]. In my mind, she was never all the way drinking the [IHM] Kool-Aid and now you’re trying to see that. [Later this season, you will get] a little bit more clarity into what her ambitions are and what her intentions are and where her loyalties are. It’s [going to be] mind-blowing.”
Doig recurred on Season 5 of Arrow and said it came up very quickly. “Everybody on the show was great. I worked mostly with Stephen , who was fantastic. It was a ton of fun and it kind of dropped out of nowhere. I got a call on a Wednesday asking if I was interested in a role on Arrow [so] I asked for some sides. I got a character description that [wasn’t Talia al Ghul] and said OK and then I was told it started [immediately],” she recalls.
“Maya Mani was costume designer on Continuum and on Arrow. She messaged me with the announcement memo, and it said Talia al Ghul. [That’s] how I found out who I was playing. Thank God the first episode I had one line and one scene.”
Doig credits stunt coordinator James Bamford, who she already knew from Stargate, and his stunt team for their work on her fight scenes. “If the stunt people make it look better and know how to do it, just put me in where you need my face,” she says. “I used to be a gymnast and dancer, so I can pick up choreography fairly quickly, but to make it look polished and good, that’s what they do.”
On Continuum, Doig played Sonya Valentine, and she admits it was often a hard role to nail down. “It was tough in some respects for me because Sonya was either Kagami’s pupil or Travis’s girlfriend. It’s tough when you’re playing someone who’s cerebral but not usefully cerebral like [Lucas] on an action show,” she points out.
“It can be a challenge because, ‘What do you do with this character?’ In Season 2, she took over for Kagami’s character and so do did Travis. Sometimes it wasn’t clear to me what she was doing. The question I have to ask when I look at someone who I [personally] can’t support in any way, shape or form, is, ‘What does it take for someone to get to this place for that to make sense?'”
“It was not a fun place to inhabit in terms of thinking that, and having those arguments make sense. She was a little harder to play because it was unclear to me and I was always trying to figure it out. That doubt also helped [me as an actor] to play her doubt. It was a great experience.”
Doig is enjoying her busy schedule, and loves being a counterpoint to an adage about ageism. “From the standpoint of all the narrative that tends to exist about women in this industry that if you’re over 35, your career is over–I’ve never been busier and I’ll be 45 in June,” she shares. “I’ll take it. I’m not complaining.”
Neither are we! Reap What You Sew: An Aurora Teagarden Mystery premieres Sunday night at 7 pm/6c (note the earlier time!). Here’s a sneak peek.
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