[03/11/09 - 12:10 AM]
Interview: "Lie to Me" Co-Stars Tim Roth & Kelli Williams
By Brian Ford Sullivan (TFC)

Lying is in. Over 12 million viewers have been given an education in microexpressions and deception detection thanks to FOX's new hit drama "Lie to Me." The series, which stars Tim Roth as our guide Dr. Cal Lightman, moves to its new time of Wednesdays at 8:00/7:00c starting tonight. I had the chance to sit down with Roth and his co-stars Brendan Hines, Monica Raymund and Kelli Williams during a recent set visit.

So how did creator Sam Baum and fellow executive producer Brian Grazer land a film actor like Tim? While he initially points to the obvious appeal ("Being able to go home at the end of the day was a good thing," he quips.) he confesses that "I thought the character actually was quite interesting in that he can be in a very, very different situation at any given a moment. And so if we are gonna be in this for a long haul, it would hold the interest for the audience as much as it would hold the interest for me. And it seems to be working out - we'll see. Ask me in six months. [Laughs.]"

Until then, how is he finding his newfound life as a TV actor? "You work a lot harder than when you're a film actor, you work a lot harder on this. I'm doing seven day weeks pretty much. That will change as it settles in [as] we're going very, very long hours. Once they got ya, they use ya."

Co-star Kelli Williams, who plays Lightman's partner Dr. Gillian Foster, says it's all worth it though as their relationship is one of her favorite parts of the show. "I like [the] realness between her and Lightman where they're very different and they don't play off of each other's energy, they have their own individual energy... Some people sort of absorb into somebody's vibe and I like that we keep it separate. So she can be optimistic and he can be pessimistic and somehow we make it work. We're a better team that way I think."

And what about their yet-to-be-revealed history? "I know little tidbits from the writers and we've made stuff up. I don't know, I have some ideas - we worked together before." Any guesses though are part of the process that's unique to television according to the actress. "The thing that I love about series television is that there's this parallel sort of world for your characters and the life of your characters. So you'll get information as episodes go on and you'll realize like, 'If I'd know that I would have played something different way back when.' But it's kind of nice that it has a life of its own. You don't know where the writers are going to take you - people are, we hope complex, so you can play those different layers."

Brendan Hines, better known as lead researcher Will Loker, however has a very specific layer to play - that being his vow to always tell the truth, no matter how it makes him look. He explained his character's slightly rocky origins: "I had this conversation with Sam Baum when we were first doing the pilot. I was like, 'If he's being radically honest, if he's saying everything that's on his mind at all times, he just never shuts up - no one would want him around.' And Sam's like, 'Yes, fine.' So we came up with sort of the middle ground there which is that he also has to be a bearable human being and he also has to be a character on television that people want to watch and it has to be believable that he's in this work environment... I think enough of him knows that there's a point to being professional... but then there's times when he can't help himself. So I think that's the line, the line is when he just can't help himself, it's gonna come out."

So what exactly lead to the aforementioned vow - was it a lifetime of experience or a single traumatic event? Hines believes it's the latter: "Something happened not too long ago - that coupled with the field that he works in - lead him to this place that every lie leads to more lying and that leads to pain and that leads to suffering and the only way to prevent that - or at least do your part - is to be honest at all times. I think it's a pretty recent thing for him and hopefully we're going to get into what exactly happened and why. I have my own ideas of why but we'll see if the writers end up agreeing with me."

Varied situations, complex characters and a philosophical look at the act of lying - what else does "Lie to Me" offer? "I think it's a great show," Monica Raymund - who plays Ria Torres, a newcomer to Lightman's firm - bottom lines it for us. "This is something where you learn how to people lie. Not only that, you get to learn how people try to tell the truth. You get to learn how people express themselves. That's something you don't really stop to explore and discover every day because you're so used to lying every day. And so to get outside of yourself and watch a TV show that [does that] it's a very intelligent show."

We'd be lying if we said we didn't agree.

"Lie to Me" airs Wednesdays at its new time, 8:00/7:00c.

  [march 2009]  


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