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Valerie Cruz interview

Date of publishing: 17th March 2007

Valerie Cruz interview Valerie Cruz was born in July 18, 1976 in Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA. Valerie of Cuban ancestry is an American actress. She attended Florida State University and received a BFA theatre degree. She appeared in films such as The Shooter and Cellular and played Grace Santiago in Nip/Tuck. She has made guest appearances in series such as Grey's Anatomy and Las Vegas. Valerie is now starring as Lt. Connie Murphy in the new SCI FI Channel's The Dresen Files and soon on CW's Hidden Palms. (Excerpts of the mini bio from TV.com)

Gilles Nuytens: Can you tell us who is the woman behind Lt. Connie Murphy?
Valerie Cruz: I am not sure how to respond. I suppose Connie and I are similiar in some ways, and different in many. I respect her and admire her which makes it incredibly enjoyable to play her. I think we are both strong women, independent, loyal, and passionate about our work. We definately differ in our approaches to life, I tend to be a bit more "free form" than my counterpart.

Valerie Cruz interviewGilles Nuytens: How did you get involved in The Dresden Files?
Valerie Cruz: I read the script at the beginning of pilot season, and fell in love with it. I then had to go through a very long casting process like everyone else to get the part. But it was worth it, it has been an incredibly rewarding experience.

Gilles Nuytens: Were you aware of the Jim Butcher books before getting the job?
Valerie Cruz: I was not, although I have since become a huge fan. I picked up Storm Front to do some research on my character not knowing what to expect... and then I was hooked. I have finished the first four novels, which wasn't an easy task as I had an incredibly hectic shooting schedule, as well as reading other non-fiction work about the chicago police and homicide detectives. But I have to say the imagery and the essence of the characters Jim paints makes it easy to devour the books in a couple of sittings. They are hard to put down.

Gilles Nuytens: You and Paul Blackthorne share what you call "The Murphy moments",
you already spoke about the "stop" one in an interview with SCI-FI, can you share some more with us?
Valerie Cruz: Hmmmm.... I don't know what you are talking about. No, honestly though I can't recall anymore off the top of my head. By the end we were all pretty much having Murphy moments.... I guess there was a time when the stunt coordinator told me if I got my stunt right he would give me "the armidillo" and I thought it was some sort of stunt lingo for a job well done, and it turned out the "armidillo" was the the back guard I was wearing for protection during the stunt.

Gilles Nuytens: Murphy and Harry Dresden share a special relationship, in your words how would you describe this relationship?
Valerie Cruz: I think they genuinely care about one another. And it is the type of care and concern that comes from a deep mutual respect. They come at things from opposite sides of the court, but they are playing the same game. They want to protect their city and the people in it. They both have a reverence for what it intrinsically good in people, and an acute awareness of those that are out to destroy the delicate balance of things. They have both walked through fire so to speak, and carry individual idosyncracies and wounds that make them both irritating to one another as well as endearing. If there is what others see as a "spark" between them it isn't some blaise sexual charge between two people...it is the combustability between yin and yang... and that fight for balance. They need each other.

Valerie Cruz interviewGilles Nuytens: What are your expectations in terms of character development for the upcoming episodes?
Valerie Cruz: I think Murphy will become more privy to Dresden's world as she does in the books, and their work and personal relationship will progress from that. And beyond that it is anybodys guess... I am sure our writers will keep us on our toes.

Gilles Nuytens: What do you like the most about playing Murphy?
Valerie Cruz: That is a really tough question, as playing Murphy has been one of the most rewarding roles I have played to date. I guess what makes it such an incredible experience is the fact that she is so dynamic. She is a real person, she's funny at times, sarcastic, serious, sensitive, quiet, loud...she is tough, but she still remains a woman. So in short that she is this super dynamic individual which is hard to come by sometimes in television. TV Characters tend to be written as types, or very two dimensional to fit into a certain genre of programming or style... but not on our show. I really do love her-what she stands for, who she is, even the fact she wears cowboy boots with suits... so asking me to pick one thing is pretty much impossible.

Gilles Nuytens: So far, we don't know much about Murphy, can we expect to see more
into her life and past in upcoming episodes?

Valerie Cruz: Yes definately...you will see a lot more towards the end of this season.

Gilles Nuytens: What would you say to convince someone to watch the show?
Valerie Cruz: It is a great show with first rate actors who really care about what they are doing. And is really different than what tv has to offer right now. It has humour, heart, mystery, magic... and one pretty good looking wizard! What more could you want?

Gilles Nuytens: Being a cop for real, is that something you would have liked to do?
Valerie Cruz: Funny you should ask... I've done ride alongs to prepare for several of the cop roles I have played..including Murphy. I work with Sgt. Mike Diaz of the LAPD, Hollywood Division. And he told me that if I wanted to, I could definately be a cop. And yeah, after hanging out with them, and working with them, I couldn't think of a more noble and kick ass profession than law enforcement. They are a different breed, and the comradrie between cops is unparralled. To be part of something so tight, like a brotherhood, and have it be your job..well it is pretty special. So, yes it has definately crossed mind. And they are absolutely awesome and the whole division watches the show every week at the station! Love those guys!

Valerie Cruz interviewGilles Nuytens: You played in 7 episodes of Nip/Tuck, how would you describe your
experience there?

Valerie Cruz: It was a whirlwind... the show went from 0 to 60 overnight. It was a great experience, and was a great launching board for my career.

Gilles Nuytens: If not an actress, what would you have liked to do?
Valerie Cruz: I have a lot of other interests... paticularly literature and art. Maybe a museum curator. I also like helping people so I have thought of social work at times or psychology. And recently I have been incredibly interested in interior design.

Gilles Nuytens: You're also in the cast of the upcoming series called "Hidden Palms", what can you tell us about this show and your role on it?
Valerie Cruz: Yes, it is slated to air in May. The role is about as opposite Murphy as can be... I go from cowboy boots and suits, to tiny dresses, bikinis, and heels. The show is a coming of age drama for the CW by Kevin Williamson. He is an amazing show creator so to pigeon hole the show into a type is impossible. Some say it has elements of the OC. but it is much darker than that... more like Twin Peaks. The story line surrounds the dark secrets of a group of people living in Palm Springs... and how one teenager's suicide sort of unhinges all of them and the things they have been hiding. I play Maria Nolan, the mother of the young boy who killed himself.

Gilles Nuytens: You play in 2 different brand new shows at the same time but, absolutely not shot in the same location, one is in Toronto and the other in Arizona & California. How do you manage that?
Valerie Cruz: I am not sure how I did it. A lot of flying back and forth, and some really
great producers who managed to juggle the schedule with out pulling their hair out. I was really nervous at one point that I wouldn't be able to do it, but I guess you just take up all of that anxiety, and just use it to jump in, and then you don't stop swimming til you get to the other side of the pool. And it all worked out... I was incredibly lucky to have had such an wonderful opportunity. I am very grateful to Lionsgate and both of the networks, SciFi and CW, and the crew on both shows for making it happen.

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© 2007 - Interview by Gilles Nuytens for The Scifi World
Photos © 2007 SCI FI


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