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september / october 2005:

Mean girl no more
With a new television show and two new films already in the can, Lizzy Caplan is the unlikely actress on the rise. By Gerri Miller

talented chameleon who alters her hair color as frequently as she inhabits her roles, Lizzy Caplan won rave notices as the raven-haired misfit who helps Lindsay Lohan get even with the phony “Plastics” in Mean Girls. This TV season she’ll play a hip Manhattanite juggling a high-pressure event PR job and relationships with men and her three sisters in the new WB series Related.

“She’s just fun. I almost never get to play the one who has the good clothes and lots of boyfriends and is crazy and wild,” Caplan explains of her attraction to the role of Marjee Sorelli. “Mean Girls was fantastic but I want to step it up. I don’t want to be the best friend. I want to be the girl. I loved my part in Mean Girls but I figured I had to change it up completely or I’d get typecast.”

Read the whole Fall TV Preview:
  • Joshua Malina (The West Wing)
  • Elon Gold (Stacked)
  • Lizzy Caplan (Related)
  • Josh Schwartz (The O.C.)
  • Lisa Edelstein (House)
  • Nick Wiedenfeld (Adult Swim)
  • Uninterested in acting until she took a theater class at 15, the Los Angeles native, 23, landed her first one-line cameo on Freaks and Geeks two years later and saw it become a recurring role. She has since played recurring characters on Smallville and Tru Calling and starred in the short-lived sitcom The Pitts.

    Caplan was raised in a Reform Jewish family and took part in the usual rites of passage. “I had a bat mitzvah, was confirmed, went to Jewish summer camp,” she enumerates. Nowadays, “I go to temple for the High Holy Days. I think, like most people in their early 20s, I kind of strayed away from it. I think once I have a family I’ll be back into it,” she muses candidly. “I love being a Jew but I’m not Super Jew. I’m more about the traditional aspects of it rather than the religious at this point but I plan on raising my kids Jewish.”

    Before starting work on Related, Caplan shot two independent films in a decidedly edgier vein than the series. “One is called Love is the Drug, about the drug scene, like a contemporary Less Than Zero — lots of cocaine and bad news,” she describes. “Then I did a small independent called Crashing with Campbell Scott. It’s a sequel to a movie that won Sundance 20 years ago. It’s a really cerebral script.”

    She sees balancing such low-budget films with a lucrative TV gig as “one for the soul, one for the dough,” but isn’t trashing television by any means. “Eventually I’ll probably want to do just films, but I’m so not at that point at all, and there’s so much to learn from just working on one thing for so long and with the same people,” she says. “I think it will teach me endurance, and it’s great. I’m not done with TV yet at all.”

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