Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Q&A: Malin Akerman on 'Billions' and the Limitations of Comedy Roles

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Q&A: Malin Akerman on 'Billions' and the Limitations of Comedy Roles

Article excerpt

Q&A: Malin Akerman on the limitations of comedy

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TORONTO - Playing a street-smart billionaire has its challenges.

Malin Akerman admits she battled qualms in tackling a rare dramatic role for the Showtime drama "Billions," debuting on The Movie Network and the streaming service CraveTV on Sunday.

The financial saga follows the ego-driven battle between crusading U.S. attorney Chuck Rhoades, played by Paul Giamatti, and the brilliant but ruthless hedge fund king Bobby (Axe) Axelrod, played by Damian Lewis.

Akerman plays Axe's fiercely loyal and tough-as-nails wife, Lara, while Maggie Siff is Chuck's shrewd wife Wendy, an ambitious psychiatrist who also happens to be Axe's confidante.

It's a bit of a left turn for Akerman, better known for mining laughs from offbeat comedies including "Burning Love" and "Childrens Hospital" as well as network sitcoms "Trophy Wife" and "Suburgatory."

The Toronto-bred actress embraces the challenge but notes that serious drama is relatively new for her.

"Unfortunately my growth will be on camera and people will watch it -- my fails and successes," says Akerman.

"But it's so much fun. It's so great to feel nervous every day to go to set."

Speaking by phone from Los Angeles, Akerman discussed her career choices, the limitations of comedy roles, and coping with working mom guilt.

The Canadian Press: What drew you to this project?

Akerman: It was the strong female characters. Lara Axelrod, who I play, is a woman who is not to be messed with. And the reason she's not to be messed with is not because she's a malicious person, she's just uber-protective and growing up in a blue-collar family and not growing up privileged, she does everything to protect what they've created and built. Her main value is family and I like that aspect of her as well.

Right away, reading the script, you read something that's really well-written. And then it did help that you had Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti who were already attached.

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CP: You're known for comedic work but how much of a leap was this intense drama? …

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