Interview: Elisabeth Rohm
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Elisabeth Röhm admits to thriving under pressure - and she has quite the busy schedule. In the past year and a half, she has acted in nearly a dozen projects and released her first novel. Meanwhile, her role as a parent has inspired a popular blog at People.com, with her young daughter keeping her on her toes.
The graceful and grateful Röhm seems to handle everything with a naturally upbeat and considerate nature. Recognizable from her long-term roles on television series such as Law & Order and Angel, Elisabeth will soon be seen on the big screen in films such as Abduction with Taylor Lautner and Lily Collins and Transit with James Caviezel.
Here now is an exclusive interview I conducted with Elisabeth in July 2011. This was originally published in Valley Scene Magazine.
When did you know - truly know - that you were an actress?
I think I truly knew when I gave birth to my daughter Easton. I decided that as much as I love my daughter I know that I'd truly miss the work and craft that acting adds to another part of my life.
Was your family supportive of your career choice?
Absolutely. I come from a family of heart-oriented people, who are deeply passionate. My family motto is, "What you can do or dream you can, begin it; boldness has genius, power and magic in it."
What did you study in school that you find useful in your career?
I was a history major and writing minor at Sarah Lawrence and my interest in the world outside of acting actually supports the acting.
What did you discover on your own, outside of the classroom, that has had an impact on your career philosophy?
I think my mother taught me that if I had a passion for something to not look for approval but to look straight ahead and keep on moving. She said this knowing that one day I would achieve what it was I was looking for.
How do you prepare for auditions? Does your routine differ depending on the role or project?
Whether audition or job, my method, if I can even call it that, is an accumulation of my experiences in all the time that I've been doing it. Although, when I do a job, I work with a coach on the script to help me push myself past my comfort level.
Would you like to balance your plate with even shares of theatre, TV, and film work, or do you want to focus primarily on one avenue of the business?
Right now I am very interested in getting back to television because I think it has become the most exciting place to be these days. I of course would love to do a play one of these days. But for now I'm excited to do another series.
You've appeared on soap operas (One Life to Live), fan-favorite sci-fi series (Angel, Heroes), dramas (Law & Order), and more. What genre have you yet to tackle on TV that you'd love to try?
I definitely find drama and sci-fi to be my sweet spot, but I absolutely would love the opportunity to tackle comedy.
What was it like to transition from one-episode roles to recurring roles to being a series regular? Did you want to be a regular on a series - were you working towards that goal, that dream?
I've mostly done recurring or regular roles and find that it is very satisfying because it allows you to commit to them for a greater length of time. They feel more secure and therefore allows you to take greater risks. However, I would definitely welcome some juicy guest star roles.
I enjoyed the TNT series Bull. Can you tell me a little about that experience?
Bull was such an incredible highlight of my career. The entire cast and crew have became and remain friends of mine. I was so sad to see them especially before 9/11 when the bull market became fraught with stories to tell.
After filming 85 episodes as A.D.A. Serena Southerlyn, you had a lovely behind-the-scenes goodbye from Sam Waterson and the cast and crew of Law & Order. What did you take away from your time on that series?
It's hard to encapsulate what I took away from that show. It would be more like a laundry list of changes, improvements, and growth that I experienced during those years with Sam Waterson and Jerry Orbach. One of the most important things I learned from those two is that your life is more important than your work, that you have to find balance and love your family.
At the time of this interview, you have half a dozen films in various levels of production. Congratulations! Which recent film role has been the most challenging?
I'd have to say Joel Silver's Transit that I just completed with James Caviezel and James Frain. Shooting an action film in the hot Louisiana swamps with actual alligators was quite the adventure.
Do you find it's more challenging when the character is like you, or when she's unlike you?>
The key is to identify elements of yourself in every character you play.
We've touched on some of your professional landmarks. What about your personal landmarks?
2008 to date has personally been a very tumultuous time in my life, from the birth of my daughter Easton to losing my mother a year and a half ago. One of my personal memorable landmarks is when I started to volunteer with the Red Cross 7 years ago. It really changed my life to learn the value of giving and I'm very grateful to them for leading the way toward a philanthropic outlook on life.
You're a published author now, having released the novel Nerissa, as well as a journalist, contributing to PEOPLE.com and other publications. How do you deal with looming deadlines?
I've always thrived under pressure and leave everything, absolutely everything, to the last minute.
Rumor has it you're an avid equestrian. Have you always had a fondness for horses? Have you taught your daughter to ride?
I started riding at 5 years old and it's a tremendous feeling. I put Easton in a saddle around the time she learned how to walk, ha ha!
Why do you act? What moves you to do what you do? How have your motivations or inspirations changed over the course of your career?
As time goes by, I think all of our motivations become clearer to us. But I've always been interested in the human experience and why we do the things we do.
When you look ahead ten years, what do you see yourself doing?
Just more of the same and bracing myself for the time when I have a teenager.
To learn more about Elisabeth Rohm, please visit http://www.elisabeth-rohm.com
The film Abduction opens in theatres on September 23rd.