Rachael Leigh Cook Talks Perception Finale, LeVar Burton, and Husband Daniel Gillies — Exclusive
How much ‘90s nostalgia can you fit into one show? TNT sure has tried. Wetpaint Entertainment recently chatted with Rachael Leigh Cook, the era’s it-girl (She’s All That, The Baby-Sitters Club) and current star of the network’s hit crime drama Perception. We got her to dish about her Perception co-stars, all who became famous during the decade of grunge, overalls, and the Spice Girls.
For three seasons, Rachael has appeared as kickass FBI agent Kate Moretti, working alongside the show’s protagonist, an eccentric neurophysicist portrayed by none other than Will Truman himself, Eric McCormack. Throw in another love interest played by Party of Five alum Scott Wolf and recurring star LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow), and this is like ‘90s Mad Libs!
Read on for more about her star-studded cast, the drama-filled Season 3 summer finale, and whether she and husband Daniel Gillies would ever do a Perception-The Originals cross-over.
Wetpaint Entertainment: What’s your favorite part about playing Kate Moretti? How close is she to your real personality?
Rachael Leigh Cook: She commands and gets a whole lot of respect. She’s a s—t kicker and she usually gets her man at the end of the day. That’s not my real life. I’m more Midwestern and retiring and that’s why she’s so much fun to play. I’ve ended up learning something from playing the character and I’ve sort of taken that into my own life.
Your relationship with Scott Wolf’s character Donnie on the show is really interesting. What’s your chemistry like in real life? Did you know each other from back in the day?
We had met before. We both had this very, very out there hairdresser for a spell. We knew each other peripherally through him; I think I went to a party at Scott’s house one time. Honestly, I hadn’t seen him since. But Scott and I personally get along so well, maybe because we did come up around the same time and have so many similar experiences. I think our values are really similar. I just love him and his wife, and I hope to see a lot more of him outside of work, too.
LeVar Burton has both starred on the show and directed episodes, including the summer finale. What’s it like working with him?
He was absolutely fantastic to work for. When Eric McCormack directed an episode I had the same feeling, which was just so grateful to be working for a fellow actor. They truly understand what you want to get at in a scene. They’re so performance-oriented; they really have your back in that sense. LeVar really nurtured me through what were difficult episodes for my character. I was so grateful that he had my back. I’d love to work for him again.
Do you have any dream guest stars?
I think the most fun roles are the people that get to play Eric’s hallucinations. I have to actively not act with those people, which is too bad. I can’t remember which role it was but I remember thinking that I wished Ally Sheedy was available for it. She played my mom in something many years ago. I think she’s exceptional. I’d love to work with her again.
Can you tease the summer finale a bit for us? What can we expect?
This episode really takes the drama to the hills. Kate’s loyalty to Donnie is swiftly called into question. Donnie’s character is really called into question again — but not for all of the reasons that you might think. It’s a case that ends up bonding Kate, Donnie, and Daniel Pierce (Eric McCormack) together more firmly than ever before.
You and your husband Daniel work together a lot behind the scenes. Would you ever do something on-screen together — perhaps a guest spot on The Originals?
Right now he works five days a week here in Toronto on a show called Saving Hope, and then he works weekends in Atlanta on The Originals. I don’t know if I could make that work but I thinkPerception would be really lucky to have him. It’s funny, one of our writers said that they really wanted Daniel to play Eric’s hallucination of the Devil. I think that would have been fantastic because Daniel knows how to do that amiable yet menacing thing better than anything.
The Perceptionsummer finale airs tonight, August 19, at 10 p.m. ET on TNT. Will you be watching? What do you hope happens? Sound off in the comments below.