DESIGNATED SURVIVOR: Julie White Had a 'Freaking Blast' Portraying 'Pistol' Lorraine Zimmer - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR: Julie White Had a ‘Freaking Blast’ Portraying ‘Pistol’ Lorraine Zimmer

June 8, 2019 by  

Julie White

Julie White, with Kal Pen and Italia Ricci, in DESIGNATED SURVIVOR season 3. (Credit: Netflix)

Julie White is having a very, very big week.

In addition to actress returning to television with Netflix’s DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, White is also nominated for a Tony—her third—for “Gary: A Sequel to Titus Andronicus.” (White previously won Best Actress in a Play for 2007’s “The Little Dog Laughed”; she also got a Best Featured Actress in a Play nod for 2015’s “Airline Highway.”)

“It’s not my first time at the rodeo; I am kind of familiar with it,” she says with a laugh. “There’s a lot of logistics involved. You want to publicize your show as much as possible, which means going to dinner events and cocktail parties and interviews…it’s kind of fun and glamorous out of your every work day life. But you do have to go do the show every night!”

As if that wasn’t enough, White is also doing voice over work on Netflix’s BIG MOUTH, playing the mother of Andrew Rannells’ Matthew.

On DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, White has her hands full as Lorraine Zimmer, the woman behind Kirkman’s (Kiefer Sutherland) re-election campaign. She breaks down what brought her to the series, working with Sutherland, and more…

You’re no stranger to television, and you’ve even worked with new DESIGNATED SUVIVOR boss Neal Baer on LAW & ORDER: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT in the past. But how did you actually come to be on the series?
Julie White: They asked! They asked me to do it back in September and sent me only the first episode. But when I put together it was Neal, I wasn’t necessarily thinking of SVU: his cousin, the fabulous singer-songwriter Jill Sobule, is a dear friend of mine. So I was like, if he’s related to Jill, he must be good. I read the one script and thought Lorraine Zimmer is kind of a pistol, and I’ll enjoy playing her. And it turned out to be a freaking blast.

You can never tell when things start out how they’re going to be. How things are going to turn out, how you’re going to mesh with the other people. It’s got a bit of an online dating aspect. You show up, with your lapel, and you hope for the best. And it turned out to be so fun. The crew up there is amazing; I loved the directors we had. Kiefer and I are the most unlikely odd couple. It was just so much fun.

What can you tease about her arc in season 3?
JW: Lorraine is a badass. She also is incredibly pragmatic. Whereas Kirkman, or as I called him, K, is really idealistic. And not a politician. Lorraine’s mission is to make a politician out of him. I think that’s the thing to be the judge of—does she succeed? And is she a good guy or a bad guy? And if she succeeds, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

In some ways, she has an uphill climb backing an Independent. is she viewing the political landscape?
JW: I feel like her jaded, Grinch-y soul—her heart grew three sizes, because she was inspired by him and Adan [Canto]’s character[, Aaron Shore], his story. They had a gunslinger working for the good guys. I’m a black hat, but I came in there to work for the good guys, because I want to see them succeed. Not only do I love just to win, I think she comes to believe in him.

A lot of your most intense stuff was with Kiefer. How was it establishing that dynamic?
JW: Oh man, we had fun. And towards the end, I’d be like, “Hey Kiefer, let’s block this scene. How about you sit on that couch and I sit on this couch?” But as I was doing a Lorraine [monologue] and I was rattling off so fast, he would be like, “You f—ing rock!”

There was an online thing in Korea; someone made a compilation video from 24 and had a song with it. It just went “Jack Bauer, Jack Bauer, Jack Bauer” and I would sing that to him. I was such a 24 fan, when I first met him, I said, “I feel like I owe you 20 dollars.” When he bit that guy’s throat out, I was like, “This is the greatest thing that I’ve ever seen.” It’s just so crazy Jack Bauer is this mild-mannered guy in grandpa glasses [in real-life]. You know he’s still in there. He’s a badass, Kiefer; he’s really something.

This season has less Jack Bauer-y moments, but given your love of the series, were there moments you looked over and geeked out
JW: No, he was always the president. He was such a sweet [guy]. Every once in a while we’d push Kirkman and he’d get mad, but even then, Lorraine was never that upset. [Laughs.] Lorraine could definitely go toe-to-toe even with Jack Bauer, I think.

But that’s the spinoff: Kirkman and Lorraine fight crime! [Laughs.]

Lorraine also had a fascinating relationship with his support team. What excited you about playing with those relationships?
JW: I loved working with Italia [Ricci] and the idea I mentor her. And if you ever see Lorraine be tender or maternal, I think it’s with Italia’s character. She had no patience for Anthony Edwards. I was always saying, “Oh my God, Tony, you’re the nicest person in the world, and I’m just a total bitch to you every single scene we have.” But it was a pleasure to work with him. And Adan and Elena [Tovar, who plays Isabel], they were so great. And Lorraine loved [Isabel], too. She thought she was gold.

DESIGNATED SURVIVOR, Season 3, Now Streaming, Netflix

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