Trisha LaFache is suiting up for Freevee’s newly-released series, “Jury Duty.” Check out our conversation with the actress and REAL attorney, below.
Trisha LaFache is taking the comedy world by storm as part of Freevee’s highly-anticipated- and newly released- series, “Jury Duty.” The talented and multi-faceted actress- who is also a REAL attorney- stars in“Jury Duty,” which is a documentary-style comedy revolving around an American jury’s daily chronicles and inner workings.
Today, HOLR is sitting down to chat with Trisha about how she got started in the industry, her latest project, how she prepared for the show, and so much more. Keep reading to learn all about Trisha’s exciting new role, below!
How did you get your start in the industry?
My very first job ever was in Garden State, with Natalie Portman & Zach Braff. And my second job was playing a baby-faced killer on Law & Order: SVU.
But how I got started was, I really wanted to be an actor (writer & director) and was a double major in political science and theater in college; but I went to law school to maintain my father’s love. And I’m only half kidding. He’s a lawyer. He loves being a lawyer and he really wanted me to go. So, I went to Brooklyn Law School. During my first week there I met a guy who had an agent, we went to a play, and all the girls he was friends with had agents, so I said well if these folks have agents I can get one too!! So, I did.
Talk to us about Jury Duty, the documentary-style comedy you’re starring in revolving around an American jury’s daily chronicles and inner workings.
It’s the craziest, most challenging, and most rewarding thing that I’ve ever been a part of. The whole project was surrounded by secrecy and we were on a “need-to-know, basis.” I remember my first phone call with our amazing director. He asked me, “Do you know the concept of the show?” And I said, “No, I do not.” When he told me and I started to read the scripts I thought, this is going to be amazing. I have never had the opportunity to work on something I loved so much. I immediately saw how it was going to be a hilarious workplace comedy like “The Office,” or “Abbott Elementary,” which has this “Truman Show” component to it, that just makes it extra hilarious. Twelve jurors, eleven of them are actors – one of the actors does not know the trial isn’t real. So in a way, it’s like theater for television. When I walked into that courtroom, I was Debra. I had my briefcase and her thoughts and it was just, GO! I had to play it straight regardless of the hilarious things that were going on around me. No action, no cut, just be your character. And don’t blow it. But it was actually exhilarating to get through every day. Major adrenaline rush.
But it’s NOT a prank show. Far from it. Our creators set out to see what would happen if they put an everyman on a jury, made up of eleven people with extremely different backgrounds and points of view. How he would navigate the different things that come up. In many ways, he’s the common archetype of the leading man, like Jim in “The Office” or Dave in “NewsRadio.” Our director Jake Szymanski said he wasn’t concerned because once he casts something well he doesn’t worry. And the cast is fantastic! But what the creators and writers did was manage to come up with something that has never been done before, is hilarious, and is also not mean-spirited or cynical!
Is it true that you wrote every piece of the material you performed in the show?
Yes. We all did. The writers of the show wrote the scripts. We auditioned for a “loosely scripted, improv show.” And most of the actors followed the script and improved. But the reason that I had to both improv and write is that I play a lawyer who is supposed to be perceived as a really good lawyer, a shark. And even a bad lawyer would not improvise an opening or closing statement; or a direct examination. So a lot of that I had to come up with, after working with our fabulous executive producers, writers, and director, and deciding what we were actually going to do. It was amazing to collaborate with them. I want to work like that all the time.
How was your character crafted from experience? Plus, how did you get into character for the role?
I was a trial attorney, a federal criminal defense attorney to be exact, for many years while also pursuing my career in entertainment. There were many times that I would go straight from visiting a client at the jail to an audition, or vice versa. And Debra is a trial attorney, even though she does civil litigation, and I did much more criminal. I’m also cooler than Deb, she takes herself pretty seriously. But, the initial breakdown said she’s got a chip on her shoulder and I’m from New York so I was like welp, if I don’t book this role I should’ve quit the business years ago. And thankfully, I was lucky enough that I did book it.
How I prepared for the role is my favorite question.
I prepared for the role in several ways. I asked my dad, my friend Courtney’s dad, and a friend of mine who is a US Attorney, to send me trial transcripts. They all thought I was crazy. But I read over 1500 pages in transcripts because it had been a hot minute since I did a trial. Turns out it’s like riding a bike! I looked at the different lawyers’ questioning styles, how they gave their openings and closings; and decided who Debra would be the most like. I also whipped out my Federal Rules of Evidence and brushed up on all the objections – when to object and what to say when the judge asks you to state your basis for the objection, but basically, I just immersed myself in all things trial.
Now to bring Debra to life. When I first spoke to our fabulous costume designer, Mynka Draper, and the show’s creators, I said, “Look, my client, Jacqui is a fashion designer/influencer who cares very much about appearances. She would not have a boring lawyer. Deb is lit. Bring me as many designer suits as possible and let’s style her, within reason, so that both Jacqui and Deb walk into court looking like a million bucks every day.
How involved were you in the production process of Jury Duty?
I wasn’t involved at all until the first day of rehearsal. All of the pre-production was done by the writers and creators of the show. Once the first day of rehearsals started, we immediately began to have meetings about the case. Talk about the witnesses and the exhibits that would be presented. What we could do that was funny but still maintained the “realism bank” that I had to be in order for Ronald to believe this was a real trial. I would prepare my witnesses with the creative team before they took the stand. But boy, that was the scariest part. Every time a witness was on the stand because so much of it was secret, the actors playing the witnesses felt slightly in the dark. They were all WONDERFUL, of course, but before they went out there, I would lock eyes with them and say, “You got this. Just remember nothing bad can happen as long as you don’t break character, even if you get lost or confused, just stay in character, or you will never work for Amazon again.” Just kidding, I said everything but that last part.
What’s next for you?
I just finished directing a pilot called “Ex Weeks Out,” I’m directing a play this summer in Utah, and I also co-directed a music video that is about to come out with one of my very best friends, India deBeaufort (Night Court, NBC), for a song called “Karma” that I cannot wait for the world to see. Other than that I have a true crime podcast and several writing projects in the works – but would be happy to get back on your tv possibly playing a lawyer again!!!
Published by HOLR Magazine.