Nip/Tuck, the edgiest series on television, is back and it’s still as sharp as a surgical scalpel. Hollywood.com scheduled consultations with three of the series’ sexy leading ladies–Joely Richardson, who plays the put-upon Julia McNamara; Kelly Carlson, the red hot porn producer Kimber; and Jessalyn Gilsig, Christian Troy’s AIDS stricken sex addict amour–and came back with some unaugmented conversations.
Do you get excited every time you get a new script and you get to see all the unexpected twists and turns the writers have found for you?
Richardson: “Always–and not just my character but the other characters as well.”
Are you at the point where the writers solicit you for ideas for Julia?
Richardson: “I got to suggest ideas. I think we all get to suggest ideas–whether they get taken or not is another issue. It was my suggestion that Matt wasn’t her son [with Sean], because I thought if Matt is their son there’s no mileage, where if Matt isn’t their son it makes everything more complicated, and maybe they’d had that idea before but I was the one who said ‘I think it’s got to be Julian’s son.”
What’s coming up this season for Julia?
Richardson: “You know I can’t tell you this! All I can tell you is that Julia gets out of the kitchen and gets out of her marriage.”
How do you describe your personal style?
Richardson: “I’m more toward the classic style, I think. Styles are ever-changing, but I think now people are thinking about classical styles at last, because we’ve all seen how faddish it is.”
Do you style yourself or have some help?
Richardson: “Up until just recently I picked everything out myself, but recently I started working with Jessica Pasteur.”
Who was your very first TV crush?
Richardson: “Nick Nolte–He was a really good-looking guy and he was in Rich Man, Poor Man, and I saw it as a kid and I thought ‘Ooo, he’s cute.’ And it was really weird years later when I ended up working with him. I never told him.”
Are the writers soliciting any ideas from you for your character?
“That’s an interesting question because last year I came up with the idea for the hand, the fortune teller telling her she was changing. I did come up with a couple little things, not actual storylines, and I don’t know if we’re going to use them but I do think about it–A LOT–and present them to Ryan Murphy. ‘Um, well, do you think maybe I could–I mean, you don’t HAVE to…’ It’s not really a good argument, but he’s like ‘No, it’s great.'”
What’s happening with the Kimber doll [the sex doll made in her image]? You had it at one point–
Carlson: “My godparents have her. They They’re keeping her safe.”
How do you describe your own personal style?
Carlson: “I’d say sophisticated with a hint of glitz to it. I like to stand out but I also like to be very safe. Everybody knows I always wear black or white, so I’m not risky–or risqué–at all, but I do like to show a little skin as long as it’s balanced.”
Are you your own stylist or do you have someone who helps you out?
Carlson: “My godmother, who’s the most incredible dresser-she helps me a lot. But she actually OWNS the Armani stuff. I’m the borrower.”
Are you doing anything new exercise or dietwise?
Carlson: “I work out three days a week with my trainer John, and I just drink a lot of water and stay away from the sugar. When you don’t eat sugar and you drink a soda, you’re like BLECH!’ I eat everything in moderation, I don’t really diet, unless I’m not working out. You know? If I’m working out three or four days a week, I can–like I had mashed potatoes today, and it’s all about–oh no, I ate at Louise’s in the valley, and I had mashed potatoes, they’re my favorite food, so I have to be responsible and work out because it’s my responsibility to be fit on Nip/Tuck, so I can have a job. Quite frankly. So it’s all just a balance.”
Who are your professional role models?
Carlson: “I have my favorites for different things. I love Meryl Streep, I love Sharon Stone. I love Demi Moore because she’s so good with emotional scenes. They all fit into different categories and they all inspire me.”
How long does it take you to get ready for a red carpet event?
Carlson: “Two hours. I take my time. I worked for MAC cosmetics for six years, so I always do my own make up, and I grew up in a house with a salon, and I always do my own hair. And I even do it a lot on the show. I’m lucky.”
You’re saving them money.
Carlson: “I’m saving them money, but I was lucky that my mother–that’s what she does for a living, so I was trained at a very young age.”
Do you get worried about tripping? Falling out of something?
Carlson: “No. I think at the Stuff party, that black outfit–remember that black top? My breast fell out, in front of about seven people. But that’s okay. [laughs]”
You’re an actress–you can deal.
Carlson: “Yep, I just calmly put it back in.”
How has Nip/Tuck changed your life, walking down the street?
Carlson: “That changed my life in more than one way. A) I’m working, I’m getting better at what I do every day, and then people do recognize you, which I’m just starting to get used to. But it’s great, it’s good, it’s all part of the process, and also part of the reward, when you have people that really appreciate the show, and feel passionately about it, so you feel good about what you’re doing every day at work. Even if you’re doing something kind of racy, it’s still–people are still appreciating it.”
Who do you think is the sexiest man alive?
Carlson: “Clive Owen. Closer did something with me. He’s just sexy, his voice was sexy, the look in his eyes, it’s that look he gets, I’m done. But my loyalty is with Julian McMahon. I just want to sleep with Clive Owen. I’m kidding.”
Who was your first TV crush?
Carlson: “Ponch from CHiPs. I like a man in uniform, and I like that dark hair. All my boyfriends have been dark–Latino or Italian. That’s where it all started.”
Between Nip/Tuck and Prison Break, you’re officially the hardest working woman in show business right now. How are you keeping up with both schedules right now?
Gilsig: It’s alright. They communicated so that I’m not supposed to be two places at once. It’s a little bit daunting. I hope that I kind of hold up my end.
You need to let them know that the combined audiences of the two shows means that you are watched by millions and millions of people each week–
Gilsig: “Yeah. That would make me look so much more popular.
Were you happy with the overnight success of Prison Break?
Gilsig: “Yeah. Some shows–I really knew with this show. I read the script and I said, ‘Unless they screw it up, there’s no way to fail. It’s a great story.’ It was just great on the page. It had this kind of filmic scale and I think that TV is obviously heading more and more that way. So I’m glad that Brett Ratner directed the pilot and did a phenomenal job. It looks so good and I’m really pleased.”
Has there been anything in the script yet where you’ve opened it up and gone, ‘Wow. I get to do this now?’
Gilsig: “Yeah. I get to do something pretty cool, something that was a first time for me so that’s fun which is funny because I’ve done everything on Nip/Tuck.
You have done a lot on that show. How soon are we going to see you in the season?
Gilsig: “Episode Six. So it’ll be a little while.”
Can you set the scene? How she’s going to come into the show?
Gilsig: “She shocked me again, I swear. I was shocked myself. She’s such a survivor and so she kind of set her target, and when it doesn’t turn out she sets a new target which is kind of like moving it on a whole new part of the cast which is fun for me because I worked with Julian [McMahon], which was great. Now I’m moving in with Joely and Roma and kind of seeing I can work that side of the cast a little bit. It’s fun.”
How do people react to you on the street? What do they say?
Gilsig: “Some guy came up to me and he said, ‘There’s that bitch. You’re such a bitch.’ I’m like, ‘Dude, it’s a TV show.’ I had a woman say to me once at Bloomingdale’s, she was like, ‘Oh, I thought of you this morning. My husband and I are trying to get pregnant and so we had sex and I had my legs over my head and I was totally thinking about you.’ Oh my God.”
So if it’s a girl they have to name it after you?
Gilsig: “Actually, I’d rather they didn’t. But people can quote that show to you. People took it very, very personally which was fun. I’ve never been a part of anything like that.”
Do people assume you’re as volatile as Gina?
Gilsig: “People do ask me that a lot and people worry for my husband. They ask if I’m like that at home, if I have a temper, am I difficult and that kind of stuff.”
And exactly how are you at home?
Gilsig: “Next question [Laughs].”
What do you for fun here in L.A. when you’re not working?
Gilsig: “We love our dogs and so we hike a lot and we’re trying to get out more. We’re trying to explore all the restaurants. We do yoga and we are trying to use the city a little bit more. It is a great city, but you have to make just a bit more effort.”
Who was your first TV crush?
Gilsig: “Oh my God. This is embarrassing, but we didn’t really have TV because I lived in Canada. We only had two channels. So I think that my mother’s friend loved Tom Selleck and so I started watching Magnum P.I.–I think it was him. That’s not embarrassing. That’s alright. He’s cute. He was a little old, though. I was probably like ten.”