Critically acclaimed legal drama Damages follows the exploits of brilliant lawyer Patty Hewes, who runs her law firm, Hewes & Associates, with an iron fist. As season three kicks off in the UAE, we caught up with Close to get the lowdown on the show.
As a five-times Oscar nominee, did you have any difficulty in transferring to the small screen?
I found it very hard in the beginning, just because it’s so different. You don’t know your back story, so you have to trust the writers. The way they write, you get so many last-minute revisions to the script that you have to learn to be very flexible.
After three successful seasons of the show, are you still enjoying the experience?
The pace of television is thrilling for me, as exhausting as it can be – there was actually one day when we never went to bed. But I love the rhythm of it. And when you’re with a great crew, such as we have, it becomes a thrilling collaboration, which is one of the great aspects of the process that you go through. At this point in my career I find myself getting incredibly bored if I stand around a lot.
Are there any actors or actresses you’d particularly like to work with on Damages?
There are tons of actors I would love to work with. What’s exciting about Damages is that the writing is such high quality that it will hopefully attract a lot of really good, top actors. That’s what makes it fun for all of us.
How do you account for your longevity, when so many other women have found themselves disappearing?
I don’t know. I’m good at what I do. In this crazy profession, everyone is lying if they say, ‘I mapped out my career and every move is what I planned.’ You just make the best choices possible and suddenly you’ve done it for 30 years and your career is the sum of those choices.
What inspires or influences you to keep going in the industry?
Good work. By that I mean work that moves me, that I connect with. That always inspires me, no matter where I see it, whether it’s some little tiny off-Broadway thing or some actor that does some surprising thing. I have huge respect for our profession and our craft.
What do you plan on doing with your downtime between seasons of Damages?
I will hopefully spend a lot of time with my husband [US businessman David E Shaw] – we travel to various places and keep life interesting and busy.
Damages airs every Sunday at 9pm on America Plus, part of the Orbit Showtime Network.
Are all TV lawyers evil?
Samantha Stacey reaches a verdict, using other legal dramas as evidence
LA Law (1986-94)
Arnie Becker, played by Corbin Bernsen, is constantly wooing every woman he comes across, including his own clients. The rest of the cast are strong-minded lawyers who do anything they can to protect their clients. However, each episode ends as a fight between their own desires and their obligations as attorneys.
The Practice (1997-2004)
The characters start out intending to protect the innocent. But after meeting too many criminals with similar weaknesses, they become greyer versions of themselves.
Law & Order (1990-2010)
Michael Cutter (played by Linus Roache) is one to keep an eye on: he’s good-hearted and cares about the justice system, although he’ll bend the rules to help his case. Over the years, the line between good and bad has blurred. But after all, we’re all human – so is he really that bad?
Ally McBeal (1997-2002)
Nelle Porter (Portia de Rossi) is the ultimate cold-hearted goddess, with no time to make friends and no intention of making people feel comfortable. With the nickname ‘Sub-zero’, we wouldn’t want to cross her in any working or personal environment.
Boston Legal (2004-2008)
First you have William Shatner as self-assured Denny Crane, who likes to announce his name after a conversation in order to remind you that a ‘legend’ is in the room. Second, you have James Spader as Alan Shore, who will do anything to help with a case, even if it’s hacking, blackmail, disguise, and bribery.
The verdict: 95 per cent of TV lawyers are evil!