Actress Katherine LaNasa steps into the Deception role of Sofia Bowers when the new NBC mystery drama makes its series debut on Monday, January 7.
In Deception, starring Meagan Good as Detective Joanna Locasto, Katherine LaNasa plays the ultra-glamorous second wife of Pharmaceuticals CEO Robert Bowers and mother to Mia Bowers. When wealthy socialite and notorious party girl Vivian Bowers is found dead of an overdose inside the Bowers mansion, Joanna begins to uncover dark secrets and clues about why Vivian’s life was in danger.
LaNasa comes to Deception on the heels of playing Lizzie Ambrose in the A&E drama Longmire and fresh off her role in the summer comedy The Campaign, starring Will Ferrell.
When The Deadbolt caught up with Katherine LaNasa for the series premiere of Deception, we learned more about her character, the show’s mystery, what it’s like to work with Meagan Good, the relationship between Joanna and Sofia, and working with Victor Garber.
THE DEADBOLT: Who is Sofia Bowers and how does she fit into the family?
KATHERINE LANASA: Sofia, just as a character, I really feel that I’m drawing upon the types of roles for women in the 1940s, like Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, and Barbara Stanwick. The type of noir characters those women would play is what Sofia feels like to me where women would really be in their power, their sexual power, in the forefront of movies at that time. So, she feels like that to me.
As a character, she’s dark, mysterious, alcoholic, oddly a loving mother, sexual, smart, not to be messed with, and tricky. It’s very fun to play.
THE DEADBOLT: Deception looks like a modern take on some of the great murder mystery shows and movies of the past. What was it about the show that appeal to you most?
LANASA: Well, I love mysteries and thrillers. Those are probably my favorite types of movies. It was really just the character. In the pilot, I really knew how to make this character. I knew what to do and where to go.
It’s funny, I had one scene to audition for the pilot and I don’t think I’ve ever worked on one scene for that long. I call it “three degrees below hell.” I kept working on it and working on it. I knew Sofia was just way deep and dark and in there somewhere. It wasn’t just a role where you come in and act pissy or bitchy, it was coming from this deep, dark, and old place.
Of course I’m still finding out stuff as they flesh out the role more and more, but I’m starting to get really settled in it. Also, in terms of what I talked about before, I think it’s intentionally winking at the old movie stars like Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. There’s a little camp in there that I’m putting in on purpose. She’s a little over-the-top and a little grand. It’s fun. I think it adds a fun, not-taking-yourself-too-seriously quality to the show.
THE DEADBOLT: Is it fun to read scripts like that not knowing who did what in a “whodunit” manner?
LANASA: Oh yes! Particularly now as we’re getting into episodes seven, eight and nine, you can see the groundwork and the direction the show is going to take with the twists and turns. It feels like the car got warmed up and now the car is racing.
I’m surprised when I read this stuff. I’m like, “That person is a bad guy? Wait a minute, he’s a good guy? Or is he a bad guy?” It’s not obvious at all where it starts to go. It’s very fun in that way.
THE DEADBOLT: What’s it been like to work with Meagan?
LANASA: I love Meagan! She’s so easy as an actress. You know what she’s bringing when you watch it. I hang out with her away from the set. She’s just delightful and just a good person.
She’s so gorgeous that I have a little crush on her. I’m always like, “You’re so pretty!” She’s pretty, right?
THE DEADBOLT: For sure, but don’t sell yourself too short.
LANASA: I’m not, but she is. Obviously I’ve worked with a lot of beautiful people but she’s just got one of those faces you want to look at. She’s a doll. I think she’s more clever and offbeat than people would imagine.
THE DEADBOLT: What’s the relationship between Joanna and Sofia? I’ve heard Sofia makes her stay less than inviting?
LANASA: Well, it takes one to know one. That’s how I feel about it. It’s like, “What are you up to? I know that because I may be up to something. What are you up to? You’re not fooling me.” I think that’s definitely the nature of it.
I like our relationship because it’s tricky. I feel that it’s interesting for the audience if the Sofia character feels like a bit of a sticky spider web to the Joanna character. It’s an obstacle. It’s slippery and you don’t know what you’re going to get. There’s a lot of switching directions, which makes it intriguing, exciting and fun.
THE DEADBOLT: What was it like to find the right chemsitry with Victor Garber? Had you worked with him before?
LANASA: I had worked with him before. It was actually this sparring-partner, possible love interest to him in Justice a few years back. I played a Nancy Grace type character and he played a lawyer. So we had worked together and had good chemistry then.
Victor, as a person, is a real “alpha.” I think that’s good for me in the role. He’s got the size and the quiet power to possibly dominate or rival Sofia. That’s a nice quality. I find it’s nice to have one person in the show for whom I can give over that in the scenes.
What I like about working with him is that he has this different energy. I feel like there’s always this searching for the unity, searching for the center of Robert and Sofia together. As the show goes on, you see them as this power couple at the head of this family together.
THE DEADBOLT: So, I’ll just cut right to the chase. Who killed Vivian Bowers?
LANASA: I don’t know, but we’re going to know soon. I don’t want to know. I’m terrified that it’s me.
Deception makes its series debut on Monday, January 7 at 10/9c on NBC.