10 THINGS – Geneva Carr
10 Things with Geneva Carr
Throughout your career, you’ve done your fair share of television and film. What are some of the things you appreciate about both platforms?
I love any and all forms of acting: film, television, theater, charades… but I think the real difference I feel in television versus film is probably the pace. TV is FAST. Especially on Bull. We film each episode in just over a week. Sometimes, there’s just a single take on a shot. And, there’s something about that, that harkens back to my theater life. You’re forced to live in the moment. Of course, knowing that a team of experts are taking care of the dialogue, the wardrobe, the lighting, the editing and all the rest, makes living in that moment a safe place.
Which actors have had the most profound influence on your career thus far?
Actresses like Viola Davis, Helen Mirren, Mary Tyler Moore, Patricia Arquette and Julia Louis-Dreyfus are the women I try to channel on a daily basis. But, if we’re going back to real beginnings, I’d have to say that Ginger Rogers and Judy Garland were the biggest influences on me envisioning what an actress is and does. My mother was nuts about old movies and watching them with her while Ginger and Judy danced, sang and broke your heart (often with perfect comic timing) were some of my most cherished childhood memories. The first time I performed live, my mother was already gone, but I had the distinct feeling that she was in good company cheering me on on stage that night.
Your latest project is that of Bull on CBS. How were you first introduced to the show and what made you want to take on this project?
When I read the pilot of Bull for my initial audition, I was floored by the writing and by the concept of jury consulting. Having served on a jury myself in New York, the concept kind of blew my mind. I had no idea about trial science. And, I had never read a female character like the one I play, Marissa Morgan. She’s the brains behind the matrix that TAC (Dr. Bull’s Trial Science Corporation) uses to measure jurors personal information that leads to how and why we predict juries will vote the way they do. She is the brains! Bull measures juries by their emotions and Marissa does it by their stats. She is smart and driven and in every way Dr. Bull’s equal. That was exciting and I jumped at the opportunity.
On the show, you play the role of Marissa Morgan. What are the many facets of her personality?
Marissa may be a neurolinguistics expert, but she’s a woman. A complicated, type A, annoyingly anal retentive woman with a bit of a bossy attitude and a wicked sense of humor. And Boy!, is it a hoot to try and weave all that into a character on television.
What do you enjoy about bringing Marissa’s character to life on screen?
The most exhilarating thing about creating a character on a television show is making her up. And using yourself as a template. Marisa Morgan is me. A smarter me, with a better wardrobe and faster come backs, but me. The writers on the show write some incredible material. They’re always challenging me and tapping into things about myself I didn’t know that anyone knew or noticed, and then, they let me fly. Marissa does a walk and talk faster than any camera man can keep up with and she gets the giggles. Often. (A tiger can’t change her stripes.)
You guys have developed a good audience for the show. What can viewers expect to see from the show in it’s second season?
Season 2 of Bull delves into the personal lives of the TAC team. It’s been fascinating to see how each actor has developed their character over time. We’re all so comfortable with each other; there’s no filter and there’s a real sense of trust amongst us. That shows in the way we all interact with each other and it’s fun! Specifically for Marissa in Season 2, there are some painful revelations and some moments of unadulterated joy. She tries to keep her personal life personal, but this season, Marissa loses control both inside and outside the office. And… she lets herself fall in love. It’s a beautiful, unexpected thing and she ends up learning about herself, her limits and the value of a friend like Bull. I can’t wait to see what the viewers think about this new, more personal view of Bull and his team.
If you didn’t have a career as an actor, what career would you have?
Well, I’ve already had another career; I was an investment banker in France after getting my MBA in Paris. I was transferred to a bank in New York and happened to see an off Broadway play that made me rethink every logical decision I’d ever made up to that point in my life. Brazenly and possibly naively, I took the plunge and became an actor. It was a struggle and I paid my dues in spades, which makes me all the more grateful for my recent success in the business. But, if I had to give up acting, I think I’d probably teach. There’s something unendingly endearing about being with children when they discover something for the first time. My god son, Zephyr is 10 (or eleven in several months as he says), and his curiosity and open spirit when facing something new is thrilling to witness. I’d love to encourage that.
When you’re not working on set, what do you enjoy doing on your time off?
I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by an incredible and long standing group of friends far and wide, so I’m often entertaining. Dinner parties are my jam and hosting guests is pure pleasure for me. I’ve been in my current apartment for nearly 8 years and the guest room hasn’t gone a month without an occupant. My first Thanksgiving here, I hosted what I called “Ophans’ Thanksgiving.” I invited any of my friends who either couldn’t afford to go home or didn’t have family to go home to and we ate and drank and laughed till 5 in the morning! I ordered that first turkey pre-cooked. Big mistake. Since then, I googled “how to brine a turkey” and the holiday has gone off without a hitch.
With respect to fashion, which designers and styles appeal to you most?
Marissa Morgan gets to wear some pretty fabulous stuff. Lots of Roland Mouret, an incredible French designer who makes cocktails dresses that are classic and yet cutting edge without being edgy. They’re a pretty penny and beautifully tailored. I can often wear them off the rack without needing the team of experts on set who alter. So, I realized that most of my clothes are French designers; they fit petite women so well. Day to day, I wear a lot of Maje, Sandro, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Claudie Pierlot and ba&ash. Of course, all the better if they involve a trip to Paris.
We look forward to seeing you on Bull. What other projects do you have coming up?
I filmed a scene with Kate Winslet in the upcoming Woody Allen movie, Wonder Wheel, and I’m hoping I don’t make the cutting room floor. Though I wouldn’t care since there’s something called a “bucket list” and that allowed me to scratch two things off.
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