Ever think about what happens in the afterlife? Can the dead somehow communicate with us?
In TNT’s intriguing new series, the Kyra Sedgwick-produced Proof, Jennifer Beals plays Dr. Cat Tyler, a brilliant yet arrogant surgeon who is struggling with the death of her son and the dissolution of her marriage. Approached by a cancer-stricken wealthy inventor (Matthew Modine), he promises Cat his financial empire, funding all her side projects, if she examines the connection between life and death. She is then drawn into investigating cases of near-death experiences and reincarnation, hauntings and other phenomena.
ETonline talked to Beals about her character, running and the potential for the much loved Showtime series, The L Word to return to series.
ETonline: You run quite a bit in the pilot!
Jennifer Beals: She is a runner for sure! I realized after I did the surgical scene in the opening of the show, I couldn’t sleep. That night, as an actor, I couldn’t sleep after I shot it – I was so high because of the adrenaline of even pretending to try to save someone! I realized that one of the reasons the character runs is to get through all that adrenaline and really ground herself.
Do you still run? I know you have done triathlons in the past.
I do still run. I ran a bit during the show. But I honestly didn’t have a lot of time to exercise. I did 20 minutes to a half hour a few days a week, and maybe an hour on the weekend. I would do weights and do swimming and run. Long distance swimming is more a priority for me, which I really, really, really love. I started working with a running coach that I worked with when I trained for the triathlon. His name is Derek Hansen and he works with a lot of Olympic athletes, to improve the biodynamics of their running. He is an interesting guy, he really taught me a lot. I ran my fastest with him just the other weekend -- I did an eight-minute cross-country mile for three miles and I was really proud of myself. It is so much fun and so freeing.
So now with the show, we all have some thoughts about death...
We are all headed there – whether you believe or don’t believe that there is life after death, it makes you start thinking about the way in which you live your life and what is important to you.
It’s a beautiful theme your character gets to play with. Do you believe that there is something else after death?
I believe that there is something else afterwards and it is interesting to me to see how different cultures quantify or describe that. It’s fascinating to me. Still, I think the most important question is what happens when you are alive. Because you are alive now. So what are you going to do now and how do you want to live your life right now? Who do you want to be?
Have you had a near-death experience?
No, thank god.
Have you felt connected to someone who has passed on? Have you felt their presence?
I feel like people are with me, just in terms of stuff that the things that they taught me.
With all these much loved shows returning from the past, do you think we will ever see an updated version of your film, Flash Dance?
Who knows! Maybe! But you will probably sooner see another L Word!
Anything in the works?
Maybe you can get your former cast members to do guest spots.
Yea! That would be great!
Anything else you are working on?
I am producing a few projects, and I did a film right before this called with Manhattan Nocturne, with Adrien Brody and Yvonne Strahovski. Now I just need a nap -- like a good week of sleeping. We produced 10 very intense hours. But this show really excites me like no other show I have done.
Proof also stars Scandal’s Joe Morton, Edi Gathegi and Callum Blue. It premieres June 16 on TNT.
Press play on the video below to watch an exclusive sneak peek at Jennifer Beals in Proof.