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"Arija Bareikis Interview"

Date of Article's Original Publication: March 2002
Original URL of Article: http://www.mkezine.com/arija.htm
© MK E-Zine

I caught up with Arija Bareikis this month to see how she is doing and if there is any inside info on the TV Series The American Embassy. If you donít recognize the name, you will. It is only a matter of time this very talented actress will be on all the covers of all the entertainment magazines. I had an idea that she was a sweet person, but the level of unselfishness and appreciation she expressed, blew me away. With all the snooty and overpaid actors out there in Hollywood, Arija is a breath of fresh air. Itís nice to know that there are still performers that love and appreciate the craft.

MK: Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to chit-chat with me.

AB: Oh, itís no problem. I should thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule.

MK: Ummmm, I think I can spare a few minutes for my favorite actress. I am hoping that American Embassy will be picked up on another network, because it is rare to find a show that is so complete. That show was the first show I dropped everything for since Moonlighting.

AB: Wow. I canít express really how moving that is to hear. The energy and time everyone is spending on trying to save this show really amazes me. It is so wonderful and I canít thank you enough. Everyone involved in The American Embassy also thanks you all.

MK: On with the questions. How did you end up getting the role of Emma Brody on The American Embassy?

AB: About 2 years ago, Jim Parriott, the creator, sent me piles of letters of a woman living in London working in the American Embassy that were addressed to her father. They were so moving and spiritual. Jim Parriott, started creating a script about a woman living in London working at the American Embassy. It was geared towards being a comedy. So I went to LA to meet up with Jim and Jersey Films. Jim wrote this incredible script that just evolved into what you seen on FOX. As it evolved it went from a comedy to a drama. The final product was a dramedy. Thatís when they changed the name from ďEmma BrodyĒ to ďThe American Embassy.Ē It was quite a project. I had to screen for the show, but it's alot less stressful when your the only one screening for it.

MK: This project was a long time in the making then?

AB: Oh yes. Last year in the spring we shot the pilot in London. That was pre- 9/11. It was as though Jim was a prophet foretelling of this tragic event. I was pretty uncertain about how this show will fly after 9/11, and if this is all worthwhile. Things really fall into perspective after something like 9/11 and you're in London. The American Embassy continued, and it really inspired me. This show is telling a story, and I realized people would really get something out of this.

MK: What would you like to see happen with Emma Brodyís character if it is picked up by another network?

AB: Thatís hard to say. The show is about a person trying to understand how to be a person. The beautiful part of the story is that there are so many levels to life. The life story of Emma is so important so you can watch and understand how she is growing and understanding herself. I believe we would bring in a little more comedy, to lighten things up a bit. After 9/11 we were not sure if this pilot would have been appropriate. I talked and e-mailed my father many times during 9/11, and he mentioned about World War II. How going to the movies really helped, and watching the war news and watching movies together really helped. One of my best friend's husband died in the 9/11, and I watch her with her child, still laughing and loving. It is so inspiration and amazing.

MK: If the American Embassy gets picked up, will there be any issues with you or the cast about getting it all back together?

AB: I am sure there will be issues, but it's nothing no one can overcome. Everyone involved in the American Embassy was very excited and proud of the show. I think they would be psyhed to tackle this again and they are very open to the possibility of returning to the show. Myself included.

MK: What was your favorite scene and/or Favorite line in The American Embassy?

AB: Thatís a tough question. There were so many I love. I would have to say the scene where I was looking for the little girl and I ended up in Deweyís room at the American Embassy. (For those who didn't see the show, Emma had the responsibility of watching over a child that was to be sent back to the USA. Inbetween the many things going on, the girl ran away. Dewey was one of the first characters introduced. A free loader who stripped naked in the middle of the American Embassy in London to get a place to sleep and eventually flown back to the USA. Dewey was a psychologist by education and had a lot of insight for Emma.) It was such an intense scene. My favorite line was from that scene also. ďLife is about making mistakes, and dying, wishing you made more.Ē Itís kind of weird because that scene was altered for the show. The original scene had me walking into the room with Dewey, and I drop my jacket and sit on the side of the bed, naked. If you look at that scene there is a part where I look like I am naked. In the deleted scene, Dewey asks ďhow does it feel?Ē I just respond, ďa bit drafty.Ē It wasnít sexual at all. We ended up changing that to what you saw.

MK: Ummmm, you were naked?

AB: Yes, if you have a tape, go back to that scene there is one part where it looks like I am naked.

MK: So what are you up to currently?

AB: I am on a Broadway play called "One Day On Wallstreet."

MK: What is it about?

AB: It's about a man working on Wall Street, and he is having visions of the Virgin Mary. It's about how modern culture is lacking a lot. Its about truth and relationships.

MK: Anything on the horizon?

AB: Ohhh, I have a lot of kettles cooking. Being in this profession is all about pounding the pavement and kettles cooking.

MK: If you could pinpoint a time that your career was at its highest point so far, what would it be?

AB: Thatís a good question. It would have to be when I was in a play in the Bronx. After the show, two elderly women came back arm in arm. They were crying and expressed how moved they were with the performance. Theatre is such a great story telling environment; it's fantastical. If I had to pick a second, it would be the overwhelming support of the fans of The American Embassy. The fact you support us so much, that you would be doing so much to get this show back on the air is incredible. John Landgraf, Jim Parriott, and everyone at Jersey Films are honored and moved that this has come about so. We all thank you for your efforts.

MK: It's refreshing to see that you guys are as excited about getting this show back on as we are. We have also started sending Tea Bags to WB with the American Embassy on the tag so we can get there attention. There has to be three online petitions, numerous polls we have won (e.g. Save that show) and a group we all formed to keep everyone informed and organized.

AB: Thatís what I am talking about: believing in something so much you fight for it. Whether it gets picked up or not, I am so honored that this show is that special to people. If it gets picked up, I would be so happy, but if it isnít, it's what is meant to be. I canít thank you all enough for this support.

MK: Who is your inspiration, your idol?

AB: I would have to say my sister. She has been through so much in life, and yet she is persevering. Itís so inspirational, that in the face of adversity, she just... goes for it.

MK: I only have one more question, and you donít have to answer this.

AB: Uh oh.

MK: For all the single males out there, do you have a significant other?

AB: Ooohhh. (pause) Well, all Iíll say is that on the TV show I am in a love triangle, but not in real life.

MK: Arija, thank you so much for taking time out for us. I really appreciate it!

AB: Thank you for your time and support!