Rizzoli & Isles‘ star Sasha Alexander is taking a risque turn with a major recurring arc on Season 5 of Showtime dramedy Shameless. She will play Helene, one of Lip’s (Jeremy Allen White) college professors, who’s erudite, confident and sexy with a wild side. The role is definitely new territory for Alexander compared to her more sedate character on TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles as Dr. Maura Isles, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ Chief Medical Examiner, working at the Boston Police Department. Alexander is repped by UTA, Circle of Confusion, and Felker, Toczek, Gellman, Suddleson. Shameless is executive produced by John Wells, Andrew Stearn, Christopher Chulack, Davey Holmes and Nancy Pimental.
You were already acting as a teenager but decided to attend the School of Cinematic Arts to study production. Can you talk about why you made this choice and how this training has impacted your professional career? I was doing theatre in high school and loved it. But wasn’t sure that acting would be my career path. The unpredictable nature of it scared me. When I was 15 I watched David Lynch’s Blue Velvet and I remember wondering how the film was made. I was curious about the filmmaking process, so I thought if I learned more about what happens behind the scenes, it would ultimately be a better road for me. It was a great decision on many levels. First, I didn’t want to be in front of the camera during this time in my life. I wanted to grow and find my voice and a way to express my stories without any judgment or result attached to it. And this is what I got. From all of my documentary classes to making my own shorts on 8mm, I really enjoyed it all. I even acted in some fellow classmates’ short films. My return to acting came after a job for a producer at Sony Pictures. I realized everything in this business is hard and you have to do the thing you love most. And for me, at that time, it was acting. After my USC experience, I was so much more comfortable on set because I knew everyone’s job, I had done it in school. So I respected the hard work that goes into every area of making film and television and I wasn’t as distracted or intimidated being surrounded by so many people. –
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