by Al Norton /411mania / October 6, 2010
While you may recognize Kimberly Quinn from her guest spots on House, Two and a Half Men, CSI: NY, and The Secret Life of the American Teenager, it’s her current role as Gretchen Dolworth on FX’s critically acclaimed new series Terriers that is turning into her coming out party.
Al Norton: How did Terriers come to you?
Kimberly Quinn: Via my agent (laughing). I was back in New England, back in Massachusetts, because my Dad had passed away. We had his funeral, I came home to LA, and three days later I had an audition. When someone passes away you’re in that place where nothing really matters. You’re just floating. I said, “I’ll just go to this audition to get my mind off of things”, and I did, and they liked me, and then they called me back. They called me back again and then three days later, on Friday, I had the job. I was there on Tuesday morning, they said come back Tuesday afternoon to read with Donal (Logue), which I did, and then Friday was the test in front of network folks and everyone and that night they told me I had the job.
Al Norton: Did you leave each session thinking you had nailed it, that you had the part?
Kimberly Quinn: I left there saying, “I am Gretchen.” I knew that Donal and I had all the chemistry in the world. I was very confident in my performance but I have felt that in the past and not gotten the job so I didn’t have any attachment to it. I have learned you have to go to the auditions, do the best you can, and you can’t get attached to the parts.
Al Norton: What drew you to Gretchen?
Kimberly Quinn: I loved that Gretchen and Hank still had this really deep connection for ex’s. You could tell that there was so much love between them that it pulled on my heartstrings. It made me sad that Hank’s addiction got in the way of that love. They still really care about each other so there’s this element of, “aww, can they ever work it out?” But I don’t think so because she’s moving on. But does she really want to move on? She’s with this guy who is absolutely not anything like Hank.
Al Norton: You filmed the whole show on location in Ocean Beach. How much do you think that adds to the feel of the show?
Kimberly Quinn: I think it’s brilliant. I hear that it’s more expensive to shoot like that but it adds a whole dynamic. It becomes like a character on the show. I know Donal really wanted it. When we were filming the pilot people were talking about building sets for different scenes and he would push for us to film on location in real places. It brings almost a film quality to the show.
Al Norton: Most of what you do is pretending but if you are doing it in real places it must make it easier to do so.
Kimberly Quinn: It does. I traveled a lot back and forth from home. It would have been really great if I lived there. Donal and Mikey lived there together; they were Ocean Beach. We girls went back and forth, balancing work with our families. When you’re pulling into San Diego and you see the clear skies and the beautiful weather, it definitely has an effect on the work.
Al Norton: I love the show, I think it’s the best new series of the fall, and almost universally everything I’ve read have been raves. Unfortunately, ratings have not been good.
Kimberly Quinn: This is my first series and so it’s all new to me, the numbers and whatnot. It’s interesting because the numbers aren’t there. The people I talk to, a lot of them said that they don’t know what the show is about because of a, the title, and b, the marketing campaign, where it’s the dog on the posters. I don’t know if that has something to do with it. This is all new to me so I don’t know. I’m waiting it out.
Al Norton: It’s been an interesting fall as the two new shows that have received the best reviews, Terriers and Fox’s Lone Star, have had major ratings issues, and some have wondered if the marketing for both shows let them down as that seems to be more important than actual content when people are making decisions on what to watch.
Kimberly Quinn: I couldn’t agree more. I think that marketing is everything. If you see the dog on our poster and you don’t see the boys, how are you going to say, “hey, he looks cool, I want to see what he’s up to.” I think you might be on to something.
Al Norton: You started out as a model, right?
Kimberly Quinn: Yes. I moved to New York in my early 20’s to work as a model and did foresee myself acting at all, it was never really a thought. One thing led to another with the modeling and I happen to get a commercial from a print job I had done and at the time I was wondering if modeling was really for me. I did this commercial and that was it. I literally quit modeling the next day, signed up for acting class, and never looked back.
Al Norton: That’s a pretty major jump to make. Was it hard to get casting people to look at you as an actress and not a model?
I signed up for acting class and what’s funny is that I was so scared that I didn’t get up in acting class. I would just stay in the back of the room and watch and it was a long time, maybe a year, maybe a year and a half, before I had the courage to get up and do a scene. When I finally did, I knew. It was great because my teacher knew and my classmates knew, too. They had all been waiting, wondering if that girl in the back of the class was ever going to frickin’ do anything (laughing). That was it and I knew I could do it and that it was what I was meant to do. I just kept going from there but it sure did take me a long time to get going (laughing).
Al Norton: Give me a pitch to someone who hasn’t watched Terriers yet about why they should tune in?
Kimberly Quinn: It’s a procedural show done somewhat differently, focused on the characters as opposed to the procedure. I think the joy of the show is actually kind of buddying up with these two guys who are just trying to make it through the day and while doing so find their sensibility in life, to get on some sort of path. They are trying to find themselves and I think that there’s a lot of people out there in the same boat and you can have fun watching the show and relating.
Don’t miss Terriers, Wednesdays at 10 pm on FX