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On Location with Jennifer Beals

The actress on the joy of shooting her hit medical drama, Proof

Golden Globe-nominated actress Jennifer Beals has spent plenty of time in front of the camera—she’s starred in cultural touchstones from Flashdance to The L Word—but on a break from filming on the Vancouver set of her TNT series Proof, she decided to take a turn behind one.

“There was a little break in activity on the set, and I had been looking at the steady cam in a way that I had never really taken it in before, and it looked like it could be fun,” Beals says. “Peter, our camera operator, fitted me and gave me a very brief instruction on the steady cam and I had it on for a few minutes—and was terrified for the entire time.”

And while most of the time people on the Proof set stick to their assigned positions, Beals says that the series offers plenty of opportunities to have fun when the cameras are turned off.

“It’s a great place to work,” Beals, at home in Los Angeles, says. “People have a great sense of humor and are supportive of one another and most importantly, are supportive of the story.” 

That’s a good thing, because during the months Beals spends in British Columbia shooting, she doesn’t have much time away from the set.

“I’m in almost all day, from 14 to 16 hours,” she explains. “Then I go directly home and I work on the rest of the work for the week. I’ll give myself a little bit of time maybe to go for a run, go swimming or see some friends, but it’s really about work.”

Of course, when you’re as attached to your character as Beals is to Dr. Carolyn Tyler—a scientist who finds herself drawn toward to possibility of an afterlife—it might not feel like work at all.

“From the beginning I thought she was a complex character, and there’s this ineffable thing that happens where your body just responds viscerally to a role and you just get so excited,” she says. “It just feels right.”