Mary Lynn Rajskub interview
As Chloe in 24, Mary Lynn Rajskub has survived huge numbers of cast members that have either turned traitor or died at the hands of insurgents. Able to summon absolutely anything to her super-splendid computer workstation, she has become Jack Bauer’s (Kiefer Sutherland) right-hand woman.
Rajskub (pronounced rice cub) began her professional life as part of comedy duo, Girls’ Guitar Club (featured in The Anniversary Party), before turning to acting. Regular roles in The Larry Sanders Show and Veronica’s Closet (also as a Chloe) followed, as well as small parts in films as diverse as Magnolia, Storytelling, Road Trip and Sweet Home Alabama. Recently she played a girl who believes she’s been abducted by aliens in Greg Araki’s Mysterious Skin, and Harrison Ford’s plucky secretary in Firewall.
LOVEFiLM: By the laws of 24, Chloe must be on borrowed time?
Mary Lynn Rajskub: What did you say? You mean my character might die? Are you trying to make me cry?
LF: No, but now everyone loves Chloe, that makes her a target, right? Does it bother you that she could go at any moment?
MLR: No, I don't think about that. Well, that's not honest. Actually I was just going to be like: “I don't care, I like feeling that.” But the truth of it is, I guess I feel they won't kill me, and so I will probably be very upset if they do. My ego, I'm like, “they can't kill Chloe. Come on.” But at the very beginning of this season it was the biggest shock to people that they killed off two characters - so it would be very stupid to think that it couldn't happen. It could happen any time.
LF: Do you think knowing they might bump Chloe off makes you work harder?
MLR: What, if I'm really good they won't kill me?
LF: No, more like there may only be so much time left to show certain sides of Chloe.
MLR: Well, it’s definitely a challenge finding different ways for her to be so intense. I mean - the shit is always hitting the fan. It’s always a high alert level – you have to try to find different variations.
LF: Do you think she might actually find love this season? We all know she has a huge crush on Jack.
MLR: Let me just tell you that she gets completely naked by the end of this year and I'm not going to say who with.
MLR: Completely. With pasties.
LF: Well I guess we’ve already seen her in her dressing-gown this season…
MLR: Oh no! Was my robe falling off my shoulder?
LF: It showed a more vulnerable side of her. She’s usually so by the book
MLR: I actually think that her character kind of mirrors how I am in my own life. I don't know if that is sad or really cool. But I've always played like a weirdo or someone really uptight.
LF: Do you think Chloe is a role model for nerdy girls all over the world?
MLR: Yeah, I think that is kind of the thing of it mirroring me in real life. When I started playing her I really didn't think that I was like that but now I think I am like, kind of completely awkward.
LF: So you’re not a computer geek for real?
MLR: No, I just found out about Google. I was like, "Wow, this Google thing is kind of cool. You put anything in there and it looks for it." And I don't know how to turn my TV on. That’s sad, right?
LF: Hmm. What sort of fan mail do you get?
MLR: You know I don't really have any that I know of. And if I have it I don't know where it is so I don't get it.
LF: You don't get it?
MLR: Someone is keeping it from me. I think there is a vault but I don't know where it is. There is a lot of Internet stuff that my mother reads.
LF: Has it been easy to move from comedy to drama?
MLR: I see it as the same thing. And though I don’t really play it for comedy, I think that Chloe is a very funny character - she takes herself so seriously. And that’s what I love - the fact that you can find these little weird comedic things on a show like 24. That makes me really happy.
LF: With all the plot lines being so intense do you try to lighten up the atmosphere on set?
MLR: The atmosphere can be surprisingly silly. There is a lot of technical stuff that you have to say and by your sixth hour it can get a little ridiculous. We play a lot of strip craps out in the alley.
LF: A lot of what?
MLR: Strip craps. You know, gambling.
LF: For money?
MLR: Yeah, we bet in between scenes. Oh, and then there’s the chicken fights - with real chickens. Fighting to their death.