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Interview - Lisa Edelstein

To say that Lisa Edelstein is one of the busiest actors in Hollywood today would be an understatement.

You will remember her from two of her best known performances. First, as Dr. Lisa Cuddy on the hit FOX series House M.D. and as Abby McCarthy in the series Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. She’s also appeared in series such as Scandal, Castle, The Good Doctor, Elementary and The Good Wife to name a few.

Now, she reunites with her The West Wing co-star Rob Lowe on the hit FOX series 9-1-1: Lone Star. Edelstein will play Gwyneth Strand, the ex-wife of Rob Lowe’s character.

We had the chance to chat with Lisa to talk about her new role and what it was like reuniting with Rob Lowe on screen.

Pop Culture Principle - We read that the producers of the series originally reached out to you during the first season of the show, but schedules didn’t’ work out. Is that true?

Lisa Edelstein - Yes! They called me last February, I think. Then called me again over the summer. It’s actually great that the character was introduced when she was. Because of covid, they really had the time to develop her and her relationship to Owen and you could really see it on the page. It’s been so much fun doing the scenes they’ve written for us, I’m so happy I was able to join.

Pop Culture Principle - In preparing for this role, did you get a chance to watch the first season of the series to familiarize yourself with the characters and the overall vibe of the series?

Lisa Edelstein - Of course! I grew up watching “Emergency!” (And in love with Randolph Mantooth, obviously). This show is like “Emergency!” on speed. It’s catastrophe porn! Five disasters an episode!

Pop Culture Principle - Gwenyth and Owen are currently divorced. We think its safe in assuming that Owen’s job had to be a big reason why the divorce happened? Would you agree with that?

Lisa Edelstein - No, I think 9/11 killed their marriage. Gwyneth also works hard, although he was definitely the busier one back in the day. But the trauma of 9/11 and all its myriad aftermaths, including the deaths in his house on the day and the illnesses that followed, it changed both of them. And they drifted.

Pop Culture Principle - Right out of the gate, your character Gwenyth deals with a lot. She is helping T.K. get better after being shot, Rob Lowe’s character gets really sick due to chemo. Can you talk a bit about your character’s handling of those major issues?

Lisa Edelstein - She came there to help TK recover from his wound and she stayed when she saw what dire straits Owen was in with his chemo. They love each other a lot; these are not people who ended their marriage because they hated each other. And being cooped up by both the pandemic lockdown and the need for care reminded both of them how much they enjoy each other’s company, even when they are about to eat each other’s heads off.

Pop Culture Principle - You haven’t worked with Rob Lowe since your days on the West Wing. Can you tell us what it was like showing up on set your first day and working with Rob again?

Lisa Edelstein - It’s just great. We have a blast. Of course, day one of working together again was in pasties and underwear for a love scene so you kind of have to laugh and surrender to the absolute absurdity of what we do.

Pop Culture Principle - Is your character scheduled to be in a few episodes this season or will it be a storyline that carries on throughout the second season?

Lisa Edelstein - As far as I know I’ll be coming and going throughout the season, but I don’t get to read ahead so it’s always a surprise.

Pop Culture Principle - Obviously COVID has played a big role in our society today. Can you talk about the safety protocols on set and will COVID play a role in the series this season?

Lisa Edelstein - As far as I can tell, “Lone Star” is set in a post-pandemic world. It’s a tough call to make for writers, since no one really wants to watch a bunch of masks talking to each other, but no one really knows how long this will go on for.

Pop Culture Principle - Will you be returning to The Kominsky Method and is there anything you can tell us?

Lisa Edelstein - I am! We finished season 3, which I am pretty sure is the final season, just before Christmas. I was so happy we were doing a third season, though it sucks that it’s ending. This year was a blast; Kathleen Turner has a major arc, and Paul Reiser is back at his best with the ugliest (but most amazing) bald cap I’ve ever seen. Plus Haley Joel Osment as my cult-infused son and Sarah Baker and all the kids in the acting class and the amazing and glorious Michael Douglas...I loved being a part of that show!

Pop Culture Principle - Any other upcoming projects you can tell us about?

Lisa Edelstein - Yes! And No. I can’t talk about them yet, but yes!

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A huge thank you to Lisa Edelstein for taking the time out of her very busy schedule to talk with us. 9-1-1: Lone Star returns for its second season on Monday, January 18th at 9/8c on FOX.

**All photos courtesy of Kevin Estrada/FOX**

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