Jean Smart just added a ninth Emmy nomination to her stats this year for her performance as Agent Laurie Blake in HBO’s “Watchmen.” It’s also another complex character in Smart’s extensive career: a former vigilante who now takes down vigilantes as an FBI agent. “It was very freeing as an actor to play somebody like that,” the three-time winner says in an exclusive interview with Gold Derby before the Emmy nominations. “Very complicated but her relationships don’t really come into the story. It’s just her dealing with whatever’s going on and she loves messing with people.”
Smart relates Laurie to Peter Falk‘s sleuthing Columbo, from the classic series of the same name, in how the character would act “confused, even though he was totally playing this person like a cat and mouse.” Laurie exhibits very similar behavior in Episode 3 of “Watchmen” as she tries to uncover the truth in Tulsa and goes around interviewing the local townsfolk. Even after that episode, her big introduction that centers entirely around Laurie, Smart is an amusingly blunt presence throughout the series as she bounces off characters like Angela (Regina King) and Wade (Tim Blake Nelson).
The actress has nothing but positive experiences to recall about her time on set, working with actors who were showered with Emmy nominations, like King, Jeremy Irons and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II. “I find most of the time that the people who are the most talented are usually the most down to earth easy to work with people,” states Smart, of the show’s ensemble cast. While this season of “Watchmen” is now expected to be the only season of “Watchmen,” hence its placement in the limited series categories at the Emmys, Smart wishes she could inhabit the role of Laurie again. “I would have liked to have had a shot at her a little bit longer,” she admits. “I’m kind of sad I don’t get to play her again.”
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