Laura Spencer is a pro at playing two characters at once. Catch her on Thursdays both on The Big Bang Theory as Raj’s love interest and on Bones, opposite Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz. Here, we chat with the actress about her two big breaks, dealing with zombies on a Sprint commercial (yes, that’s her), and her “love” for Skittles.
On The Big Bang Theory, you play Emily, Raj’s latest love interest. Tell us about your character.
LAURA SPENCER: I feel like there’s certain elements of Emily’s personality that are like mine. I think her sensitivity to Raj and her genuine interest in him, his quirks are similar to my own. But, as far as all the dark, little weird elements of her personality… the writers have gotten very creative with that and I think it’s really funny because that’s not really how I am.
That’s what the show’s success stems from. The acting is great, but the writing is really amazing to watch.
LS: It’s hilarious, because, when I first auditioned, my character didn’t have any inkling of being dark in any way. I just think it’s really funny that they ran with it. Now people are wondering, What is up with this Emily girl? Is she good? Is she bad? I don’t know anything either. I get the script and find a new element of her character every time. It’s been really fun.
You’re also on Bones, which is a completely different show. What can you tell us about your character?
LS: It’s been strange. My first episode out of the gate was the second to last episode of the last season. They did this major introduction of her and she came out gleaming. It’s been this pretty strong dynamic and it’s really fun for me to get to play a character that intelligent and that confident.
As a viewer, it’s nice to see that you can play such different characters at the same time.
LS: It’s the best position to be in as an actor because it’s challenging me in different ways. With The Big Bang Theory, it’s the challenge of working in front of a live audience. It’s such a rich, cool challenge, something you want to do as an actor because everything comes alive in a different way when you have a live audience laughing at the jokes you’ve been telling all week. With Bones, I’m memorizing all the medical terminology. I describe it as [what] it feels [like] to be studying for a test that I’m really excited to take. I feel like the reason to be an actor changes as I grow and now I’ve arrived at this clear feeling that I’m learning about the world through the different auditions I go on and [as I] prepare for those different characters.
Speaking of different roles, you also appeared on two popular commercials.
LS: [The one for Sprint] was so funny because we were shooting it in the middle of the night. When [the zombie’s] ear fell off, it was actually an accident. They had it rigged to fall off at a different beat in the commercial and it just feel off in the middle of the scene.
At the same time, I also did a Skittles commercial, and I had a side braid [on this promo also, but] it was on the other side of my head. [The commercials] were running at the same time and my cousin sent me an article saying, “You’re a Reddit topic, people are talking about you on Reddit.” The whole thread was about the same actress with a different side braid in the two commercials going on at the same time.
You’re clearly well versed at playing different roles at the same time.
LS: Well, I hope to continue to make a habit of it.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY SONJA FLEMMING/2014 CBS BROADCASTING, INC. (BIG BANG THEORY); JOANNA DEGENERES (SPENCER)