This is not a centerfold. Mia Kirshner, the shy, cerebral star of
Showtime's new lesbian drama, The L Word, does not want to be the object of
Forget the sultry photos you see alongside these words. Never mind Mia
Kirshner's raven-haired, almost Gothic beauty. Pay no attention to the
twenty-nine- year-old actress's long string of sexually charged roles, which
have included a stripper in the acclaimed Exotica , a bisexual schoolgirl in
Not Another Teen Movie , a dominatrix in Love and Human Remains , and a
seductive assassin on TV's 24 . Kirshner—emphatically—does not want to be
the object of your lust. Ask her a question about sex and she turns subzero
frosty. "I'm really uncomfortable talking about sex and centerfold
questions," she says. So skip the photos and get to know the actress, who's
intelligent, well-read, and strangely shy. She's currently starring in
Showtime's The L Word , an ensemble drama about a group of gay women in L.
ESQ: Why is gay so big in TV these days?
MK: I guess it's about time. It's sort of insane that it's become
fashionable, though. But I'm so sick of the term "a gay show." At the end of
the day, you're still dealing with issues that heterosexuals deal with: love
ESQ: The L Word is pretty racy. What gives you the confidence to do nude
MK: I believe in why they should be there. I believed in the scenes, so it
became easy. Watching it with my parents was another matter. . . . I turned
the sound down and told them not to look. I'm still my daddy's little girl,
ESQ: Are provocative magazine pictorials like this irrelevant when someone
can turn on Showtime and see, uh, a bit more?
MK: I'm not quite sure how to answer that question. I'm very proud of my
work, and I don't want to be treated like some sort of centerfold.
ESQ: You were an extra on the set of 1990's The Freshman . Can you give me
your best Brando story?
MK: I wasn't allowed near him or Matthew [Broderick], so I watched them from
afar. It was made clear to us by the people on the set that we should stay
far away in the extras pen.
ESQ: Could you have become more famous if you went after more mainstream
MK: I don't seem to gravitate to that stuff. I gravitate toward projects
where I feel the writing is strong and where I respect the director. I've
never looked for a career that will enhance my financial status. I've never
been a careerist.
ESQ: The roles you play seem to have similarities. Do you feel you're the
victim of typecasting?
MK: I feel that I've had the opportunity to play rich characters. I've never
played a wife or someone's girlfriend. I've never been just an appendage. I
think the only typecasting—to use your word—is that my roles tend to be a
ESQ: We hear you enjoy a prank. Any from The L Word ?
MK: Yeah, we were always playing jokes on one another—just extremely
immature shenanigans. We'd attach toilet paper [to other cast members] so
they would have long tails dragging behind them. Really mature, huh?
ESQ: Speaking of which, would you punk Ashton Kutcher? Please?
MK: I don't think you're the only one who wants him punked. I wholeheartedly
agree that someone needs to kick his ass.