Interview With Laurel Holloman

After five seasons of The L Word, Laurel Holloman’s character, Tina Kennard, has gone through a lifetime’s worth of dyke drama. After several breakups, makeups, a baby, a boyfriend, and a diva on a dysfunctional movie set, Holloman told that this season has been her favorite to shoot since Season 1.

For those who were exasperated with Tina’s behavior over the last couple of seasons, Holloman urged, “Don’t give up on Tina. … She’s figuring it out.”

Although in recent years Holloman has focused on The L Word and her family — she is married to production designer Paul Macherey and mother to 3-year-old Lola — astute lesbian filmgoers will remember her breakthrough role as baby butch Randy Dean in The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love (1995). Holloman also played vampire hunter Justine Cooper on the third season of Angel, and has acted in at least 25 films.

I spoke with the upbeat, friendly Holloman before the premiere of Season 5 of The L Word, and she opened up about Tina’s story lines, learning how to play Randy Dean, how much she loved kicking ass on Angel, and her own real-life girl crushes. I know you probably can’t tell me much, but can you give me any hints as to what we can expect from Tina this upcoming season?
Laurel Holloman:
She’s just full steam ahead in her career, she’s producing a movie, and it’s really exciting. There’s lots of drama, and she has a very antagonistic relationship with Jenny, Mia Kirshner’s character, and it’s fantastic. We had a lot of fun. I love working with Mia — we work really well together.

So there’s some of that, there’s some dating, and, you know, there’s some Bette and Tina stuff. I can’t say what it is, but it’s great stuff — it’s good. In the last year, you started to see how they became friends, and I think that they needed to do that because they have a lot of wounds. I think that you’ll see that continue, and you’ll really see them start to really just talk to each other. There’s a lot of Jodi, too.

I don’t think I can say much more than that. But it’s great. So far it’s been my favorite season to shoot.

AE: Oh, that’s great.
This season and first season were probably my two favorites to so far.

AE: That’s great. When I met you at GLAAD last May, you said that it was really hard for you to shoot last year because Tina was off with Henry so much.
Yeah, well … in a way I had a lot more time off, and I tried to enjoy that time with my family and just know that it’s an ensemble and things circle back around. I wanted them to explore the relationship with Henry just so that you could understand … why she made that decision, and then understand also why it doesn’t work. I think we did touch on that.

It’s just as an actor you always want to explore more. But I don’t think people want to see his character that much. I totally understand that, too. I just tried to ask Ilene [Chaiken] as many questions as I could so I could come in with whatever was happening with Tina off-screen that maybe you didn’t see in the writing, so eventually when you did see it, it made sense. And I think it did.

It’s obvious that — and I think you see it up towards the end — when she’s on the beach with Annabella Sciorra’s character, with Kate [Arden], that she still … has very strong feelings for Bette. Obviously I think … [Bette and Tina] behave in certain very reactive ways and they don’t always stay in touch with what they’re really feeling and how they’re behaving, which is very human.

Holloman as Tina and Jennifer Beals as Bette Porter

AE: True. So she was definitely flirting with Kate Arden at the end of the last season. Does she come up too?
It’s … all drama, but I’d say this season is more about the focus on the central characters, the original characters, and those friendships and those relationships. Tina is very much back in the core group, and she’s a lot happier. I’d say she’s a lot better off and she’s in her place. She’s not nearly as lost.

For me, the first season and the fifth … kind of bookend everything where you can see this huge arc in between. There was a time my character was very lost, and it’s nice to play her more in this season because she’s more grounded, she’s doing great with work, she’s finally at not such a volatile relationship with her ex. And she’s back in the fold, so to speak. Do you know what I’m saying?

AE: Yeah. Absolutely. That sounds great.
She’s on her own. That’s all I’m saying. She’s on her own.