Drop Dead Diva
Drop Dead Diva’s Kate Levering Opens up about Pregnancy – On and Off Screen
Check out Kate this Sunday as she goes head to head with another pregnant lawyer, inside and outside of the courtroom!
I don’t know about you, but I have been a fan of Drop Dead Diva from the very beginning, fully appreciating the way it blends the surreal with reality, while working-in a star-studded line-up of guest appearances, to the already stellar cast. With the season 5 premiere just days away, I had a chance to chat with the Kate Levering, who plays the intense, career driven attorney Kim Kaswell, who has had an on-again off-again relationship with the firm’s Managing Partner, Jay Parker.
The season 4 finale left us with a lot more questions than answers, both on and off screen – with the show being cancelled and then brought back to life, and with the main character Jane Bingham (Brooke Elliot) having doubts at the altar, and Kim telling Jay that she is pregnant with his baby – so I was anxious to gain some insight into what we can expect this coming season!
Me: So you have a really strong online following that had a huge hand in making sure the show came back for a 5th season?
Kate: I don’t know, you kind of never know what goes on behind the scenes. I think a lot of has to do with the fans, and truthfully there was no reason to cancel the show - we have better ratings than Mad Men. All of us were a bit baffled, and do what actors do - and move on with our lives and I went and got pregnant! And then we found it out was coming back – which is great!
Me: Congratulations! How far along are you?
Kate: I am 8 months pregnant.
Me: So...the season finale left us all with an unplanned pregnancy and a lot more questions than answers...can you give us any clues what is going to happen with your character this season?
Kate: Yea - I love this season for my character. She finds herself in a situation that she never in a million years thought she would be in (an unplanned pregnancy), and it has just provided a lot of cool storylines for her.
The show is now well enough developed that we can finally dig into these people’s personal lives, which I think the fans want... and what is the most interesting.
And because of this, John Ratzeberger is coming back as my dad…which is great, and there are story lines around surrogacy and childbirth and such.
Me: I loved the episode with John Ratzeberger…where his character was squatting in a mansion and asked Kim to help him get out of trouble.
Kate: That was fun, and the episode that we are about to shoot is even better and more poignant.
Me: How long are shoot days?
Kate: It’s pretty good for television, about 10 hour days.
Me: At 8 months pregnant, and with the heat in Atlanta (where the show shoots) how are you keeping your stamina up?
Kate: They have been really good about keeping me hydrated, keeping me off my feet, keeping me out of heels...and I have had a really easy, enjoyable pregnancy, so stamina has not been too hard because I love to work and there is an adrenaline rush that goes with it. That being said, I am starting to slow down a bit and starting to feel a little “nesty” and wanting to be around my husband.
Me: How do you plan to fit motherhood in with your passion for your job?
Kate: If we get a season six, I get a good 6 months with the baby, and then come back – which is really the best of everything.
It will be different if the show doesn’t go another year. Then I really have to figure out auditioning again and I have no idea if my priorities will shift.
Me: Speaking of priorities, on the show, there are a lot of complex topics teed up - Kim is going to be juggling a demanding career and having a baby...while not being in a defined committed relationship. How can we expect Kim will manage?
Kate: I think she will manage the way most pregnant women manage, the gamete is all over the place...she is a little bit in denial because she is such a workaholic…even for me...I am grateful I am so into my work.
(For Kim) There is this denial and distraction aspect and her personal history comes into play and cracks open her hard exterior - exposes her vulnerability, as well as the denial and the distraction, and the personal relationship (with Jay) going awry. On top of this, she also deals with the hormones of pregnancy, which makes her lose her mind at times – which I hope can be hilarious to watch.
Me: How do you and the writers and producers go about researching complex issues, specifically around Kim's pregnancy, so they are believable on screen?
Kate: It sort of happened organically - if Josh is writing a particular scene, he may call me and say - give me some examples of some funny physical things that are happening and I can say, “my boobs are sore or I am constipated”
And as far as making them believable it is kind of organic because I am pregnant and just sort of show up.
Me: What are you most excited about and most concerned about regarding motherhood?
Kate: I’m excited to meet him for the first time, but I wonder...will I recognize him? Will he be totally familiar to me, or will he be a little alien to me? As a pregnant woman - your baby is with you all the time...and you start feeling them but I can’t help but wonder, will I know him in the beginning.
Also, we (she and her husband) haven’t come up with a name yet. It’s a huge responsibility to name a person...we keep coming up with scenarios about who he may become depending on which name we give him.
I think there is a lot of anxiety around birth…when will I go into labor? What will it be like? I plan to try to do it un-medicated, and there is a lot of anticipation around what will it be like, and can I do it? I don’t want to say fear…because it think women in the US are brainwashed into being fearful of childbirth...and this is what our bodies were made to do.
Me: What's been the biggest surprise with pregnancy so far?
Kate: I guess sort of, for me how easy and enjoyable it has been. I didn’t know, you never know what it is going to be like. It has been so enjoyable and laid back, and I keep thinking...why is that? There are all kinds of things that happen when you are pregnant, but it is a matter of how you deal with them. I guess I’ve been surprised at how easy and great everything has been.
Me: What is the best piece of advice you've received so far regarding pregnancy and motherhood?
Kate: Oooh...pause...I guess…I had an appointment with a midwife here yesterday, and she said something along the lines of what we were just talking about. She said, “I'll ask our mothers if he is sleeping through the night, and one mother will have this really anxious anxiety about her and say ‘no not at all, he is waking up every three hours!’ And I will ask another mother and she will say ‘he is totally sleeping through the night – I mean he is getting up every 3 hours to feed, but he is sleeping through the night.’” So I guess it’s all about perspective…but I will really find out once I have the baby!
I felt like we could have talked motherhood and career for an entire afternoon, but we both had other work to get back to, so I wished her luck both professionally and personally, told her to feel free to call me if she needs any inspiration for her character’s navigation of single motherhood and career - and set my DVR for Season 5 premiere of Drop Dead Diva on June 23rd on Lifetime at 8.9c