Fans of the hit show, Dollhouse, which airs on Fox on Friday nights, were in for a treat when one of the breakout stars in Season One returned to the show for its Second Season. We recently caught up with Miracle Laurie, who plays any one of three characters on the show, for an interview about, not only Dollhouse, but her life as a young actress.
First of all, is Miracle your real name?
Is there significance behind it?
My parents are hippies, so I’m sure that has something to do with it. ☺ And the story goes: my mom was married and divorced very young and had a daughter, my older sister. My father was married and divorced twice with no kids - and thought maybe it wasn’t meant to be. My parents met, fell in love and got married. Then a year and a half after that, they had me - so I was my daddy’s little miracle baby. A year and a half after that they had another girl, and named her Angel. So my dad actually wound up getting 3 daughters when he didn’t think he would have any.
I read that you’re an accomplished Polynesian dancer. What was your interest in Polynesian dancing?
My mom started Polynesian dancing when she was 21 and has been in that world ever since. She danced, and then started singing and emceeing for her group, eventually taught, and now plays upright bass, sings and still occasionally dances. So, although I’m a Huntington Beach local, I grew up in the Hawaiian community and have a lot of “aloha” in me. I’ve been dancing since I could walk and I LOVE it. Both of my sisters dance and several of my friends - it’s a really wonderful thing to be a part of.
Now, your mother is Filipino and Scottish. I am Filipino and Chinese. No question, just thought I would mention that.
You have a degree in drama from California – Irvine. Have you always wanted to be an actress?
Yes, actually. I knew when I was 5 years old that that’s what I wanted to do. Apparently, I pointed at the TV and said, “Look, mom, I’m going to do that some day.” And she said, “Okay, sweetheart.” My parents have always been incredibly supportive, being artists and musicians themselves, but honestly, they’re just good parents, period. I started doing community theatre and variety shows when I was very young, modeled for a couple years, did theatre all through H.S., Jr. College, and eventually got my degree at UC Irvine.
You’re mostly known as November/Mellie/Madeleine on Dollhouse. Dollhouse was created by Joss Whedon, who did Buffy and Firefly. I heard you auditioned for each of these shows. How did you get involved with Dollhouse?
While I was putting myself through college, I started commuting out to LA. I would go to casting workshops, auditions, audit classes, etc. in order to meet people, build relationships and get my name out there while practicing the craft and slowly trying to get acclimated to Los Angeles. During that time, about 9 years ago, I met one of the women who casts for Joss and she brought me in for a small co-star role on Buffy. I auditioned for and sometimes got callbacks for quite a few roles on that show throughout the years, but didn’t book anything. Then they brought me in to audition for the role of Kaylee and I got pretty close, but they went with Jewel (which was brilliant!). THEN - came “Dollhouse” and November. To me, the minute I heard about the show, saw the character breakdown and read the sides I was supposed to learn for the audition, I thought: “If I don’t get this part, it’s all my fault. This is meant for me.” It’s a rare feeling for an actor to see a role and believe that 100%. So I focused up, tried to stay calm, and did the audition. Then they called me back to read for Joss and a couple of the writers/producers and apparently it worked.
The premise of Dollhouse is an interesting one. For those who don’t know what it’s about, it’s about Caroline, played by Eliza Dushku. Her code name is Echo and, according to Fox’s website, is “an ‘Active,’ a member of a highly illegal and underground group of individuals who have had their personalities wiped clean so they can be imprinted with any number of new personas.’ So, it’s possible you could play any character at any time then?
That’s it in a nutshell, yes. Pretty much ANYTHING is possible and that’s what makes it such a brilliant show.
It’s still early on in Season Two. At the end of Season One, Mellie was supposed to live a normal life. But you came back in Season Two as Madeleine. Is there anything special about this season you wanted to mention?
There’s tons I’d LOVE to mention but would get in SERIOUS trouble if I did. Ha ha All I can say is things are rarely what they seem; you’re in for a lot of surprises and I really think the writers are putting everything out there this season. No judging and no fear in the Dollhouse.
Your role on Dollhouse is your first major role. How has this affected your career?
It’s done a lot, let me tell you. ☺ I’ve got a great team around me now and hopefully things will continue to keep moving forward. I am a very blessed and happy young woman.
As a young actress, what have you learned from being on a hit network show?
Working on a one hour television drama is a lot different than anything I’ve ever experienced. The whole experience has been, and continues to be kind of a crash course in the business for me. A course, for which, I am EXTREMELY grateful. You can learn a lot and quickly if you pay close attention. I’m ecstatic every day I get to go to work and thrilled that I’m surrounded by such wonderful people - cast, crew, writers, everyone!
When Dollhouse becomes a thing of the past, what projects would you want to pursue?
Well, hopefully that won’t happen for a while, but to answer your question: I know it’s a boring answer, but I’m excited about EVERYTHING that can and will happen in the future. I like the idea of being open and seeing what’s out there for me while still being motivated to do the grunt work myself and see what kind of projects I can get involved with.
Are you working on anything now?
We’re still shooting the second season of Dollhouse and I think they’re on episode eight right now. So we have a ways to go before the season is wrapped. Aside from that, I did a guest star role in the pilot of the webseries Cabonauts: starring Nichelle Nichols from the original Star Trek,which I believe you can find online. Also, my fiancé Christopher May and I are working on getting our music up on Nimbit and other sites so people can start buying our stuff if they want. We have a ukulele cover band called, Uke Box Heroes. I think we’re pretty groovy. Also, we’ll be going to the Echo-1 convention in the UK next May and hope to have CDs available by the time we get there. For now, people can listen to our stuff at our MySpace page: www.myspace.com/ukeboxheroes
Thank you much!
You’re welcome! And if anyone’s interested, I have an actor Facebook page (Miracle Laurie) and a Twitter account (@miraclelaurie). I love being able to communicate with the fans that way. Also, I check in with your website fairly regularly, so it’s been really fun for me to do this interview with you. So thank you.
Dollhouse returns to Fox with back to back episodes on Friday, December 4th.