Mariska Hargitay TV Guide Online Interview
TV Guide Online: Joining us right now is Mariska Hargitay from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. Thanks for coming to chat.
Hargitay: I'd like to say hi to everyone!! And I'm so glad you like the show!
Question: Did you do any research in preparation for your current role?
Hargitay: Yes I did. I read several books for it and I went down to the Sex Crimes division at the NYPD and interviewed cops and spent a lot of time with actual sex times officers. Chris is here everybody. But he's leaving!
Meloni: We watch the show every Monday night together.
Question: What is it like performing opposite Chris Meloni? Is he a pit bull or a teddy bear?
Hargitay: Sweetheart, he's a pitbull and a teddy bear if you know what I mean! He's the most fun I've every worked with. The most incredible actor. And we have so much fun. Chris, his wife and a couple of friends come over and we watch it every Monday night. We also have the same sense of humor so there is a lot of comic relief on the set. It's such a serious show so we need the comedy. We bonded from our senses of humor.
Question: Mariska, Will your character lighten up as the series continues, or remain tough as nails? Either way, incredible job!
Hargitay: First of all, thank you so much. And I think she is tough as nails, you have to be that tough to do this kind of work. But as you can see she is also a sensitive empathetic and feeling human being. As well as being a professional detective. I think as we get to know the characters more, we might get more into her personal life. Maybe go out on a date with her or something! But yes, as we get to know these characters, I think a more personal side will emerge. But right know we're focusing more on the personal side of the characters, and their competency as detectives.
Question: When can we expect the first full crossover between the two Law & Order shows?
Hargitay: Oh absolutely. The cross over, I think we're shooting it November, I think it airs in Feb. I know there are definitely two crossovers planned, but log onto NBC or TVGUIDE for details.
Question: On the show, Chris Meloni wore bikini briefs. Do you know if this is what he wears in real life?
Hargitay: I hate to say this, but I don't think he wears underwear. He travels free and easy if you know what I mean. Now, I'm not sure, but that's what he said.
Question: Who is your role model?
Hargitay: I don't have a role model, really. I think that there are certain aspects of different people that I sort of respect and emulate. But there are quite a few people in that category. I don't really have a role model. Jesus would be one. But those are pretty big shows to fill so I do what I can.
Question: Hey. I was wondering, is the episode that just aired taken from an actual case?
Hargitay: I don't know. They are all pretty much pulled from the papers. Most of them are based in truth. But the show takes poetic license. They stem from a real life story that they then alter.
Question: In the movie Lake Placid, what is the most memorable part, if any that you participated in?
Hargitay: I had a really small part in it, so maybe you are ribbing me! I took the part because I knew the director, I'm a big David Kelly fan, and mostly I wanted to work with Bridget Fonda.
Question: Mariska will u be doing promotional work in NYC?
Hargitay: I'm doing a movie called Prison Song. It's a movie with Q-Tip and Elvis Costello. Darnel Martin is directing.
Question: What do you do in you extra time?
Hargitay: Travel. To Italy.
Question: What is it like to watch yourself on TV? Are you critical of your acting?
Hargitay: Extremely. Chris and I watch the show together every week, and as happy as we are with the show, we are constantly fine-tuning our performances. Trying to learn from it, and find things you can do better. It's hard to watch yourself I have to say. It's hard not to be critical. But the show is so good, I would watch it if I wasn't on it.
Question: Mariska, just got through watching tonight's show - was the rock climbing exercise for the show or do you really do that?
Hargitay: I actually, that was my first time, I did it a few times for the show. But I've since fallen in love with it, and do it while I can. But I was really doing all the rock climbing in the show tonight.
Question: Who is your favorite actor or actress to work with?
Hargitay: Chris. Chris and I have a sort of unbelievable chemistry, on the screen and off. From the moment we first met, we felt as if we had known each other our whole lives. We have the same sense of humor, and the same love and commitment to acting. We hang out a lot when we're not working, even though we're together all the time. I've very close with his wife, Sherman, it's just a huge blessing that we get on so well. I'm close with the whole cast; Richard Belzer is a real sweetheart and so fun to work with
Question: Is she going to have any love interests on the show?
Hargitay: Definitely. As time goes on, we're going to venture into those waters.
Question: I love your character's look! Quite a change from ER, that was such a great character too, but much less sophisticated looking.
Hargitay: Yes. Thank you so much, and I really wanted to do something different after ER. The next part I played I wanted to be the polar opposite of the character I played there. That's an actor's dream.
Question: When will we get to see more of Richard Belzer and Dean Winters?
Hargitay: I think so. They are writing a lot for them.
Question: What's it like working with Angie Harmon?
Hargitay: I don't really get to work with her that much. But I really like her. She's a great girl. Fabulous sexy voice. And I look forward to working with her more on the crossover episodes. She's a real Texas girl.
Question: Can I have a pic of u signed?
Hargitay: Yes, absolutely. Write to NBC in New York. There's a website also. I think I also have a website someone set up if you want to leave messages or whatever.
Question: What kind of music do you listen to?
Hargitay: I like to listen to all kinds. I just got back from Philadelphia from seeing Bruce Springsteen. I've seen him in the last month. My love for him has been rekindled. I like Sean Colvin. Sam Phillips. Natalie Merchant. I like every kind of music. Depends on what mood I'm in. I love the Stones. David Bowie. I love so much new music. It depends. It's a mood thing. I love jazz a lot and lately I've been getting into classical music.
Question: Can you possibly tell us what some of the near future shows are base on? Since the advertisements says the stories are ripped from the headlines.
Hargitay: One of the cool upcoming stories, there's kind of a Lolita type story next week. There's an episode called "Stalked". Where I get stalked. There's a college basketball story of a girl that gets raped in college. There is a sort of Russian episode dealing with a murder in Brighton
Question: how do you handle the horror of some of these stories?
Hargitay: Like I said, there is a lot of levity on the set, and we try to have as much comic relief as we can. But it's hard, and I do end up taking some of it home. I feel like a lot of mind and brain have changed. I have a lot more fear when I walking down the street. Or I see people and I think of where they come from or what could have happened to them. It makes you wonder a little more, you analyze people more.
Question: I am a true Law & Order fan, will there be a court portion in these episodes?
Hargitay: We have little court scenes every week. But that's not where the show focuses. It's more the order part than the law. The show focuses more on the detectives and how these crimes effect their lines than on how the crimes effect the justice system.
Question: Do you love your co-workers?
Hargitay: I love my co-workers and I love my crew.
Question: As the show is getting off the ground, all of the characters are slowly being introduced. Is the plan for you & your costar to be the main characters, or will everyone have an equal role?
Hargitay: Well I think that the way itís sort of been is that Chris and I have been the leading detectives on the show. The way it's been written, you see the stories through our eyes. I think we'll grow to get to know the other characters too.
Question: I noticed in the first episode that your characters mother Elizabeth Ashley had an accent. Where is she supposedly from and where did her rape take place, that conceived your character?
Hargitay: All will be revealed. Sorry, I can't answer that now!
Question: Who would you choose as your leading man ?(in a movie)
Hargitay: Kevin Spacey. He's my favorite actor right now. Also I'd like to work with Tom Hanks, Robert DeNiro is just a god, so... who doesn't want to work with him.
Question: Did you watch Law and Order before you got this role?
Hargitay: Not as much as I do now! I had class on Wednesday nights, so I never got to see it! I was an ER aficionado though. But now that's been all turned around!
Question: On the set of SVU, how do you kill time while you're not filming?
Hargitay: Work on the scripts. Tell jokes with Chris. Call my friends in LA because I just recently moved to New York. I'm born and raised in LA. Read. Try to read. There's so much to do but it never all gets done because we work like 15-hour days. I'm pretty much on the set all the time. There is not a lot of downtime.
Question: What's your reaction to Rosie O'Donnell's criticism of the show?
Hargitay: We think it's so funny. Because she doesn't like the show but she - Likes Oz, which doesn't make any sense because it's more violent than our show. Our show picks up after the crime has happened. But she loves Chris Meloni and Dean Winters, so if she tunes in a few times, hopefully she'll become a fan. God Bless Michael J. Fox! Chris and I are both going on the show so hopefully we're going to turn her around. Cause we love her! But I think that we deal with the material in a responsible way. So I'm proud of the show.
Question: What number episode are you currently working on for Law & Order: Special Victims Unit?
Hargitay: We're on 11.
Question: How do you cope being the only woman in a cast of full of guys?
Hargitay: I love it! I love it! I love it! I get all the attention and its' really fun. I grew up with a family full of brothers so I feel right at home. And all the guys make me feel like a princess. I love it!
Question: In scenes where you and Chris are in a car, how do they decide who drives?
Hargitay: LOL! He just drives. He usually drives out of chivalry. And I drive in some of the upcoming ones when he's dealing with a perp or a victim. But I love that question! I'm glad you're paying attention. Do you think I should be driving more! Maybe I should drive more! I'm going to drive more!
Question: About the movie with Q-tip when will u start filming in NYC?
Hargitay: I believe I shoot Oct. 23 and 24.
Question: Do you think your work in ER led to getting this role ?
Hargitay: I don't know the answer to that. I went in and read for this part. I auditioned for it. I am sure it had a little to do with it, but I don't know. I had so many auditions and getting a role like this is such a process that you always think that just in and of itself is enough. But one never knows for what reasons people make decisions.
Question: Have you ever done Broadway?
Hargitay: No I haven't and it's one of my dreams.
Question: I JUST FINISHED WATCHING YOUR SHOW AND YOU ADD A LOT TO IT...YOUR MOTHER WOULD BE PROUD OF YOU.
Hargitay: Oh, thank you so much, I hope so!
TV Guide Online: Thanks for chatting with us Mariska.
Hargitay: Thanks so much. Love chatting! Love to do it again! The shows keep getting better and better so stay tuned. God bless you all. Thank you all so much for your support. And let's chat again soon! XOXO Marish!
TV Guide Online: We'd love to have you back again soon. Goodnight.