Throughout the years, the beautiful Katherine LaNasa has had the pleasure of being in a slew of adored films and shows. Whether she’s trying to keep her composure playing the role of Will Ferrell’s wife in The Campaign or leaving us wondering what she’s up to week after week on NBC’s mid-season drama Deception, all eyes are on her.
We caught up with Katherine to talk about who she channels for her role as Sophia Bowers, her connection with Jon Hamm and her role in the upcoming film The Frozen Ground.
Playboy.com: Fans are really drawn to your character, Sophia Bowers, on Deception. What’s your favorite aspect of playing the role?
LaNasa: I love how tricky she is and how she can turn on a dime: seemingly warm and then cold, and vice versa; I really like that about Sophia. She has the strength and the darkness you saw in women’s roles in the ’40s like Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. And I always felt like those actresses in their performances had the best lines and the best clothes…I just loved that fiery darkness that they were allowed to have in those roles. They didn’t seem like their sexuality was all about men; they were strong in their own right.
Playboy.com: What’s your favorite memory from the set of Deception?
LaNasa: I don’t know if you could call it a favorite, but you could call it a standout; in the very last episode that we shot, I get into a real Dynasty-style catfight and I ended up breaking my finger. I broke it on the first take and I did nine more takes, so I got some badass cred for that.
Playboy.com: That reminds me of Jon Hamm. I think he had a ceiling fall on him on the set of Mad Men or something.
LaNasa: Yeah, we’re a lot alike, Jon Hamm, you wouldn’t even know it! [laughs] We worked together a long time ago, actually; he’s a great guy. We worked on that chick cop show that Nancy McKeon from The Facts of Life was on [The Division]. But on Deception we have a pretty good time. I love when the entire cast is in a scene together. Frankly, I like the pilot episode when we’re all sitting around the table, which we eventually had to reshoot because we added a character. It was fun to do twice!
Playboy.com: What’s it like working with Victor Garber?
LaNasa: He’s a highly trained theater actor, and it’s really great to be with somebody that has been in some pretty significant films. He was in Argo and we all loved him on Alias; it’s really nice to be with someone in a scene so often that you feel consistently able to depend on. I feel like he’s the one character that Sophia will let tell her what to do. I think it’s the nice thing for his character to have that feminine side to him. I really like that about the character. I also like the dynamic in the relationship; she doesn’t pretend to be anyone else with him. I mean, other than the fact that her whole life is a lie, [laughs] but she doesn’t turn on the charm because Daddy’s around. She just acts like who she is. And I like that he implicitly lets her be herself.
Playboy.com: Your acting career is littered with all the genres. Which one is your favorite to work in and why?
LaNasa: I really like the balance. I remember when I got Billy Bob Thornton’s movie with [Robert] Duvall, Jayne Mansfield’s Car, I was so excited I couldn’t even get off my couch for four hours. I would text people or call them and then a few hours later after I had talked to five or six people I’d call them all again to talk about it some more. In that moment I realized that this kind of work is exactly what I want to do. This is what I want to do more than anything. I’m not necessarily looking to do a big studio movie; I’m looking for a real writers’ piece with beautiful language. The film took place in 1969; she was a former beauty queen so I got to use all of my dancing and training for that. I think that would probably be my favorite, but it all is a ton of fun and amazing to learn from people like Will Ferrell.
Playboy.com: How did you keep a straight face in that role?
LaNasa: I don’t know. We were doing an interview, which I think is on the DVD, with Piers Morgan and they set it up like a real thing. We can see each other on our monitors, but we were in separate rooms. There was a camera on him and I’m on a monitor. And on my end I had to have them cover up the monitor because I was laughing so hard when my take would start. I just couldn’t keep it together. I had so much tension in my face because I was just trying not to laugh. The first week on the movie I thought I was going to be so bad in it because I just don’t have any focus on what I was doing because my energy was focused on not laughing during my take. And he does something different every time; you just never knew what he was going to do. He’s crazy. Half the movie is ad libs, I swear.
Playboy.com: Can you talk a bit about your new film, The Frozen Ground?
LaNasa: I’m not in it that much, but I play John Cusack’s wife. It’s a true story of a serial killer, Robert Hansen, that was a baker in Alaska. This guy had this good Christian schoolteacher wife, and his lifestyle and his family really created the perfect cover for him. One, the baker hours that he’s allegedly working while all of the strippers and prostitutes are out, and two, everybody in Alaska has a plane, so he’d fly these women out into the wilderness and rape them and kill them. And he had this good wife that made nobody look at him that allowed him to get away with it for over a decade. It’s very dark. Oh god, that was a dark role.
Playboy.com: Did you have to film in Alaska?
LaNasa: I did, I was actually up there a month. My part wasn’t super substantial, but it took a month to film it. I think at the end I may only be in one scene. Radha Mitchell, who played Nic Cage’s wife, took big hits too. In the end they centered less on their home life and took it more into the investigation side of the story. Which is true; it’s how a prostitute he tried to kill who got away helped the police catch him and put him away.
*Playboy.com: *What’s your favorite…
Drink: Grey Goose martini, dirty up with olives.
Food: Tabasco sauce.
*Secret Talent: *I can make a meal out of anything that you have in your fridge or pantry.
Dream Car: Maserati silver…wait, any one.
Radio Hit: I’m so bad, I listen to ’70s music. I heard “Sweet Home Alabama” yesterday when I was doing a radio tour, so that’s been in my head ever since.
Embarrassing Moment: One day I was standing on set and I looked over and I had a two-inch-long hair growing out of my shoulder. And I’m not hairy. There was just this long, crazy fluke hair on me that I had never seen until that moment. Absolutely horrible.
Guilty Pleasure: The Real Housewives of Atlanta.
First Playboy: I used to sneak into my dad’s closet where he kept his guns and his Playboys #AmericaRules and I’d look at my dad’s Playboys.