PTR Senior Staff Writer
Confession: I came to
Three Emmy® nominations later, clearly I wasn't the only one who enjoyed watching her opposite Gordon Clapp's Detective Greg Medavoy. (Yes, okay, so their relationship was adulterous, but whatever. It was genuine sweetness, genuine goodness, genuine fun to watch, and it provided a much needed balance to the grittiness that was Blue).
“It was an amazing piece of good fortune to land NYPD because, well, it gave me a career rather than just a series of jobs,” says Gail. “You work for years to get noticed, and then when it finally happens it’s almost hard to believe. It’s about luck and timing and tenacity, you know? And talent too, of course. But you have to appreciate it when it’s happening because it can all be gone faster than you blink.”
Gail hits our television screens once again this weekend starring in the inspirational Hallmark Original Movie, Living Out Loud (premieres May 2 at 9 p.m.). And, she's taking on a gritty subject in its own right: a wife and mother battling breast cancer. Portraying Emily Marshall, a high school chorus teacher who suddenly faces a diagnosis of invasive malignancy, she must immediately start a brutal chemotherapy regimen as her husband (Michael Shanks, Stargate) and two kids do their best to lend support through the trauma.
“It isn’t your typical warm and fuzzy Hallmark project, that’s for sure,” Gail says. “What was so inspiring about working [on the project] is how much knowledge I was able to absorb about the disease, the treatment, what the victims and their families have to endure. I learned just how painful it is emotionally for everyone in the breast cancer sufferer’s life. It’s such a huge drain, like a bomb that’s been dropped on everyone’s life.”
And yet, Living Out Loud strives NOT to be about giving up, but instead, persevering through adversity. And The Big C (cancer) doesn't have to mean the end of living life - it can mark a new beginning, as Gail's character discovers in between the chemotherapy treatments. She reconnects with the musical life she had abandoned, which provides her with a strength and fortitude Emily never knew she had.
That said, Gail was surprised at how ultimately uplifting a film with a breast cancer storyline can be. She had worked with Hallmark Channel once before in the 2007 holiday-themed All I Want For Christmas, so “the first thing I thought of when they approached me again was the quality they put into everything."
“Because it’s Hallmark," Gail says, "I knew there would be some sort of silver lining in the story. I like that they aim their stuff to families. God knows we have more than enough downer stuff on the other networks.”
While Living Out Loud represents something of a departure for Gail, she has long been thought of as the go-to actress for made-for-TV star turns, albeit more often as the racy ingénue. She most recently had a recurring role on Desperate Housewives as a married woman having an affair with the teenage son of Felicity Huffman's character. And on Boston Legal, her multi-episode arc as the sexy and beautiful Judge Gloria Weldon, James Spader's love interest and sometime nemesis, garnered much praise.
“People remember me most from NYPD Blue, of course, which was the great miracle in my life,” Gail says. “[But] I’d already been at this acting gig for a long time when I caught on with the show in 1993, yet a lot of people thought I was an overnight success. Even now, sometimes people still think they’re discovering me. It’s OK because I’ve never cared about being the biggest star on the planet, just someone who got to do good work.”
As long as there’s quality behind it, Gail isn't all that particular where or for whom she works. And she doesn't rest on her laurels, either.
“I love working ... [but] there is never a time where I feel like I can sit back and take it easy,” she admits. “There’s always somebody else nearby ready to step right into your shoes. But I’ll tell you what: I don’t have the fear anymore that this may be my last job. I’m a respected working actor, and I feel confident that it’s going to stay that way for a long time.”
Living Out Loud premieres Saturday, May 2 at 9 p.m. on Hallmark Channel. Visit Hallmarkchanel.com for the inside scoop on the film.
Source: Hallmark Syndicate