I spoke with Kristin Lehman about her new show Motive. Motive is premiering tonight after Dancing with the Stars at 10/9c on ABC. Motive will then return on Thursday, May 23, to its regularly scheduled night and time slot at 9/8c. You get to enjoy two episodes of Motive this week. Kristin portrays Detective Angie Flynn in this crime drama with a unique twist. When the show begins they give you the killer and the victim and you are left with the mystery as to why the crime was committed. What was the motive? I had a wonderful time speaking with Kristin about the show, her character, and This Fair Land. Follow her on Twitter: @kristinlehman1 and like her Facebook page: www.facebook/ItsMeKristinLehman. Don’t miss the series premiere of Motive tonight on ABC.
Lena: I saw the first episode of Motive and I really enjoyed it. I just noticed that they put the second episode up on the press site, so I’m going to watch it tonight.
Kristin Lehman: Oh good, I like that one for all kinds of reasons that are crazy. It was warm and we weren’t in the rain [laughing]. I got to sit in a nice car and I wore nice sunglasses. No I digress, I really like that episode. It was with a really fun director.
Lena: I think they did a good job with the characters and the pilot will definitely make people come back for more.
Kristin Lehman: Oh, thank you for saying so. I’m a bit of a sophisticated nut, when it comes to viewing, and I feel like when your making network television you need to appeal to a broad base and I feel like technically our show is really beautiful, keeping in mind that in Canada our budgets are determined by something totally different than in an American market. We made something on a budget that is a drop in the bucket compared to most network shows, and I think that that is kind of the necessity of the mother of invention. I’m really proud of what our show looks like, how it reads, and how are in it. I think it breeds a lot of bravery, but I am curious to see how it lives in a climate where network leads are making a half a million dollars an episode kind of thing. It matters to me that you said that you like it. Thank you. I have really high hopes for it. It’s like this little baby bird that we are watching grow. [Laughing.]
Lena: Pilots are tough; they can make or break a series.
Kristin Lehman: Oftentimes, what I don’t understand, after twenty years of doing television, is that why the pilot would not be the best script that they have ever written. That should be the best script that you’ve ever put out into the world. Oftentimes, the pilot is pretty good and the other ones get really great. I think our pilot is good, and it has some really super compelling things in it and there are some things that I hope are compelling enough for people to come back.
Lena: Oh definitely, after watching the pilot I want to see more.
Kristin Lehman: Oh good, thanks.
Lena: Can you talk about Motive’s take on the typical crime drama? Since the first season has already aired in Canada, what feedback did the fans offer about the series?
Kristin Lehman: I just couldn’t be prouder of it. I guess the main feedback that really speaks is that we’ve been picked up for a second season already, and that we have averaged over 1.1 million viewers every single Thursday night that we are on. The feedback mostly is that fans love it. That to me is so exciting. We have a tenth of your population, so to be able to reach that many people and be in that many people’s homes in Canada it actually really matters. They love it and I’m just thrilled. I couldn’t be more happy and now with all these different ways of social media to be able to connect with fans and hear their genuine excitement and genuine entertainment just makes making television less of living in a bubble. I think they are really invested into the characters and they are certainly invested in the way into the story. I think one of the things that’s really compelling about the show is that when you show the killer and the victim off the top I think two things 1) you’re already giving people who like this kind of drama what they want because how many times have you gone to a suspenseful movie or watched a suspenseful show and you are guessing who has done it right off the top. You are guessing, so basically we are giving people what they want anyway. 2) I think that by showing people the killer and the victim right off the top in very visually compelling ways, whether the viewer knows it or not, we are already challenging their preconceived notion of what’s right or wrong, what’s good or bad, who a killer is or a victim is because oftentimes in the scenario you see the victim in, or you see the killer in, are not your standard typical moral presentation of who’s good, who’s bad, who’s the killer or the victim. That to me is what actually leads the story. I think that’s what hooks people in without them actually knowing it is – wait a minute, that’s a killer. Thirdly, hopefully they are vested into the people that are solving the crimes.
Lena: What can you say about your character, Detective Angie Flynn? She’s definitely not your average mom.
Kristin Lehman: No, she’s not. I’m just so blessed to get to play a character at this time in my career, twenty years in and being forty-one. To play a woman that has far more self-acceptance than I do in my real life, so I try to learn from her. She’s not trying to maintain other people’s expectations. She’s not worried about maintaining a standard of beauty. The way she presents herself is because she wants to present herself that way. She doesn’t make excuses for her body; she shows it if she wants to. She doesn’t make excuses for her age. She is who she is. She doesn’t make excuses for her strengths and her weaknesses; she lives with them. She doesn’t set a higher marquee for herself. This is the life that she leads and she’s proud of it. That extends to her parenting. I think being a young single mother because my character is forty and her son is seventeen. They raised each other and they have a friendship that is based on hope for a mutual success in life for both of them. My son played by Cameron Bright on the show, hopes that his mom can have a successful, loving life. She hopes that her son can thrive in the world with the job that she’s done. She’s not busy beating herself up over things that she should have done, she’s busy trying to attend to the moment the best that she can. I just can’t tell you how liberating it is to be able to play that kind of character.
Lena: They did a great job casting the show, especially with Flynn’s son Cameron Bright from Twilight.
Kristin Lehman: Yeah, I think he’s the best casting ever. There were a lot of people saying that he was too old, but if I had my son when I was nineteen that would be the age that he would be. That’s just life. It might require an open mind but that’s just a story that I want to tell. I also think that Louis Ferreira, Brendan Penny, Lauren Holly, and Roger Cross are all such a great cast. I just feel like I stepped in a puddle of gold. I’m just so happy to be doing it.
Lena: How would you describe Flynn’s relationship with her partner Vega (Louis Ferreira)?
Kristin Lehman: They are both old enough or mature enough to know that the kind of trust and the kind of intimacy that they share is one that is hard won and has nothing to do with their limitations in their romantic lives. One of the things that the viewers immediately ask, and reviewers immediately ask, is will things get romantic and I say unequivocally, no. I know that’s not where the producers want to take it. These two people, and the way we play them, are very happy to have heroic projections on each other. It’s the way they thrive and survive. It’s the way that they can trust implicitly each other. If it were to become romantic, an area where neither one of them is successful their professional lives would crumble, a relationship that they value so greatly would just be doomed. I feel like it’s almost deeper than anything the two of them could share with another partner. Louis and I are constantly trying to tap into that, constantly trying to use humor to get through and to cope. One of the things that the detective team that we met with told us right off the bat is that they use a lot of inappropriate humor to get through the day and it’s true. We are always looking for places where the humans can connect, where we can just connect. One of the ways that you do that is by just shooting the shit, so thankfully I have that with Louis naturally. We are friends and we commit every day, every scene, to try to have that. We are also at a stage in our careers where we want our work to mean something. I’m really lucky that I have a partner on the show, but I have a creative partner professionally who wants to mirror that back. I feel really lucky about that.
Lena: You guys have great on-screen chemistry, so that definitely shows.
Kristin Lehman: Thank you.
Lena: One thing that I love that they did with the premiere was when Flynn walked into the room with the dog, that scene was done perfectly. [They didn’t turn Flynn into an instant hero. Other shows have done that and it is so cheesy.]
Kristin Lehman: Can I tell you that the dog was the happiest dog in the whole wide world. He would not stop wagging his tail. There was nothing vicious about that dog so when we did my coverage, there is no dog. There is an AD holding a stuffed dog. [Laughing.] There is no ferocious dog. On the day, they used the back of my legs to place me with the dog. He was the sweetest, most playful dog.
Lena: He’s a gorgeous dog. Was he a Bullmastiff?
Kristin Lehman: I think it was a Bullmastiff and it was his first job. He was the sweetest, slobbering, like Turner & Hooch dog you could ever imagine.
Lena: Joey McIntyre from New Kids on the Block is in the premiere, and of course they threw in something special for his fans.
Kristin Lehman: Can you believe that we killed like a cultural icon? I was looking at him going oh no, we killed “Please Don’t Go Girl.” We just totally killed him. How is he going to go on tour now? I’m serious these are the things that were going through my mind. [Laughing.] It was a real pleasure to work with him. I was not a New Kids on the Blocker when I was growing up because I was just a little too old for that, but nonetheless he was a part of the cultural fabric of my growing up. I did think to myself, oh my god my past and my present are totally colliding. He was great and such a good sport to lie in gross blood. I didn’t sing to him, although I wanted to.
Lena: [Laughing. I was a huge New Kids on the Block fan. Joey was wonderful in the episode.] Who were some of the other guest stars that you enjoyed working with?
Kristin Lehman: Mary Pat Gleason is one of my favorites. She plays Bill Pullman’s secretary on 1600 Penn. She’s fantastic. The thing about our guest stars is that our show is truly a guest star show because really they have a complete arc. We have a lot of Canadian actors because this show was not purchased by ABC until midway through our season, so hopefully the Canadians are heavy hitters that people recognize like Noam Jenkins from Rookie Blue and Aidan Devin (Hannibal). They are all Canadian actors that have done a lot of American work but frankly they are just strong, strong actors regardless of where they are from. I don’t know if they are going to be actors with American cache, which on one hand is really interesting because you can just believe who they are. I think our casting has been really strong. I don’t know if now that we are on ABC if there will be more of an American draw, but not to say that we haven’t had American guest stars.
Lena: You should get Kim Coates to guest star.
Kristin Lehman: I know. He won’t come. I would like that too. He’s too busy being that cool guy on Sons of Anarchy.
Lena: You would be great as a guest star on Sons of Anarchy, so you guys can switch off.
Kristin Lehman: I would love to do crossovers on every single show. I’ve suggested all of my friends to come onto it. Once a network has seen you with another person on a show they are afraid that people will think that they are watching that show again. [Laughing.] They are like we can’t have Billy Campbell on the show because people will think that they are watching The Killing. I don’t know. Maybe it has been long enough now.
Lena: Since you have already filmed the entire first season are you happy with how the show and your character developed?
Kristin Lehman: Yes, because we are not serialized each episode has to stand on its own. I’m hoping that in the second season we are going to temper that a little bit more with more serialize stuff about the character’s personal life, but for the purpose of exporting the national sale they want to be able to schedule it in any way they can. They want to be able to take the order of the show and give them and slot it in anywhere. It means that my character can’t go from A to Z in the course of a whole season, it means that really any character development that I strive for has to happen in each episode individually, which makes it a very focused job. It takes a lot of stamina because if I want to show that I have a lot to show in that one episode, I have a lot to explore in that one episode. I think the way that our show has developed I think after all these years of doing network television if you are proud of ten of your thirteen, or even six of your thirteen, you are ahead of the game. I’m proud of at least ten of ours and that is exciting to me on a personal note. I think I speak for the cast in saying that we all really enjoy doing this show. We are very grateful and proud of it. It’s always nice to wok with people when you feel proud of them and they feel proud of you, and you have that really strong family atmosphere with our crew up here who are so much of the reason why this show is so good. We have technicians up here who are absolutely dynamite. They make my work an absolute pleasure.
Lena: Can you talk about This Fair Land?
Kristin Lehman: Once we wrapped the first season of Motive I didn’t take any other work because I needed to recover from the schedule and I launched my site. It’s a website that explores living an artful and creative life in Canada. Now that being said, it applies to everyone no matter where they live. What I wanted to do was be able to showcase through artful medium – film, photography, lifestyle, wellness, food, family, culture, and music – I wanted to be able to show what I find inspiring about living a culturally creative life in Canada so that anyone anywhere could log on and find a reliable resource for a strong sense of creative place and that Canada is not just an enormous country above America that is either apologetic or demure, it’s not the only choice that we have, to either be nationalistic or apologetic, it’s just to showcase what is beautiful and artful. It’s what inspires me about living in this country. I think it’s what would inspire anyone who is moved by creativity. We are quite strong film oriented. Each month we clip a new film that invites people to take a moment and just get lost and look at the simple building blocks in one’s life and have a thoughtful approach to what those are. Look at how communicating with each other broken down to simplest building blocks can be creatively fulfilling. The way you feed yourself, they way you think of yourself, they way you look at the world around you, just for a moment – taking a moment to contemplate those things. If that’s not the life you live understanding the people who do pursue that lifestyle they are the ones that shape what culture looks like, for the most part. Just having a place where we can showcase that and I’m very proud of it. This Fair Land is on Twitter and it’s also on Facebook, as am I. I try really hard to interact with fans on a regular basis. I kind of feel like Facebook and Twitter are like being invited to a dinner party and you don’t want to just talk about yourself, that is so weird to me and yet when I post things about Motive that’s when people are the most interested. If I post something about my curiosity about gender relationships and academia people could not care less. They really care about things that are on a human level like what I saw on my morning walk that I was compelled to share to connect. When I post something interesting about Motive they really are interested in communicating, so I’m always happy to oblige.
Lena: Yes, fans love that instant connection.
Kristin Lehman: There is that and I follow lots of people that just post really interesting things. Thank goodness that they are on Twitter or I wouldn’t know of their work otherwise; like people who are part of think tanks, or people who are getting behind start-ups, or there are people who are lateral thinkers. I wouldn’t have access to them if I didn’t have a platform where they had a place to bring up their ideas. It’s an interesting relationship I find, going down that rabbit hole. I have mixed feeling because in the beginning I was just like, oh my god, this is just more narcissism but I find I read a lot. I find that it’s a strong news source for me, depending on the source that I am on. That’s the way that I interact with that and I hope that other people interact with it that way too. I just joined because Nathan Fillion shamed me into joining about a year ago. [Laughing.] He literally peer pressured me into joining and then I didn’t even know what I was doing for a year. I only started in March understanding and wondering why I have been away from social media for so long.
Watch the series premiere of Motive on a special night tonight after Dancing with the Stars. Motive returns on Thursday night, May 23, at 9/8c on ABC.