Lexa Doig plays Deann Anderson – a powerhouse producer and the take-no-prisoners of the leader of The Institute of a Higher Mind, Terence played by Michael Vartan – on E!’s original scripted series “The Arrangement.”
For the most part, she’s a ball buster, but as she told Megan Morrison (Christine Evangelista) at the end of last Sunday’s episode that being a woman in showbiz means “you sometimes have to accept things that you don’t like because you have your eye on a bigger prize.”
"Things aren’t always gonna be this way for you and me,” Deann said to Megan. “We’re not always going to be the women behind he men. That’s gonna change. I promise.”
Doig spilled the secrets behind her character’s success and what it takes to be a successful woman in a man’s world.
You play the wife of Terence, Josh’s mentor. He’s very powerful, but you’re not a docile wife. You’re opinionated and keep him in check. How does that dynamic work?
Michael Vartan and I get along very well, and have a not dissimilar dynamic but with much more affection. He’s not a precious guy, which is great. I rather appreciate that because I’m not a particularly precious person either, so we get on and crap talk each other all the time. I think Terence is a very strong personality. I don’t think he’d want to be with someone who wasn’t equally as strong, so I think that’s part of why their marriage is arguably successful. They’ve been married for a very long time. We don’t know exactly how long they’ve been married, but they’ve been married for a very long time.
Can working with your spouse pose problems in a relationship?
Yeah, I think there’s certainly gonna be conflict because Deann’s day job has nothing to do with the Institute. She’s Kyle’s producing partner. She produces all of Kyle’s movies. She takes care of the business of being Kyle West, while Terence takes care of the person Kyle West. They both have their different departments in the company that is Kyle.
Did you know Michael Vartan before joining the show? Had you seen his work in “Alias” or “Never Been Kissed” with Drew Barrymore?
I don’t remember watching ‘Alias,’ but I think I’ve seen ‘Never Been Kissed,’ yeah. I really wanna say I watched ‘The Mists of Avalon.’ I wanna point this out – that he was in that – playing Lancelot. It would embarrass him immensely. It was actually one of my favorite books, so I was really looking forward to off-screen adaptation of it, which is why I watched it. But I wanted to point that out to him multiple times. If you ever want to bring him joy, please mention ‘The Mists of Avalon.’ He’s going to hate me for saying that.
Tell me about the chemistry of the cast off screen.
It’s funny because we’ve all bonded. The thing that is funnily enough the most bonding is the stuff that we’ve had to do outside of work. Like, I rarely get to work with Christine, who I love. I love and adore Christine. I think she’s amazing, but I rarely get to work with her because Deann and [Megan] don’t have a ton of scenes together. I mostly work with Josh and Michael. There was one scene in the entire season that both Carra Patterson and I were in together, but we don’t interact. But I’d love to work with Carra too and Katie Isabelle, but I don’t get the opportunity to do that. I have one scene with Autumn Reeser, who I adore and love to work with, but again, don’t get to work with very often. But again, the stuff we get on better is when we’re actually outside of work. And not even socially, just the stuff that we had to do like promoting the show and stuff.
How is your character on “The Arrangement” different from your character on “Arrow?" How are you and Deann most alike?
Deann is different from me in real life in that she’s far less lazy than I am. She can get way more accomplished during the course of the day than I can. Deann is just very, very committed. And in terms of how she’s different from I am, she’s one of those Machiavellian by any means necessary. The ends justified the means kind of a person, where I’m not like that at all. I’m far more process oriented and of the opinion that the journey for how you get to your goal is equally if not more important than the goal itself. I think that’s one massive way we’re different. There’s a lot of stuff Deann would do that I would never do. I would like to believe I wouldn’t do it all. And I would say the same thing about Talia al Ghul on ‘Arrow.’ She’s not dissimilar, funnily enough, although she’s an assassin. A very, very old supernatural assassin, so that’s how she’s different from Deann. But fundamentally in a lot of ways, they’re the same. I think the biggest difference maybe between Deann and Talia is that dean feels like she has to do everything herself. If you want something done right, you’ve gotta do it yourself. But Talia very much has the mentality like, ‘Why would I do for myself what I can get other people to do for me?’
Your character seems to be up to something shady at the moment. What can you tell us about what’s happening with Annika?
Vartan and I talked about this. In Terence and Deann’s marriage, obviously they have an agreement in terms of extra-marital activities; let’s just put it that way. It’s not even necessarily super shady what Deann is up to with Annika. There’s more to Annika than being this person who’s managed to break up Megan and Nick. Breaking up Megan and Nick was part of the plan of Deann. Deann absolutely set that one up. Where that goes is gonna be kind of interesting.
What can we expect in the coming episodes?
Expect a lot of WTF moments. There’s definitely some where you kind of just go, ‘Whaaat?’ Even I was reading the scripts going, ‘Whaaat!?’ theres a few moments where there’s a couple of double takes you’re gonna need to do. Like you’ll go, ‘What just happened?!’
Do you think contracted marriages are prominent in the entertainment industry? Have you ever witnessed it firsthand?
I don’t know that contracted marriages are prominent in the entertainment industry because I don’t live in Los Angeles, and I never really have and I don’t want to live there. I’m Canada based, which is still part of the entertainment industry, but for the most part, it’s kind of a little bit more of a satellite. A lot of people don’t realize this about big celebrities – there’s machinery that goes into creating them. It’s not even just the person. When they become a commodity and they become a brand, there’s a whole army of people behind the scenes. You used to be able to see it a little bit more clearly when somebody would have a breakout role in something, and then suddenly you look behind the scenes and you realize, oh they have a change in representation, oh now they have a publicist, OK now they’re on the cover of this magazine, now they’re doing a rom-com, now they’re on the cover of Vanity Fair… Like there was machinery that goes into creating these stars. It doesn’t just happen, and that’s the fascinating thing. When you peak behind the curtain, what we see as consumers of this media and of the entertainment industry is sort of this shiny, glossy finished product. But when you peek behind the curtain, you get to see how the sausage is made. There’s no accidents. People don’t literally get plucked out of security and suddenly become famous. There’s a whole lot of work and planning and thought and strategizing that goes into it. There’s so much of that.
For me, being outside of that… The jobs I get are the jobs I do because I’ve got a mortgage to pay. It’s fascinating to be a part of this world. But contract relationships and contract marriages have been around since the studio days. So in terms of now, part of the glossy, shiny, finished product is having the consumers believe that this is all just this happened and that happened. The machinery is a little bit more candescent. So does it exist? I have no idea. Probably.
What do you think about all the buzz the series being loosely based on Tom Cruise and Scientology?
No, it’s not, and the reason I say that is because I absolutely understand where people would think that Jonathan may have been inspired by that kind of idea, but it all starts with a what if. None of us know Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, so is it based on it? No, because I have no idea what their story is. We don’t know them. We don’t run in those circles.