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LAist Interview: Anastasia Griffith from "Damages"

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Anastasia Griffith plays the hot, and somewhat indiscreet drug-using and slutty restauranteur Katie Connor in "Damages" (FX, Tuesdays, 10:00pm) - you might also remember her from "Alfie" and "Dirty Rotten Love". The story so far as we know it shows Katie getting played by both corporate scumbag Arthur Frobisher (Ted Danson) and no-holds barred harpie lawyer Patty Hewes (Glenn Close). Sorry about the pigeonholing stereotypes - everybody plays there characters well beyond those cookie-cutter images I put there - especially Griffith, who plays Katie as a resilient and determined woman who may have made a few mistakes that wouldn't matter anywhere else except in the highly charged world of multi-million-dollar lawsuits.

Next time you watch "Damages" and see Griffith playing Connor, bear in mind that she has a strong, if not charming, English accent in 'real life'. You won't find a trace of it in the show as she took Noah Bean, who plays brother David Connor on the show, along with her to a diction coach so that they would sound like siblings.

LAist had the chance to talk to Griffith a week or so ago. Check it out:

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LAist: So your character, Katie, is complex and she’s not necessarily a “bad girl” as far as we know so far, but she’s obviously going to be exploited for what anybody might call a bit of an indiscretion here and there. We know that she’s intelligent and she’s made some mistakes, but as of the episode a couple weeks ago she’s still fooling around with a guy wearing a wedding ring and looks like, from the previews, that’s going to continue for at least another episode.

So, obviously, everybody is complex and it’s refreshing to have a character that’s not just well, the "bad girl". What are you drawing from to present somebody like this? Is there anybody in the real world that you personally know?

Anastasia Griffith: No, I don’t think so. What the writers of "Damages" have done brilliantly is get the fact that people are not black and white, that people can do bad things for good reasons or good things for bad reasons and people have their certain fears and their certain things that they have to protect and their certain insecurities and tensions and all these things drive us. And we are all built up of light and dark.

And I think Katie, and most of the characters in the show are like this: it’s very difficult to draw a line of good and bad in any of them, apart from maybe David and Ellen who are kind of the moral lynchpins of the thing and even Ellen is beginning to waiver, and certainly David. I think with Katie, she’s just like anyone.

She’s like any one of my friends who, myself included, who has done things that I’m not proud of and don’t really want the world to know about. I’ve treated people maybe on occasion in a way that I’m not proud of or girlfriends of mine have treated guys in a way that they’re not proud of or been treated in a way that they’re not proud of.

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And people have secrets. People have things that they don’t want to share with the rest of the world, or at least it’s not how they want to be perceived and I don’t think anything Katie is doing, you know, she’s maybe foolish and living by her gut. But I think she’s a very impulsive girl and I guess that’s something, yes, that’s something I can relate to. I’m generally described as kind of impulsive.

Although I certainly cannot relate to everything that’s going on in Katie’s life, there are parts of her which are pulled from me and my friends and people around me. But as I say, I just think she’s written in a way, which is actually real and I think sometimes in television or in movies these characters are created too much two dimensional.

[interview with Anastasia Griffith continues after the jump...]