Last week, Oliver Beene introduced Maggie Grace as Elke Nelsonbooster, the hot foreign-exchange student living across the hall from the Fox sitcom's kooky core clan, and in no time, the overeager Beene boys' interest had, um, sprouted. This week — right now, in fact — TV Guide Online pries the rising starlet away from a battery of meetings with VIPs (Very Important Producers) to ask her seven questions that weren't intended to be silly until we realized how much fun she'd have with them. Enjoy!
TV Guide Online: So... the hot exchange student, huh? Is Elke the role you were born to play, or what?
Maggie Grace: Actually, she's the first girl I've ever played that everyone has a crush on. Also, she's my first hot exchange student. Finally!
TVGO: Your Swedish accent sounds pretty good to me. Or maybe, like the Beenes, I was just distracted by your sweaters.
Grace: I worked pretty hard on it. Needless to say, I don't have too much experience! Usually, when I've had to do accents, it's been one of the more typical European ones.
TVGO: Obviously, Oliver doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell with Elke — she probably has teddy bears bigger than he. But what about older brother Ted?
Grace: He stands a chance. I think he's got a lot to offer her, but he accidentally sabotages things a lot. Things tend to blow up in his face, which, judging from my own adolescent experience — and my little brother is 17 right now — that's not too far from the truth!
TVGO: Do you worry at all that, as the show's token exchange student, if you don't catch on, they'll simply exchange you?
Grace: I could always be deported, I suppose! Or what if Elke is a Communist or something? All Europeans were Communists back then, right? [Laughs]
TVGO: On the flip side, if Elke becomes as popular with the audience as she is with the Beenes, do you hope to parlay that success into more hot-exchange-student parts on the big screen?
Grace: [Laughs] Well, you know, there are so many hot-exchange-student roles out there, right?
TVGO: Right! And Shannon Elizabeth can't play all of 'em!
Grace [Playing Elke] has been really fun. It's a lot different from everything else I've done. I usually get cast as sweet, all-American girls. I've also played a lot of, um, somewhat crazy characters. Kind of dark, edgy.... "Suicidal" tends to pop up a lot [in my character descriptions]. I don't know what it is about me!
TVGO: Before I let you out of the hot seat, what can you tell me about all these meetings you're taking?
Grace: Well, I'm pretty close on a lot of features right now. Nothing totally signed and for sure, but we'll see. On my weeks off from Oliver, though, I shot... let's see... an episode of Like Family on the WB, an episode of Lyon's Den on NBC... I just did a Cold Case for CBS. I was so excited when I finally had done all the networks! It was a little minigoal of mine.