Bethany Joy Lenz, best known for her role as Hailey James Scott on One Tree Hill, is returning to TV after a year-long hiatus. When One Tree Hill ended in mid 2012, Joy took a break from acting to spend time with her daughter. The legal debate around her divorce put her career on hold, but when everything subsided she was able to get back into the groove of things.
One Tree Hill lasted nine seasons, which required Joy to dedicate nine years of her life to The CW drama. During her “comeback” Joy decided to concentrate on projects that were “strategically designed to move her career in a direction that was not quite the same thing as she was doing on One Tree Hill.”
Auditions for the show came up and Joy told her manager she wanted to jump into sitcom work and get her feet wet, to see if she still enjoyed it. “Lucky me, I won the job” she exclaimed. Cue in her first comedy sitcom in about eleven years.
Joy appeared on Men at Work, starring Danny Masterson of That 70’s Show. The episode, The Pioneer, aired on May 9, 2013 where Joy played Meg, a single mother and love interest for Tyler (played by Michael Cassidy).
“The first three days, the first two and a half days, were really difficult for me because I haven’t done comedy in a really long time.” In addition, Joy had to face the difficulty of appearing on an unfamiliar set as a guest star.
“Walking back onto a completely new set which didn’t feel like home and I didn’t feel the comforts that you feel after you’ve been on a series for ten years and you know everyone there. I was walking on a brand new set desperately hoping to contribute something to this great show that I really respected”
So what did help Joy during the filming? All the cute guys, she joked. In reality she admitted it was all about loosening up and finding energy from the audience. “I have a tendency to hold back a little at first, to be respectful to the environment and figure out where I fit in. Maybe I should talk to my therapist about that. Maybe I need to be more present and bring more to the table. ”
One of Joy’s weakest points as an artist is comedy improv, she admitted. “I could do drama improv with no problem. When people expect me to be funny, and their looking at me like boom make a joke! I kind of freeze up like Ah, I can’t handle the pressure. So that was challenging for me, which is another reason I really wanted to do it.”
Joy admits that on the set of OTH there wasn’t much improv, but she joked that the writers would probably disagree with her as she never stuck to the script and was always changing the lines. “I was probably the bane of their existence for ten years.”
At first the situation was stressful but than Joy admitted, feeling the audience’s energy and hearing the immediate laugh was really helpful. Just like anyone else, Joy recalls coaching herself through the process. “Thank God they like me. I was funny. Oh good. It’s working.” Joy exclaimed.
She might be trying to break out of the mold, but that doesn’t mean she’s changing her career to comedy. After her appearance on Men At Work, Joy will continue honing her drama skills on the final season (8) of Dexter. She explains the decision to be on the show was a very rash, but obvious one. “Will you be on Dexter” they asked, to which Joy replied, “Uh yes, I will.”
Q) So how did you get involved with the episode?
A) I took some time off when I finished One Tree Hill and spent some time at home I decided to move out to L.A. and just really continue working which is something I was on the fence about. Especially since I’ve had my daughter. So now that I decided to move back to L.A. and so after some projects that were strategically designed to move my career in a direction that was not quite just doing the same thing as I was doing in One Tree Hill, which I loved doing, but I wanted to explore some parts of my abilities as an artist that I haven’t done in a long time. Especially comedy since I started doing comedy when I was young and doing sitcoms and then I stopped for a long time doing drama. Because I was doing drama. And so when Men at Work was one of the auditions that came up and I told my manager I really, really want to get this because I would have the opportunity to jump into some sitcom work again and get my feet wet and see how that feels. And see if I still enjoy it. And lucky me I won the job.
Q) What a great comedy to be on!
A) Yes it’s a great set. It was a great show. I had seen a couple of episodes and I just really thought this would be such a perfect place for me to do my comedy experiment and see if it works. And I hope it did. I had a great time.
Q) What did you find the most difficult aspect about filming the show? There’s so many good looking men.
A) The first three days, the first two and a half days were really difficult for me because, like I said I hadn’t done comedy in a long – especially sitcoms. A very, very long time probably ten or eleven years. And walking back onto a completely new set that didn’t feel like home to me, it didn’t feel the comforts that you feel after you’ve been on a series for ten years and you know everyone there. It was a completely new environment and I have so much respect for artist’s environment and everybody does it differently. And so not only was I walking on to a brand new set trying to – desperately hoping that I would be able to really contribute something to this show that I respected but also trying to navigate everyone’s energy and everyone’s vibe and like how does everybody work here. That’s probably the best way to answer that question. I think the first few days were just difficult in getting my feet wet.
Q) Are there any funny moments during filming where you just couldn’t keep a straight face?
A) Yes I think for me that happened when we we’re filming live because everything is so unpredictable. After the first few takes you really start listening out and then you find your energy with the audience and I could really tell the guys were so used to this and they really had their own routine with the audience and with each other. There wasn’t a particular story of a moment but there were lots of little things that happened throughout the filming that were surprising and fun.
Q) I was wondering when you got the job did they tell you anything particularly about your role to help you out or just give you the script?
A) I pretty much just got the script. That’s something that like I was saying before, every environment is different. Everyone involved from producers to the other actors are very collaborative on the character work and on wanting to get facts, story and information, but I’m not sure that in TV there’s a lot of time for that. I think it’s more you get what’s on the page. The writers are pretty clear about the character and what they want to say and who they want you to be. In terms of the producing and directing they were great about steering me. If there was something in particular they wanted they’d just come up to me and talk to me about it and we’d make an adjustment. And the writers are always rewriting especially on sitcoms. There constantly rewriting even the moment you’re filming they rewrite something.
Q) Danny Masterson said they were kind of flexible there about like if you wanted to try out new jokes and stuff. Did you do that kind of thing?
A) Oh no I didn’t. If I had been there for maybe a few episodes and was really comfortable — I think that’s another thing about coming into someone else’s set, someone else’s show is that you or I have a tendency to hold back a little bit first because – I don’t know. I just want to be respectful of the environment and let everybody else kind of do their thing and figure where I fit in. Maybe that’s something I need to talk to my therapist about. Maybe I need to be more present and bring more to the table. I don’t know.
Q) So you played a mother on One Tree Hill for quite some time and then I understand that on Men at Work you’re also playing a mother. How does it differ from being a mother in real life to playing one on screen and do you feel more prepared for this role now after One Tree Hill and your own child?
A) Well I think if there had been a lot real intense interaction with the kids that the answer might be yes, but there was no interaction. There were no actual kid scenes in the episodes. It was more adult shenanigans. I’m not sure that an actress who is not a mother would be able to contribute in her own way just as much. But I did play a mom on One Tree Hill and that did help I think having my own child. I’ve always had a real heart for kids and I love children. So I don’t know maybe it did.
Q) And then you said it was kind of a more comedy based show than you’ve done on One Tree Hill. How is it different working on a set that’s live and interacting with an audience more than kind of the drama One Tree Hill set?
A) I think one of my weakest points as an artist is comedy impulse. I can do dramatic with no problem but comedy, I’m funny but not — like I’m funny in my real life with my friends, people that are expecting me to be funny and they’re looking to me like boom make a joke! I kind of freeze up but I’m like “Ah I can’t handle the pressure!” So that was challenging for me, which is another reason why I really wanted to do it. There’s only one way to get better at something and that’s just to do it. That’s probably how it was different for me. I was just used to One Tree Hill there’s not a lot of improvisation. Well I’m sure the writers would disagree with me about that because I was constantly changing the lines. I was probably the bane of their existence for ten years. They never said that, but yes I think that would probably be the major difference and just being in front of a live audience and you’re feeling energy from them. And that’s what’s so great for comedy is you get to hear the immediate laugh and you feel relieved like oh God. Thank God they like me. It was funny. Oh good. It’s working.
Q) You’re weren’t the only guest star on that episode. You also had Ben McKenzie there. Did having someone else there who was dealing with the same issues you were as far as the new set working with new people, did that help at all? Did you enjoy interacting with him?
A) I did! He was a lovely person. He was very funny. I think he also is close friends with one or a few of the guys on the show and so they already had a rapport and there was a comfort level there to just sort of spitball ideas and play. And he was great, and it did help. I think it was encouraging for me to see another quote unquote dramatic actor on the show. He was very funny. He was really impressed with his instincts.
Q) You were talking so much about how you were really trying to get into comedy, but it looks like coming up you’re going to be in a much more dramatic role on Dexter. I’m just curious to see or hear more about how that decision came along, too.
A) Yes well I should clarify. Not trying to change my career into a comedy career. I just want to be able to explore. As an artist, as an actor we have so many different sides and so many different ways of expressing ourselves especially after one thing for so long. Sometimes it just feels really good to just kind of break out of that mode for a while. But yes the decision of Dexter was “Will you be on Dexter?” Yes I will. So it’s not hard at all.
Q) I know you got your start on soaps and the state of soaps these days is kind of a flux and now they’re starting to move to cable or online, stuff like that. What do you think about that? Do you think that’s a smart move?
A) What a great question! I’ve got so much nostalgia around soaps. I mean I would come home from school when I was a kid and my mom had All My Children on and I watched All My Children for years and years. I don’t know how many of you guys watched that show, but like I was watching it when Natalie was thrown down the well by her crazy sister Janet. It makes me really sad that they’re kind of dwindling and disappearing. The bell shows, he’s really figured them out Bold & Young & the Restless. Yes, maybe it will jump over to cable. I don’t know I mean I guess programming has to evolve but now we have what nine thousand channels? The average person probably has about five hundred. But it’s still a lot and it’s not like it used to be when the soaps were on and we were kids and we had to walk up to the TV and turn a dial and you had like a channel. I think that now with Reality TV and people are so much less apt to sit and follow a story line and just to have noise on in the background, which is disheartening, disillusioning for me regarding our culture because I don’t know.
Q) Did it really kind of teach you the ropes?
A) Oh yes. Yes it really, really, really did. I would recommended it to most young actors. It’s like a boot camp for actors and it really hawed my dramatic improve skill. Because you’re getting, sometimes fifteen to thirty pages of dialogue a day that you have to learn. Some of people – a lot of actors would sit and they prepare for days in advance. I got into the habit of sitting in the hair chair and learning thirty pages of dialogue in an hour and a half. That’s why when I got up to set of course I wasn’t going to get all the lines right. I do have a photographic memory so that helps me, but I couldn’t get a line that you just kind of go with the feeling of the scene and just how it feels. And that helped so much to be able to be in touch with your instincts as an actor. With soaps there’s so many wonderful theatre actors and really well-trained actors in that feel that you can play with and who are prepared to play off of you. And there’s not kind of the same pressure that I have found in Prime Time to get it exactly right. There’s a lot more room to play and its fun. I really loved it. I loved being on a Soap.
DexterDaily.com posted the first picture of Joy filming “Dexter”:
Few weeks back it was officially announced that ‘One Tree Hill’ star, Bethany Joy Lenz will be joining the cast for a recurring role. Dexter was filming around E 2nd St and E Marina Dr, Long Beach and thanks to a fan, we have a first look at her during filming. Skip the jump to view a set photo from yesterday, April 17.
Click here to see the picture.
“Men at Work”: “One Tree Hill” star Bethany Joy Lenz makes her return to TV in the May 9 episode as a single mom who catches the eye of Tyler (Michael Cassidy) in a grocery store. On their first date, Tyler bonds with her super cool ex-husband … played by Cassidy’s former “The O.C.” co-star Ben McKenzie. They continue to bond on the second date. It’s possible that they bond a little bit too much.
One Tree Hill fans, rejoice! And be a little scared. TV Guide Magazine has learned exclusively that the fabulous OTH vet Bethany Joy Lenz will be recurring on Dexter’s eighth season, which is set to premiere on June 30 at 9/8c.
Described as “an attractive former finance executive looking for a quieter life,” Lenz’s character, Cassie, is slated to debut in the season’s fourth episode and will wind up moving in next door to Dexter. While it’s doubtful she will actually find life so close to a serial killer to be peaceful, we have a sneaking suspicion that her arrival will shake things up for Dex as he and Deb continue to pass themselves off as normal, non-homicidal, slightly-incestuous siblings.
Episode Title: Tyler the Pioneer
Date: May 9, 2013 10/9c
Tyler decides to be adventurous and date a woman with kids. Meanwhile, Neal, Gibbs and Milo fight over an office that has just been vacated at work.
Shorty Award announced on their official blog page the finalists from this year and Bethany Joy Lenz is one of them!
The Shorty Awards honor the best people and organizations producing real-time short content across Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, and Foursquare. Shorty Awards Supervising Producer Natan Edelberg joined HuffPost Live Tuesday to unveil the finalists for this year’s Shorty Awards with host Josh Zepps. The full list of nominees appears below.
On Monday, April 8th at 7:30pm EST, tune in to ShortyAwards.com to see who the best content producers are on Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube, Quora, Pinterest and more!
Vox Populi: Cid Não Salvo
Brother Eli Soriano
Bethany Joy Lenz
Klaire de Lys
Blog do Jotacê
It was co-hosted by Carrie Keagan from VH1’s “Big Morning Buzz Live” and radio personality Trey Morgan from Z100 and it featured performances by such artists as Bethany Joy Lenz, Thomas Ian Nicholas and many special guests such as Matthew Perryman Jones, Alexis Babini, among others.
Due to the mass destruction derived from Hurricane Sandy that affected the East Coast, the proceeds from this year’s event went to the Hurricane Relief Fund.
According to Alaina Bendi, partner of BTF Concerts, she remarked, “Last night’s concert was another incredible night to remember. Despite the conditions we’ve been hit with following Hurricane Sandy, people came from all over to see the show. We were worried that we couldn’t have the show because the power was still out at the venue on Friday but we were hopeful that we would have power back in time for the show. Both Bethany Joy Lenz and Thomas Ian Nicholas knew about the power situation and flew out from Los Angeles anyway, hopeful that we would be okay. Thomas called me Friday evening and said ‘breathe. One way or another, this show will happen tomorrow.’ The generosity, understanding and patience from the artists was completely heartwarming.”
Bendi continued, “The event was supposed to support the Fender Music Foundation but given the current state we were in with the aftermath of the hurricane, we decided to donate to the Hurricane Relief Fund. We auctioned off a custom signed baseball jersey that Thomas Ian Nicholas wore when he threw the first pitch at Wrigley Field last year, signed posters and raised even more money for the cause by streaming the show worldwide online. The performances were outstanding and Bethany Joy Lenz and Wakey! Wakey! surprised the crowd with a surprise duet and we also had ‘One Tree Hill’s’ James Lafferty and ‘666 Park Avenue’ star Robert Buckley make a surprise appearance on stage. Our hosts were incredibly entertaining and really got the crowd going. We did a lot of damage control to keep the show going because it would have been impossible to cancel but in the end, the show could not have been more amazing and we thank everyone that came out.”
For more information on this year’s “Rock the Schools” show and for future events, check out their official website.
[LOS ANGELES] We would like to thank actress Bethany Joy Lenz for spreading joy to the courageous kids fighting cancer at Mattel Children’s Hospital (UCLA) today. We received this wonderful note from one of the Child Life Specialists after you left,
“I’d like you to know that Jose was playing with the jar all afternoon until he finally went to surgery. It couldn’t have come at a better time as he was going stir crazy – he has been on total bed rest for 3 days so you can imagine how hard that is for a 9 year old. One of our teens whom wasn’t feeling up to a visit just opened one of the JoyJars we dropped off, and as he emptied the jar looking at each item he stated excitedly, “I can keep this? Really!” And finally, Vivian was completely in awe of Joy, her visit and the Jar distracted her from her fears and pain. Please express our gratitude to Bethany “Joy” who brought her own personal jar of joy and kindness. She was wonderful with the children. We are so appreciative of community friends who share our passion in giving kids a chance to play and have a normal experience. And we will be happy to spread Jessie’s inspiration to Never Ever Give Up!”
Thank you again Bethany for a great day!