The new NBC mystery-drama “Deception” starts tonight and most of the attention will be on the murder and figuring out who is the killer. If you had to place a bet, put some money on Katherine LaNasa’s role as Sofia Bowers. Her hard-drinking, social-climbing character certainly comes across as someone who would consider murder if it proved beneficial to her. She describes the way she’s playing Sofia – the family matriarch – as “three degrees — low hell, half drunk, and having a hot flash. When I feel like I’m in that zone, then I’m Sophia, and it was about kind of finding that stormy sea that is this person.”
The character’s a contradiction the way LaNasa’s plays her: “I think she has a lot of integrity despite being an alcoholic.”
The press notes aren’t as colorful describing Sofia Bowers as the ultra-glamorous second wife of Robert Bowers and mother to Mia Bowers. Sofia will go to great lengths to get what she wants through whatever means necessary and no matter who stands in her way.
If there was anyone LaNasa has patterned the character after it would be great film actress of the ‘40s like Betty Davis, Barbara Stanwyck or Joan Crawford. In other words, this is a woman who can tell you in very graphic terms how you should take a trip to Hades but at the same time charm you off your feet.
LaNasa showed a little of that playing Will Ferrell’s wife in “The Campaign.” The New Orleans native added a little more ambition to the performance, something she’s seen plenty of that in the wives of politicians. She also gets to play a larger than life character in the new Billy Bob Thornton-directed “Jayne Mansfield’s Car” where she’s a ‘60s beauty pageant contestant. She’s got a real handle on acting but that wasn’t her first career choice. LaNasa is a classically trained ballerina who fell into acting when her ballet troupe traveled to Los Angeles for a Life magazine photo shoot.
One thing’s for certain, LaNasa’s having a good time with the role in “Deception.”
“I am definitely playing this character a little over the top. I’m having fun. Part of me is winking at the campiness of the soap that it is. I think she’s a good character to have on the show, otherwise it would be just a little too procedural.”
Listen for her to use a slight fake British accent — think Madonna — with the character. It’s one way that she hints at a past that might be more scandalous that people expect. The fake accent is a clue to that past.
LaNasa either doesn’t know or won’t say if her character is the killer. The identity is suppose to be revealed this season and LaNasa would love it if her character was the one who did it. She would love to play scenes where the former socialite would be behind bars trading to get cigarettes.