ML - Michigan Avenue

2015 - Issue 2 - Late Spring

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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Pasadena native Sophia Bush first wove herself into America's pop culture lexicon in the early aughts as Brooke Davis on cult TV drama One Tree Hill, going on to play the ever-popular cheerleader-turned-fashion designer for nearly a decade. Now, Bush is garnering acclaim as Detective Erin Lindsay on NBC breakout hit Chicago P.D., which was recently renewed for a third season. The analytical, no-nonsense character is not unlike Bush, a vocal advocate of causes ranging from the environment to education. In a spirited conversation with friend and Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay, Bush opened up about the changing face of TV storytelling, her favorite Chicago foodie haunts, and how she's working every day to manifest a brighter future. Mariska Hargitay: Honey, how are you? Sophia Bush: I just got home, and I feel like I've won the lottery. MH: "Home" home, like LA home? SB: Yeah. MH: Good for you! SB: It's three degrees in Chicago, and it's 80 degrees [at] home— MH: Oh God, insanity. So, sweet Sophia, let's start at the beginning: Tell me when you first knew that you wanted to become an actor. SB: It was honestly an accident. My junior high and high school had a series of arts requirements, and I put off my theater requirement until the last semester. I knew it would interfere with all my extracurricular activities, and I guess at 13 I figured if I ignored it, it would go away. [Laughs] The second semester of my eighth-grade year, they said, "You have to take a theater class," and I protested because I was on the volleyball team, and they said, "It doesn't matter. You could have done this last semester, but you waited and now you have to do it." We did a production of Our Town— MH: Oh! SB: Something just clicked, and I realized that my passion for English and my love of literature could be put into action. And it rocked my world; it scrambled my brain, and I just thought, I get this. MH: I have a similar story—I was an athlete. I met somebody, and he was like, "You should go on auditions," and I was like, "Nope, I've got a volleyball game; I've got a cross-country game." It wasn't until I did a play that I went, Hey, wait a minute. I like this. I can do this. Doing sports as a young girl sets up the pattern for achieving goals and really teaches us how to strive for something; in so many ways, too, it makes you a better actor. SB: Absolutely, because you have some understanding of the discipline and a need to persevere. I get this question all the time about our schedules—peo- ple say, "What happens when you're sick?" MH: And you say, "Nobody cares." [Laughs] SB: If you're sick, you come to work with a bucket, and you deal with it. If I have pneumonia, I still go to work. MH: Speaking about your show, tell me what you think it is about Chicago P.D. that the audiences connect to. SB: First of all, we're so lucky to be part of this larger wheelhouse that you've inf luenced and Dick [Wolf ] has been growing and [enriching] for so many years. Television has grown as an industry—when I was a little kid, there were only a handful of channels, and now there's a thousand to choose from. That has widened avenues that we have for storytelling because we're not looking at shows the way we used to. I grew up watching reruns of Dragnet on Nick at Nite, and I thought those guys were the coolest cops ever. That was a great black and white era. There was crime, and then they solved it, and that was that. With the advent of typical storytelling, you crave getting to know people—not just watching them do something, but seeing who they are, and why they tick, and the good, the bad, and the ugly. We've been given permission on the show to allow our heroes to be f lawed— to allow them to have moments where the audience has been inside the person being an antihero, or are they heroic? Are they bending the rules to service the law, are they breaking the law? Do we root for them; are we afraid of them? Nobody's always playing perfect. MH: What's your favorite thing about playing Detective Lindsay? SB: I like that she has been made in the fire. She's not one of those bleeding hearts that sees the world and wants to fix it: She wants to fix the world because she's been so terribly broken by it, because she was taken advantage of as a child, because she was recruited to work in a gang environment, because she was a drug addict, because she's been at the lowest point and seen what one person who cares about you can do for you, and now she wants to give that to other people. And I love that all of her fight comes from a place of having fought herself. MH: And what initially drew you to it? SB: Honestly, I'd been on location doing [One Tree Hill] for nine years, and then I worked a season on a show in LA and was so excited to be home. I didn't quite know what I wanted to do next, but I always wanted to work for Dick, and I always wanted to work with you. I get this call and my agent said, "Dick Wolf is doing this show, and they really want to see you for the lead female, and it shoots in Chicago," and I'm like, "No way. Chicago's so cold, it's so far away, I don't know anybody there... I'm not going." MH: [Laughs] But Dick Wolf has a pretty good record. SB: I know. And they were like, "But Sophia, it's literally two of the three criteria for a job you've ever wanted. You could just read it." And I said, "All right." I was protesting, but not much, because in the back of my head I was so excited. MH: Of course. SB: And I read it, and I just got her. I thought she was interesting, and differ- ent, and I just thought it was so cool. MH: There's nothing better than that, right? Wonder Wom an As pAssionAte About the environment As she is About her Adopted hometown of the windy City, ChiCago P.D. stAr Sophia BuSh rAises her voiCe to build A better world. BY MARISKA HARGITAY PHOTOGRAPHY BY RENE & RADKA 94

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