Q&A: Laura Prepon

Michael Desmond/NBC

A star on That '70s Show, Prepon will play Chelsea on NBC's midseason sitcom Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea. With production set to resume in August, the actress talked to THR about assuming Handler's identity.

Rarely do actors share the screen with the people they play. Describe the process.

I play Chelsea, but it's more the essence of her and the inspirations of all of her stories from her book. It's not like I'm watching her mannerisms. That said, there are a couple of things that we've worked on together. Chelsea has this really great, distinct patter when she speaks, so we worked a lot on that because there is a lot of voiceover in the show. What's funny is when we stand near each other, we really do look like we could be sisters. We both have deep voices and are very similar in a lot of ways.

How did Chelsea help you prepare to play her?

Well, Chelsea sent me a case of Belvedere [laughing]. No, I'm joking. She's from Jersey, she's brass and she's speaks her mind.

The title alone, never mind the character of Chelsea, is bold for broadcast television.  How far can you push it?

I'd say the main gist of what she was trying to help me with was just to go for it. The thing that I love most about Chelsea is that she really speaks her mind and she -- we all -- really wanted that to come through with my character as well. She kept telling me that this show really walks to the beat of its own drum and so we should all just go for it. It's not about doing what other basic network shows are doing. We're very outside the box, and Chelsea was like, "Let's keep it that way. Don't be afraid to go there."  As an actress, that's what you look for.

Have you been booked on her late-night E! show yet?

No, I haven't done it yet. But that would be very funny and I'm sure at some point it will happen.

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