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Californication may be ending but it’s final season is chock full of guest stars. One of whom is Heather Graham (The Hangover franchise, Lifetime’s Flowers in the Attic), who had admittedly never seen the show. It was the chance to work with David Duchovny that was a crucial selling point.
“I had known David a little bit in the past; we have some mutual friends. I was excited about the idea of working with him,” Graham tells The Hollywood Reporter of her seventh-season arc.
How does Graham factor into the final season of Showtime’s dark comedy? For that answer, you have to go back to last week’s premiere, when Hollywood’s perennial struggling writer Hank Moody discovered that he unknowingly fathered a child years ago during one of his sexual trysts. Let’s just say, Graham’s character, Julia, figures into that part of Hank’s story significantly.
But Graham was more coy about her character’s description, for fear of spoiling the surprise — though she did promise “some fun, sassy scenes.” “I’m a dental hygienist. I don’t think anyone can get mad at me for saying that,” she says with a laugh. “I’m only allowed to say that I’m from David’s past,” who “adds a lot of conflict.”
When Graham boarded the project, only one script — the second episode — had been written where her character was featured. Once creator Tom Kapinos knew Graham would be playing the part, he “definitely wrote the character more with my quirky personality and my voice.”
The actress admitted that she had her own misconceptions of the show that, after watching dozens of episodes, she found to be unfounded. “To be totally honest, I think in the past I hadn’t watched it because I thought, ‘Oh this is a guy show.’ I was like, ‘This is a show that guys love because it’s guys doing all these things that are fantasies of what they think about doing.’ But when I watched it, I did like how complex [Hank Moody] was. He’s emotionally complicated and they do write the women with some fun things to do. It was different what I thought it was,” she says.
In addition to Graham, Californication is welcoming recognizable talent such as Michael Imperioli, playing a television producer, and Mary Lynn Rajskub, portraying a television writer. As Graham tells it, boarding a “well-oiled machine” in its last days was a unique experience. “It was amazing how fast they got things done. We had some days where we shot everything so quickly that it was shocking,” she recalls. “And it was the funnest wrap party I’d ever been to.”
“You had every musical act that had every been on the show, plus a bunch more, playing. It was the most over the top,” Graham adds. Some of those musical acts that have appeared over the course of the series have included Marilyn Manson, Rick Springfield and RZA.
Graham recounted a story about Kapinos breaking down as production neared the end on the final episode. “I remember when we did the final episode he gave a little talk about how he’s always hearing these characters’ voices in his head and he got emotional about how much he loved the characters,” she says. “It’s just sweet that he’s very passionate about the show and what he’s writing.”
Though the characters are colorful to watch, Graham isn’t envious of the lives Hank and Co. lead. “It’s not a life I would aspire to, but I do feel there’s always a sense of hope,” she says. “It’s people who are struggling but there’s always a sense of these characters are big-hearted and they’re trying. They’re pretty screwed up but at the end of the day, it feels like there’s love there.”
Californication airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on Showtime.
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