By Heath Daniels
Originally published on Advocate.com July 18 2012 1:27 PM ET
Jamie-Lynn Sigler spent six seasons playing Meadow Soprano on HBO’s seminal mob drama, The Sopranos. The “gold star” straight girl, with tons of gay friends, continues to seek out complicated characters; playing a lesbian who marries her gay best friend to save him from deportation in the new romantic drama, I Do. Sigler tells The Advocateabout her new film, why she wanted to play a lesbian, and what she’d love to do with her best friend Lance Bass.
The Advocate: What was the first thing that appealed to you about the script for I Do and the character you play, Ali?
Jamie-Lynn Sigler: First of all, I loved the story. I loved the message that it had. I thought all these characters were really complicated and heavily flawed but they were all coming from the same place of wanting love and wanting connection. Ali was somebody that had a really hard time communicating and that’s not a character that I’ve ever gotten to play before. It was an inviting challenge for me to play somebody so different than who I am. She is somebody that has a few people in her life that she’s comfortable with and will open up to and everyone else she just doesn’t know how. [I Dodirector] Glenn [Gaylord] and I worked for a really long time on giving her this backstory and it was fun to create her with him.
Some viewers, particularly lesbians, will be a bit confused by your character. Ali is a lesbian who appears to be in love with, and lust over her gay best friend, Jack. What do you think Ali’s intentions are when she agrees to marry Jack?
She is not in lust with him. She loves him and he is one of those people she trusts in her life. She’s fresh out of a relationship and he caught her at a vulnerable moment. I think she would have done anything for him as a friend, wanting to help him and needing him near. The thought of him being deported was devastating to her. I think it was more that he hadn’t been in a relationship for their entire friendship; he never really had a serious boyfriend. So I think it was more, not that she was in love with him, but that she didn’t know how to deal with him having someone that was more important than her.
You and I Do co-star David W. Ross play best friends. Did you hang out prior to shooting?
We met for coffee the first time and were immediately friends. Gossiping, talking about mutual friends that we had and we went to movies. It was around Halloween so we went and bought pumpkins and went to my friend’s house and carved pumpkins. We spent a lot of time together before we started filming. We had a great rapport and were super comfortable with each other by the time the cameras were rolling.
Ali describes herself as a “gold star lesbian,” meaning she’s never had sex with a man. Are you a gold star straight woman?
[Laughs] I am a gold star straight woman.
You have played the daughter of a mob boss on The Sopranos, Hollywood Madame Heidi Fleiss (in the TV Movie, Call Me: The Rise and Fall of Heidi Fleiss), and yourself on Entourage. Which was the bigger acting challenge?
I would say Heidi Fleiss. I was 20 years old. I had two weeks notice that I was gonna play the part. I was so naïve that I didn’t even have an acting coach back then. I just jumped right in and was trying to study to play somebody that was so notorious. [I was] at such a young age when sex was still kinda new to me and I’m playing somebody that supposedly knows everything about it. It was a big challenge. I loved it, but I think that was the hardest.
Many straight women get crushes on their gay male friends. Has that ever happened to you?
Strangely enough it hasn’t. I have a ton of gay male friends and all of them are incredibly good looking but, funny enough, no. I’ve been able to keep it strictly platonic with them.
Your good friend Lance Bass’ documentary, Mississippi: I Am, is also playing at OutFest this year. The climate for gay male celebrities certainly has evolved since Lance came out in 2006. Did he seek your advice at all prior to making that announcement?
It was a process he needed to go through. I don’t really want to speak for him, but from my side-as his friend-we were all so respectful of how he needed to go through things. I think it was very unfortunate that others felt they needed to out him first. I think it’s very unfair, especially coming from other gay men who know that sometimes it can be a difficult thing. I think it was selfish of other people to feel that Lance owed it to them. Obviously, everything has worked out fine but it hurt me to see that it was difficult for him that other people went about things the way that they did.
Is he a happier now that he is publicly out?
Absolutely, a veil was lifted. He’s such a light and now he can share it with everybody else and I think that’s fantastic.
You and Lance have both appeared on Broadway [Sigler in Beauty and the Beast, Bass in Hairspray]. Would you be interested in doing a musical with Lance?
Oh my God, that would be a dream! I would love to do a musical again and especially if he was part of it. We would have the best time ever.
I Do screens at L.A.’s Ford Amphitheatre tonight at 8:30 p.m. For more information go to Outfest.org. Watch the trailer below.