Television viewers were introduced to the kind of Glenn Close they know and love from movies in Damages. Playing manipulative litigator Patty Hewes, the first episode already implied that she killed a dog to influence her case. Shades of Fatal Attraction, but Close holds out hope that we'll find out she had nothing to do with it.
Close Litigation on Damages
"Are you sure that it's her that did it?" Close asked. "I thought of my mother. I thought, 'Oh, my mother is going to hate this.' I grew up with dogs. We're dog fanatics in my family. But what I love about it, and I don't know the whole story about that and I'm clinging to nothing, that's what it seems. So I don't know if we'll find out more about what actually happened. I'm not sure, but I love the cheeky fact that she's actually a dog lover. She's rescuing the dog. Dogs are definitely a theme and it's kind of a great witty thing on the writer's part with all my baggage of Cruella de Vil and all of that."
Close is only finding out about Patty as the scripts come in. This is still a new experience for her. Though she's done television, most of her work is in film or theater. "I'm used to beginning, middle and end, so the idea of not knowing everything at the beginning, it can be a challenge. And I have great confidence that they'll flag me on things, like if there's behavior in episode three that you find out about in episode seven that they'll let me know about that. But in some ways it's very freeing because you have to just live in the moment, which his basically what we do anyway."
The pace also keeps Close on her toes. "The scary thing for me is sometimes not knowing if I've come up or wondering if I've come up with the most interesting thing because it so fast. You get very tired at the end of the day too. You've done like eight pages and you come to a scene that's just as important as all the other scenes and you just have to keep yourself up. Part of the exercises that I'm learning is to keep yourself awake and with it enough to do justice to what's on the page. I think that it becomes a physical proposition."
Still, the quality of Damages makes it worth the risk. "I have always been seduced by really good writing. Very early on in my career, I made the decision to go where the writing was at a time when I was told, after doing The World According to Garp, if I did anything on television, it might really affect my career in film. It just didn't make sense to me. I kept thinking, 'Well, if the English can do it, why can't we do it?' So that's basically how I have made my choices, what I read on the page. Of course, the chance to do it. So if I get a wonderful script for a film and I get the same kind of reaction, that's what I would do. But to have the chance to do a show like this with this incredibly complex character and be and make it in my own backyard was pretty exciting."
A few episodes into the show, Close has made a few decisions about Patty, but keeps waiting for more info from the writers. "I've kind of resigned myself to that fact. Initially, like Ted [Danson] said, you have a great character and you just play the moment. I have intonations and I've been told a little bit about where she comes from and I think it's really interesting, but I don't know enough about it."
Damages airs Tuesday nights on FX.