Having made a name for herself in movies such as American Splendor and About Schmidt, Hope Davis is one of the many film stars who found herself on the small screen this season. She plays the widow of an Iraq-war correspondent in J.J. Abrams' latest series, Six Degrees also starring big-screen vets Campbell Scott, Bridget Moynahan and Erika Christensen, and concerning six New Yorkers whose lives are interconnected (Thursdays at 10 pm/ET on ABC). Last week, her character, Laura, made two uncomfortable discoveries: Her late husband might have dabbled in arms dealing, and her new friend's fiancé will hit on anything in a skirt. Davis, though, tells TVGuide.com that her new gig is all about being comfortable.
TVGuide.com: What made you decide to do a TV show now?
Hope Davis: I'm a New Yorker, and I rarely get to work at home. I travel all the time, and I have two small children. Someone came [to me] with this really wonderful script and said, "We're going to shoot in the Village," and that was all I needed to hear!
TVGuide.com: Years ago you costarred in Dick Wolf's Deadline, which was canceled after five episodes. Did anything from that experience make you wary about television?
Davis: No. The thing I learned from Deadline is you don't want to be the only lead in an hour-long drama, because the shooting day is so incredibly long. On Deadline, Oliver Platt worked the most insane hours. When they approached me about this show they said, "There's six of you and the time is going to be spread evenly between you," and that made it very appealing to me.
TVGuide.com: Were you a fan of J.J. Abrams' work before this?
Davis: I have not been a huge TV-watcher in the last few years, just because I have little kids and I've been pretty busy. I'd seen Alias way back, but I actually only saw Lost for the first time last week. It was very intriguing, though.
TVGuide.com: What about the concept of Six Degrees rings true to you?
Davis: This idea that you pass by the people in your neighborhood dozens of times over the course of a week, and New Yorkers tend to keep their heads down and not make contact because we live in such close proximity [to each other]. But then sometimes when you do, you realize that the person you're looking for could be living right in your building, and someday you could run into them in the elevator. We're surrounded by great people in the city, and anywhere you turn, if you strike up a conversation you might meet a friend.
TVGuide.com: Have you ever made a new friend the way Laura and Whitney (Bridget Moynahan) did, meeting in a nail salon?
Davis: I haven't frequented a nail salon in a long time. [But I became friends with] somebody that I met in my neighborhood. We saw each other all the time, and then one day we started talking in the deli.
TVGuide.com: If you were in a situation where you knew your friend's fiancé was a real slimeball, like Whitney's...
Davis: I would have to say something! I would not be able to keep quiet. The tricky thing is that it's kind of a new relationship. Do you have the right to bust into somebody's relationship like that? That's what makes that situation interesting and tricky. Obviously, if it's a close friend, you'll know what to do. You'll see what happens with that one this week.
TVGuide.com: I assume that eventually all of the Six Degrees characters will discover how they're connected. Have you ever experienced such a "small world" epiphany?
Davis: That happens to me all the time! Part of it is that people in New York tend to wind up in a certain neighborhood because they want a certain type of lifestyle. Then when you start talking to people, inevitably you find out that someone is a friend of a friend or went to college with you or grew up in the same town.
TVGuide.com: It's so heart-wrenching to watch Laura as she comes to terms with her loss. What are the challenges of playing a widow?
Davis: I wanted to do the role because when 9/11 happened, in the following year there was a lot of press about the moms who were left behind, and all the women who were pregnant at the time [when their husbands were killed]. I was kind of blown away by that idea of how strong these women had to be to embrace life and keep going. I spent a lot of time thinking about these people. I have a husband and children, and it affects me deeply that somebody could be taken away in a second. The idea when we started the show was that we were going to explore this issue of losing someone in Iraq and what that would be like to be left behind. I don't know if we've really gotten to that yet they're busy finding their feet with the show.
TVGuide.com: A lot of the women you've played seem very real and relatable. Is there a character you identify with most?
Davis: In general, I'm attracted to a character that has emotional depth; that's all that I could find in common with them. I choose them because they'll be interesting for me to work on.
TVGuide.com: Where else can we see you this fall?
Davis: There's Infamous, this movie about Truman Capote that is coming out on Friday, which is amazing. I play a society lady who seemingly has everything going for her. Then I'm in The Hoax, a movie with Richard Gere that Lasse Hallström directed.
TVGuide.com: Are you turning down any movies because you're now working on Six Degrees?
Davis: Sure stuff for this fall, but that's OK with me. This is a really lovely job, and I'm so enjoying working a couple of days a week at home, essentially. It's been really wonderful.
For our take on this season's hottest shows and stars, pick up TV Guide's "Fall Hot List" issue, on sale now.
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