Edie Falco Interview: ‘The Menendez Murders’
“I couldn’t have been more wrong about my perception of the story,” admits Edie Falco about what piqued her interest in “Law and Order True Crime: The Menendez Murders.” This limited series examines the trial of Lyle and Erik Menendez, who were convicted of murdering their wealthy parents. Falco plays lawyer Leslie Abramson, who defended the brothers on the grounds that their parents had abused them. The actress, who competes at the Emmys for Best Movie/Mini Actress for the role, hoped to “set the record straight, because I think it’s an important story.” Watch our exclusive video interview with Falco above.
All Falco had heard on the nightly news concerning the 1994 trial painted a picture of “these two spoiled rich kids in Beverly Hills who killed their parents, and that was kind of how I filed it away in my brain.” Yet in speaking with creator Rene Balcer and producer Dick Wolf, her opinions began to change. “The more I learned about it,” she explains, “the more I realized it was pretty plain and simple a story about child abuse.”
In playing Abramson, Falco “tried to find out what it is that was her through-line in this story … What did she care about? What was her viewpoint?” While there was some video footage for her to draw upon, there was “certainly less than if it was happening now.” That didn’t matter, however, because she wasn’t interested in doing “a physical imitation of her. It was for me more about where she was coming from.” She adds, “It’s a very strange thing, playing a real person … who’s still alive. I want to have respect for this very difficult chapter she had in her life. So I want to tread lightly.”
Falco won three Emmys for her role as Carmela Soprano on “The Sopranos” (Best Drama Actress in 1999, 2001 and 2003) and another as Best Comedy Actress for “Nurse Jackie” in 2010. She contended three more times for “The Sopranos” (2000, 2004, and 2007), five more for “Nurse Jackie” (2011-2015), and once for “30 Rock” (Best Comedy Guest Actress in 2008). Her current bid for “The Menendez Murders” is her 14th nomination in less than 20 years.