As Holly Hunter's churchgoing confidante on the gritty-yet-spiritual Saving Grace (Mondays at 10 pm/ET), Laura San Giacomo gives notice that TNT's uncompromising new drama is no one-woman show. We spoke with the former Just Shoot Me star, who reflected on her career, working with Hunter and matters of faith.
TVGuide.com: Do you believe in angels? Do you believe in God?
Laura San Giacomo: [Laughs] Well, it's certainly something I've had to examine over the last couple of months. I've always been kind of a spiritual person, but I've really had to focus a lot on God. Rhetta believes in God and is a Catholic and I was raised Catholic so I understand that world. So I've just been reading lots of things about Catholicism. Lots of books by scientists who believe in God. Also a bit of watching the Colin Hawkins debate that was going on.... It's been a really interesting journey for me. I'm feeling like we're all connected in some way, that there's some kind of higher power, and I acknowledge the coincidence in the circles and the mystery of life.
TVGuide.com: You were in Once Around with Holly — another Carnegie Mellon alum. Did you two stay in touch over the years?
San Giacomo: We've seen each other a couple of times over the years and then reconnected for this, and it's been great. We have a really great working relationship.
TVGuide.com: Rhetta takes Grace's guardian angel, and religion, seriously. Can you relate to her devotion?
San Giacomo: I love that you used the word "devotion." Rhetta has faith in everything. She has faith in all different ways. Science proves her faith and she has faith in science, too. She and Grace dovetail sort of nicely. The yin and the yang. And Rhetta is also really trustworthy to and for Grace. And Grace is, like, to me and Rhetta, this fiery sun, and to be in her orbit is just wonderful. You just get a little scorched by it. Rhetta believes in Grace. She knows her to the bone. And I think we've all had friends who have been in trouble or we've been in trouble and people have believed in us.
TVGuide.com: And Holly's so good at letting rip and having that energy fly in all directions....
San Giacomo: Yeah, and yet there's something about her. You always love her, you always want her to be OK. You always want to protect her. As an audience member, you love her and you want her to be OK and that works so well for this character because she'll really let you in. You can really get into her orbit and watch her and feel for her.
TVGuide.com: In the late '80s, Sex Lies and Videotape was a seminal look at sexual mores. You played Andie MacDowell's sister in the film, who had an affair with James Spader. In retrospect, what do you think the film revealed about sex and women?
San Giacomo: Oh my gosh. I don't know. Maybe it was just like another chapter after the sexual revolution. It just showed the two sides of the coin of female sexuality with Anne and Cynthia. I always think about that film as being about lying about relationships through the medium of sexuality.
TVGuide.com: On TV lately there seems to be a big demand for series featuring strong women over 40. Why do you think this is?
San Giacomo: It's so interesting. I don't study TV so I don't know except that people in positions of power at studios are buying material that people want to see. The market always drives it, right? Is it that they want more leeway to tell broader stories? It seems like maybe it's all of those things, but I don't know. But people are responding.
TVGuide.com: Speaking of TV, you had a great run as the star of Just Shoot Me. Are there any sitcoms these days that you feel have the same ensemble chemistry?
San Giacomo: Certainly on The Office. Those people must be having the most fun on TV right now. It's great to sit around all day and make each other laugh as an occupational hazard. It's just fabulous. And we had a blast [on Just Shoot Me]!
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