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September 22, 2014

Shiri Appleby Finds 'Life Unexpected'

by Michael Maloney, posted Jan 18th 2010 11:00AM
Shiri Appleby on Life UnexpectedShiri Appleby is a veteran TV actress who's appeared on everything from the soap opera 'Santa Barbara' to 'Baywatch' to the cult hit 'Roswell.' But she may become most well-known for her new show on The CW, 'Life UneXpected,' which debuts on Mon., Jan. 18 at 9PM ET. Appleby plays Cate Cassidy, a radio talk show host, who is reunited with Lux, a teen girl whom she gave up for adoption.

Appleby recently chatted with AOL TV about her new show, how she got started in the business so early and her appearances on both the first and last episodes of 'ER.'
Shiri Appleby on Life UnexpectedShiri Appleby is a veteran TV actress who's appeared on everything from the soap opera 'Santa Barbara' to 'Baywatch' to the cult hit 'Roswell.' But she may become most well-known for her new show on The CW, 'Life UneXpected,' which debuts on Mon., Jan. 18 at 9PM ET. Appleby plays Cate Cassidy, a radio talk show host, who is reunited with Lux, a teen girl whom she gave up for adoption.

Appleby recently chatted with AOL TV about her new show, how she got started in the business so early and her appearances on both the first and last episodes of 'ER.'

What attracted you to this script?
I like that the adults have to grow up. My character has to start taking responsibility. I think maturing is a choice. That's what is at the heart of this story. These thirty-somethings are now faced with a teenager. That's the catalyst that makes all these characters grow up. I'm a thirty-something myself.




No actor's age is secret thanks to the Internet, but you're just old enough to play the mother of a teenager. Did you have any reservations about taking on this part given ageism in Hollywood? No. The only hesitation I had was that they wouldn't cast me! When they made it clear they wanted to tell the story from a younger person's point of view, I was on board. I'm interested in playing real people who are faced with real challenges and how they deal with obstacles. That's what Cate is all about. If the alternative is to not take this role and try to play ingenues trying to be the sexy young thing? I'd rather take this role.

Your credits go back to 1984! How'd you get involved with the business at such a young age?
My parents put me in the business when I was three years old. My pre-school teacher told them I was becoming terribly introverted and this helped bring me out of my shell. They put me in classes and in situations where I'd have to go in and say my name. I have incredible parents. I started interacting with other kids and gained a strong sense of my self.

Speaking of parents, who'd name their kid "Lux?"
Well, it means "light" and I think one of the nurses gave it to her. Britt Robertson [who plays Lux, my daughter] is my roommate. We're more like sisters. Some days she's the mom and some days I am. I hope this is the long run that I have in me.

Life UnexpectedYour character Cate has a boyfriend, Ryan, but could this experience connect her to Lux's biological dad Baze?
The characters Baze and Cate are definitely drawn to each other. There's something between them. It's a dream for kids to see their biological parents together. But Cate is engaged to Ryan, played by Kerr Smith, who's incredible. There's a major triangle going on. Cate's trying to be more mature with Ryan; with Baze, played by Kristoffer Polaha, everything he says drives her crazy.

Kristoffer is a real-life dad and grounded and ...
Yes, and what's funny is that Kerr is single and having a great time. They're playing opposites.

How are you like Cate?
I'm similar to her in the fact that Cate is all over the place. I'm trying to figuring things out, too. Cate's always trying to do the right thing and is allowing her heart to lead her, which can get her in trouble. I think a lot of times it comes down to following your instincts. If things don't work out the way you wanted, it's okay to feel the pain. You get back up on that horse and keep going.

Do you feel that 'Life UneXpected' fits in with the rest of the CW's lineup: 'Melrose Place,' '90210,' 'Smallville'?
Yes. I watched 'Felicity,' 'Dawson's Creek' ... those were the shows that had characters I could relate to. Our show [on The CW] feels very old-school WB to me. I haven't really seen what else is going on with the rest of the network, but I feel they're very behind this show.

What was it like being in the finale of 'ER'?

I was also actually in the pilot of 'ER,' too, as a pregnant teen. I remember being at the craft services table with Noah Wyle hoping the show would be picked up. Being on it 15 years later [as Dr. Daria Wade] was like being a part of history. I couldn't have been on a better set to learn how to do episodic drama. Those actors came on every day prepared, knowing pages of technical dialogue. Thankfully, I have had a blessed career and I've flown under the radar. It took me a few years after 'Roswell' to build myself back up again. I know I have one really huge run of hour drama in me. I'd love that to be part of what I'll accomplish in life and that it is with this show.

You have a slew of credits, but you have flown under the radar. Are you spotted when you're out and about?
Jamie-Lynn Sigler told me that people think she's me. My girlfriends will notice that people are looking at me. Sometimes people know me. It's been a pretty good gig. I've been able to work all my life and maintain my privacy. I've done some great stuff, but it's all been under the radar. Sometimes certain casting directors won't want to see me if they don't' know my name and because I'm not in the magazines, so I'll make a tape and send it in. Then, they'll see me.

A lot of actors might take that personally, but it doesn't sound like you do?
No. It's a business. Once you get past that, it's great.

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