Billions actress Malin Akerman talks about her new movie, Misconduct, and her yardstick for future roles
MALIN Akerman is on a roll. Not only did the last two months see the release of her television show, but her film as well.
In AXN’s Billions she plays Lara, the wife of Bobby Axelrod (played by Damian Lewis of Homeland fame). The show is loosely based on Preet Bharara, the Indian-American attorney who is famous for prosecuting well-known diplomats around the world. Akerman is also seen in recently-released Misconduct, where she shares the screen with Anthony Hopkins.
The 37-year-old, who has also starred in movies like Watchmen and The Proposal, opens up about juggling TV and box office careers, and how, after 15 years in the industry, she is still looking to push her limits.
What impressed you about Billions?
Lara is a strong-willed independent woman who doesn’t take no for an answer in both her personal and work life. She comes from a normal, middle class upbringing and even though she lives in this world of riches, there is a clear sense that she knows the value of hard work and perseverance. That was something that I was able to relate to, and it drew me to the character. It’s an incredibly smart drama centered on the finance industry, but a big part of what attracted me to the script was also the strong female characters.
On working with Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti.
It was like going to acting class every day. They are such talented actors, and have so much experience that it felt like they were making me a better actor day after day.
More about your role in Misconduct.
The movie is about a young lawyer (Josh Duhamel) who takes on a case against a huge pharmaceutical company. I play Emily, who was romantically involved with the lawyer and then uses him to take revenge on her current boyfriend — who happens to be the executive of the pharmaceutical company (Anthony Hopkins). Emily is a dark, twisted young woman who, like Lara in some ways, will do anything to get her way. It’s fun to play the villain sometimes!
How was it to work with Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins?
Unfortunately I didn’t have any scenes with Al Pacino, but being around Anthony Hopkins was a privilege. It was nerve-wracking to go to work on that first day — he’s a legend! But he’s the sweetest man, and he’s another actor that I learned from just by working beside him.
Juggling TV and movie careers.
It’s much easier to work on a cable series like Billions, because we shoot for about half the year. That allows me time in between seasons to look for other projects. Playing the same character over an extended period of time is rewarding but it’s also nice to change gears for a short period of time.
The road ahead…
I just want to keep challenging myself. I’m really enjoying dramatic work right now, but there is no telling what the future will bring. I don’t want to limit myself — I just want to work on projects that move me, and with talent that will push me to get out of my comfort zone.
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— Karan Pillai