While a fair number of our weekly women to watch debuted on such staples as CSI, Supernatural and Smallville, this week’s Femme on Fire began her career on the quintessential teen series that defined a generation, Beverly Hills, 90210, as brainiac Clare Arnold.
Currently starring on Starz’s hit political drama Boss alongside Kelsey Grammer, Kathleen Robertson stars as the slick and sexy political aide Kitty O’Neill. In her role, Kitty assists Chicago mayor Tom Kane (Grammer) as he navigates the dark and gritty legislative world of elections, alliances and corrupt policy, all the while dealing with his recently diagnosed degenerative neurological disorder.
Prior to this Friday’s season two premiere and recent season one DVD release, Kathleen sat down with us to discuss her role, her sex scene debut and working with Kelsey Grammer.
Playboy.com: Boss returns this Friday. What can we look forward to in season two? How different will it be from the first season?
Robertson: This season you’re going to get a better understanding of why (the characters) are the way they are. The big difference from season one is that my character, Kitty O’Neill, in particular, at the end of the last season was left with nothing — her whole life crumbled before her. Season two is about her figuring out who she is and why she’s made these choices and whether or not she really wants to be in the world of politics anymore. She flirted with the idea of an alternate Kitty. It’s an interesting road.
Playboy.com: How would you sum up the character of Kitty?
Robertson: She’s one of the most complex characters I’ve ever played. She wraps up her sexual identity in the machinations of power. She has a shared ambition and shared power with Kane. She inherently understands human interactions, and she’s a bulldog. She loves power; she plays the game like a guy. Her identity is aligned with politics; her validation from Kane — it’s a rush for her.
Playboy.com: How does her relationship (and future child) with Zajac factor in? Is her role as his mistress connected to her desire to remain in the realm of politics after Kane is gone?
Robertson: I never saw it that way. I always viewed it as a power thing. As soon as she was with him, it was like, “Okay, I’ve got that chip in my pocket.” Then she slowly started finding herself having feelings for him, which she definitely did not expect. It was very much a political move, but then against her best judgment she started having feelings for him; she knew better but allowed herself to go there.
Playboy.com: How will pregnancy factor into the new season?
Robertson: It will obviously be part of this season, but I can’t tell you anything! It’s dealt with.
Playboy.com: Boss is a fairly intense drama. What’s been the most challenging aspect for you so far?
Robertson: Anytime you work on something that the writing is so nuanced and so internal — when you read material and it’s not that good, you, as an actor, are immediately thinking, “How am I going to make this work?” With our show, it’s the opposite. You read the scripts and immediately go into that mode of, “How can I execute this in a way that’s as good as it’s written?” There’s a scene (this season) that without a doubt is my favorite scene I’ve shot of my entire career — the stress of that is so good.
Playboy.com: Newcomer Jonathan Groff is taking your place in Kane’s cabinet. Are we going to see a rivalry between you two?
Robertson: Yes! [laughs] Especially if the show goes for another year, I have a feeling that’s where it’s really going to go. But it’s sort of starting…the energy between us. She doesn’t like him; he doesn’t like her. [laughs] She doesn’t trust him.
Playboy.com: What is it like to work under such a seasoned actor as Kelsey Grammer?
Robertson: It’s been amazing. He’s just one of those actors. I didn’t really know what to expect. You meet him and you instantly feel at ease. It’s fascinating to watch — he nails [the scenes] every time. He’s so effortless in his work. Most people at his level have no interests other than themselves; he’s not that way at all.
Playboy.com: The role called for some hot sex scenes. Was this your first time stripping down?
Robertson: It was the first time I’ve ever done it. I’ve spent my entire career saying no, I won’t. When I got the script — I didn’t have to make the decision, it was made for me as soon as I read it. It was definitely awkward. There’s that feeling of being completely exposed — not just physically, but very vulnerable. It was so much a part of this character, though. If you can’t go there with [Kitty,] you’re not being true to who she is. We just went for it. I don’t think it’s exploitive, I think those scenes are actually very beautifully shot. I think that scene from the pilot — it was really hot.
Playboy.com: Lightning round:
Favorite city? Toronto.
Drink? Glass of ice-cold Sauvignon Blanc.
Shot? Whatever’s girly and fruity and not alcoholic-tasting. It has to be bright blue or I won’t touch it.
Pickup line? “Didn’t I go to high school with you?” That’s what I get every day.
Guilty pleasure song? Right now it’s that new Katy Perry song — “Wide Awake.”
Secret talent? I can play the violin.
Dream car? I just bought it — a Porsche Cayenne. Silver with silver interior. I feel a little guilty!
Embarrassing moment? Jean shorts too low at the airport and fell down in line for security when I took off my belt. That happened two weeks ago!
Playboy.com: You’re heading to Winnipeg soon for filming; what do you have coming up?
Robertson: It’s a 1970s film about the life of Gordy Howe and his wife, Colleen Howe. I’ve got to do all my hockey research.
Playboy.com: What was your first Playboy?
Robertson: I can tell you exactly. My best friend Allison — when we were really young, [her father] used to keep all his Playboy magazines covered in the basement, hidden behind a wall. We would just read all the articles. I can still visualize the covers. Then my mom one year bought my dad one as a stocking stuffer!
Buy Boss Season 1 HERE.