This week's big DVR moment comes to us courtesy of Raleigh native Sharon Lawrence, who has a major guest role Sunday night in what is sure to be an Instant Classic episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm."
WarmTV scored an interview with Lawrence earlier this week, and we asked her about working on one of HBO's hottest shows.
"Curb" is famous for its improv style of filming, but the accomplished actress known primarily for her dramatic roles, fits seamlessly into the show's comedy groove. "I knew what they wanted, but what I didn't know was how far it was going to evolve," Lawrence told us. "We know the story line, we know the plot, and we know the kind of relationships they want to create with these characters, especially one like mine that just comes in for one episode."
Too bad it's just one episode, because Lawrence is perfectly hilarious in the role of outraged cancer specialist Dr. Karen Trundle, who becomes involved in what is maybe (maybe not) a misunderstanding with Larry about some lasciviously unsafe vehicular activities. Ahem. (Check out our review of the "Curb" episode.)
"They think it's one of the best episodes they've ever shot," Lawrence said. "It has a polish to it, it was very full. For them, they were able to accomplish everything they wanted."
Lawrence's final scene with David is especially funny, as she masterfully harnesses the rage felt by most who deal with the Larry David character on the show. "I think my character is the conduit for anyone who has ever spent time with Larry David from 'Curb.' She gets to do what others have wanted to do. She's living the dream!"
Of the other big scene we can't really talk about, since this is a family newspaper, Lawrence will say this: "It was just a fun scene. . . . sometimes you have to get physical right away and boundaries are more flexible in work situations than they would be in private situations. My head was not where it would have normally been, but you just have to laugh about it."
Lawrence references her recent Emmy-nominated stint on ABC's "Grey's Anatomy," in which she played Izzie's mother. She didn't know Katherine Heigl beforehand, and said it was, "Hello, nice to see you, then ten minutes later I'm hugging her like the long lost child she is to my character."
"But what's interesting," she continues, on the brief but pivotal "Curb" scene, "is that we shot that stuff in the car on the west side of LA on Sunset Boulevard. And here we are in the middle of 5 o'clock traffic in December, and it's very crowded. There was a camera car behind us and a car in front, to lead us. But I have to wonder what any other drivers going by us thought."
Lawrence recalled working with Anthony Quinn in a 1980s stage production of "Zorba." She played his young mistress and had a seductive dance scene with him, but he put her at ease right away. "He made me feel so comfortable. Now that is my role in these situations."
Lawrence is perhaps most famous for her role as Sylvia Sipowicz on "NYPD Blue," for which she was nominated for multiple Emmys, and for memorable turns on "Desperate Housewives" and "Monk." She recently played a grieving mother in an episode of Lifetime's excellent comedy-drama, "Drop Dead Diva."
Lawrence also made an appearance last season on "Living with Ed," a Planet Green (Discovery Channel) show based on the life and life's work of environmental activist and actor Ed Begley, Jr.
Lawrence and her husband, Dr. Tom Apostle, showed Begley the work they are doing to green their mountain home, specifically adding an efficient heating and air system and new soy-based insulation in the attic.
"Greening my home is a big deal to me," she explains. "And there were only certain things I could do. For instance we can't do solar because of the postioning of the house -- we bought the house, we didn't build it. We're kind of tucked in, but we have plans for another home up there and we will be [adding solar] and looking at an on-demand water heater."
Lawrence believes these types of informative environmental shows are extremely helpful. "There are more resources out there than you might think, and these shows are the mechanisms that can most effectively tell those stories. I seem to absorb things better if I have a visual attached to it, and sometimes a website or link won't do it for me."
Lawrence, the daughter of retired local TV reporter Tom Lawrence, is pretty busy these days as chair of the Women in Film Foundation, and will perform this Saturday night at the What a Pair benefit for breast cancer research. But she did make it back to Raleigh a few months ago to see her nephew perform in the musical "Guys and Dolls" at Leesville High.
"He was adorable," she said.
"Curb Your Enthusiasm" airs on HBO Sunday nights at 9pm.
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