In The Arrangement, a glamorous new drama from E!, storylines blur fiction and real-life celebrity gossip so expertly that you’ll catch yourself wondering how much of it was inspired by Scientology and its most famous practitioner. The show’s star, Lexa Doig — who plays a scheming producer that facilitates a contract marriage between actors to benefit a self-help organization — swears there’s no real connection, but still admits the threat of possible backlash loomed large.
“When I got the part, I was joking, ‘So, if I actually do this are they going to come after me?'” laughs Doig. “I can really understand why the associations are made once you understand the show’s premise, but it’s actually not about Scientology specifically. The idea of a contract-arranged marriage has existed in Hollywood since the old studio systems were in place. I can tell you, I’m pretty sure nobody who works on the show actually knows Tom Cruise or Katie Holmes!”
We’re not sure Doig would need any assistance if Xenu were to set his (its?) sights on her. In her spare time, the Toronto-born actress is busy kicking ass as Talia al Ghul on Arrow, where she dons head-to-toe leather, carries around a bow and arrows, and holds her own in a boatload of physically taxing fight scenes.
“I have an enormous amount of respect for anybody who plays a superhero!” says Doig. “The leather suit isn’t the easiest thing to move in, plus I’ve got this big leather hood that looks awesome but completely cuts off my peripheral vision and hearing. But I was a bit of a dork growing up, so I’m just fucking thrilled that sci-fi and fantasy are the mainstream now. It’s worth it.”
Now that I know that you love to swear, what is your favourite swear word?
Probably “cunt.” I spent a lot of time in England, and it’s not nearly as offensive in England as it is here, but I really embrace it. Either that or “fuck.” It shocked me for probably the first month that I lived there, and then I kind of became immune because it’s said all the time.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
I kind of like where I live now. Vancouver’s pretty awesome. Vancouver or Toronto. Maybe London.
What is your idea of happiness?
Hanging with my family. And them not arguing — wait a minute, I have to add that in there. My children not arguing and us hanging out together makes me very, very happy.
What is your favourite book right now?
Right now? I’m rereading the Harry Potter series. I can’t remember which book I’m on. I do love them, but I don’t know if they’re my favourite. My favourite book of all time is probably Watership Down.
What would you say is the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
I actually walked out of a movie. My husband and I were like, “I’m not wasting the rest of my night here.” [Laughs.] I can’t honestly remember the name of it, that’s how good it was. But even bad movies can be really fun to watch. I think it had Clive Owen in it — I can’t remember. But it looked cool, all the trailers looked cool, and then I was like I can’t watch this. I don’t know I can’t think of a really terrible movie. I didn’t love Reign of Fire and I really wanted to. The one about dragons with Christian Bale in it. That one looked like they shot one movie and edited another, it was really confusing. But again, even really terrible movies, I can take great gleeful joy in watching. The ones that are so bad they’re good, kind of movies?
If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
My propensity to gain cellulite. Because I’m vain. [Laughs.]
What would you like to come back as in your next life?
A house cat. Such a serious no-brainer. A nice, pampered house cat.
What would you say is your worst habit?
Procrastination. Terrible habit. Procrastination and just a general sort of, “Eh, I can’t be bothered”. A laziness.
Who has been your favourite character that you’ve played?
At this point, I’m going to go with my current favourite, which is Deann on The Arrangement. Talia from Arrow is a very close second, though! I’m still getting to know Talia and I haven’t gotten to play her enough at this point, but Deann I know and I’m so invested in her.
I’ve been doing this for 25 years, so there are characters that made sense to me when I was 27 that I wouldn’t want to play now, actually. And characters that at 43, I’m a little bit more comfort in my own skin to be able to play them. That’s the fun thing about this industry— you get to go through this life journey with it. The job changes as you get older.