With Watchmen continuing a huge takeover of the attention of “appointment tv viewers”, Jean Smart, who plays Laurie Blake (aka the former Silk Spectre), sat down to talk to The Beat about what Laurie’s 30-year evolution looks like, her relationship with Dr. Manhattan and the political themes of the original Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons graphic novel to present day.
When asked about Laurie Blake’s changes since the events and the pressure of playing an established character, she said: “Well there’s always a pressure when you’re playing somebody who people have a lot of expectations about. But because Damon is sort of using the graphic novel as a place to begin, not just to recreate it, that gives a certain amount of freedom. Lots of things have happened in Laurie’s life during the 30 years between the book and now. She’s certainly she’s been without Dr. Manhattan for 30 years and Owl Guy, I call him Owl Guy. And her journey to the FBI is something that we just kind of found out about towards the end of the season. So, I’m not real clear yet about exactly how that happened but I do know what happened and her complete rejection of her past makes her a more interesting person in this series.” While Jean puts her own spin on the character, she did mention a few personality traits from the comics that are brought forth in this version, saying: “Well first, I had to make sure that they weren’t going to put me in that outfit. That is to one overriding memory of reading the book. But even when Laurie was young, she was tough talking and chain smoking. She was not and never will be the reticent flower whatsoever. Now she’s gotten older and only become more of who she’s always been, and that’s always fun to play.”
One of the most pivotal relationships is hers and Dr. Manhattan’s, of that relationship, Smart said, “She was so young when she met Dr. Manhattan, she was a teenager. So, she’s never gotten over that schoolgirl crush, even though he really didn’t have a great personality. She even says “You know you never had much of a sense of humor,” which is true and that’s one thing I can’t identify with, ever being attracted to somebody who didn’t have a sense of humor. But I can see her affection for him in the other things.”
So, with this iteration, have outside opinions from the fans of the original graphic novel made their way to set? “I don’t recall hearing a lot of outside opinions. I don’t think even if people read them, that they would want to really discuss it at work because that’s kind of counterproductive. Obviously, we want the people who watch the show to love it and not be angry at it for making it. But that outside opinions can’t come into what you’re doing or shooting, it’s just counterproductive. Hopefully, for old and new fans, the show is all sorts of fun. You want people to leave your TV show or movie and argue about it all the way home over dinner. I will say it is amazing how things from the graphic novel are still so topical now. I mean I was just thinking about when Rorschach was talking about the Elites and the Liberals. I had never even heard people use that term Elites until towards the end of Obama’s administration. You suddenly realize that a lot of people in this country were who I think have now found their voice unfortunately, were sort of tired of being made to feel bad about being sexist, being racist, and/or not being very educated. And now it’s a matter of pride. And that’s when the term the elitism came in,” Smart told us. And On those cynicism comparisons to her father, The Comedian, “Laurie probably wouldn’t like to hear that the Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. But it is certainly an interesting and probably accurate observation,” she continued.
While Laurie’s character I am sure is hiding more secrets than she can count, I am looking forward to finding out more about her journey to the FBI and seeing more team-ups with her and Angela as the season unfolds. Watchmen airs Sundays on HBO, and you can read our recap of the most recent episode too!