On the “Bombshell” episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, actress Rose McGowan guest stars as Cassandra Davina, the main attraction at a swingers club where Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Elliot Stabler (Christopher Meloni) go undercover to solve the case of a stabbing victim found in a parking garage. While there, they meet Cassandra’s boyfriend, Doug Loveless (guest star Ryan Hurst), who makes the detectives wonder just how far jealousy can push someone.
During a recent interview, Rose McGowan talked about what drew her to the role, the challenge of playing this complex and layered character, being a fan of SVU, how kind and generous the cast and crew were, and what a treat it was to be included on the list of amazing guest stars that the series has had. She also talked about how she is currently filming the thriller Rosewood Lane, about a radio talk show psychiatrist named Dr. Sonny Blake (McGowan), who moves back to her hometown, where she notices her neighborhood paper boy’s unusual behavior. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
Question: What can you say about Cassandra and who she is?
ROSE McGOWAN: Cassandra is certainly a complex character, and that’s what I liked about her. She had a lot of different layers and certainly is not necessarily what meets the eye. She’s got her own plots going, no matter what. I think she’s always thinking of a different angle.
What actually drew you to this role?
McGOWAN: The first thing that drew me to SVU is the fact that I actually watch it. My sister and I once got sucked into a 10-hour marathon, and watched it for an entire Saturday. I was like, “Wow, what an amazing show!” Plus, they’ve had amazing people on it, such as Maria Bello, Jeremy Irons and Marcia Gay Harden. They have had such an amazing line-up of people that go in and out of it. If that hadn’t been the case, I don’t know that I would have been as attracted to it, but they get such powerful actors. And, Mariska Hargitay and Chris Meloni are so good. To be able to be in that world, that I’ve lost many hours of my life to watching, was definitely a treat.
Were you able to identify with your character?
McGOWAN: I would say there are actually no similarities in my personality or attitude, particularly with my character Cassandra, and that’s what was delightful. I get to be me, 24 hours a day, so I jumped at the chance to play something that is very, very different.
What did you like or dislike about the character?
McGOWAN: I didn’t really dislike anything about her. If you’re playing somebody, you just are them, so you don’t like or dislike them. It’s be whether you like or dislike yourself, I suppose. You can’t really look at it from the outside perspective. She just is.
What was most challenging for you about playing a character within such a sexual world, but that also had network limitations?
McGOWAN: Well, I don’t think the network limitations were the part that was challenging. I believe I was grateful for that. Sometimes they can actually benefit you. (Co-executive producer) Dan Truly is a genius, in the way that he couched it. Once you see the episode, you’ll know that “Bombshell” has a double meaning.
Do you see yourself as a bombshell, in any way?
McGOWAN: When I’m at home in sweatpants, I don’t feel like it. Sometimes I’m dressed up, but I don’t put the name tag on myself. That’s something for somebody else to do.
What it was like to work with Ryan Hurst?
McGOWAN: Ryan was a doll. I really could not have liked him more. He a gentle giant and he was great fun to act with. That was a good stroke of luck for me.
As a fan of the show, what was it like to be on set that first day?
McGOWAN: It’s so odd because you go into the interrogation room and I was like, “Oh, it’s a lot bigger than it looks on television.”
Did being a fan of the show, and the fact that the show has been on for 12 years, make you feel intimidated at all?
McGOWAN: I was. When you walk into somebody else’s family, it’s like coming into a family dinner, but you know only some of the people. But, I was immediately put at ease. I’m not going to lie, I don’t know if I was intimidated as much as a bit scared. I was like, “Oh, I hope everybody’s nice,” because sometimes you don’t luck out. Sometimes people aren’t nice and it’s harder, in some ways, to do your job. They were just really kind and really generous, and that’s not often the case.
How would you compare your time spent on the Law & Order set to that of some of your other projects?
McGOWAN: It’s always interesting, going into another world that’s been set up. Obviously, they’ve been doing this for a long time, so they’re a pretty well-oiled machine. Feeling like you’re a guest in somebody else’s house is both awkward and fun, but it wasn’t awkward at all because everybody was so warm and amazing. Mariska and Chris are great, and the crew is fantastic. It could have certainly been a lot more intimidating than it turned out to be.
Has this inspired you to do more guest appearances on shows, or do you have some films coming up too?
McGOWAN: I’m shooting a film right now, called Rosewood Lane, and I’ll probably mostly continue to do films. I was on Charmed for five years and that was a grind, so I haven’t been quite ready to go back to that yet. But, what’s brilliant about this episode is that I get to go in and work with some knockout actors and then leave.
So, no Charmed reunion then?
The “Bombshell” episode of LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT, guest starring Rose McGowan, airs on NBC on March 23rd