Interviews

Getting To Know Jennifer Beals Of The L Word: Generation Q

Photo Credit: Sam Jones/Trunk Archive.

Jennifer Beals makes a long-promised—and promising—return in SHOWTIME sequel The L Word: Generation Q.

By Brantley Bardin

Stream The L Word: Generation Q on SHOWTIME and SHOWTIME ANYTIME® apps, as well as via SHOWTIME On Demand.

For six deliciously drama-filled, Sapphic, sex-soaked seasons, The L Word immersed audiences in a lesbian community never before seen on television. It caused such a sensation that when the series ended in 2009, L Word star Jennifer Beals—who played Bette Porter, an L.A. art world power lesbian—was sure another show about LGBTQ women would fill the void.

That didn't happen. So Beals and L Word co-stars Katherine Moennig (Shane McCutcheon) and Leisha Hailey (Alice Pieszecki) took matters into their own hands. The result: The L Word: Generation Q, with award-winning lesbian writer-filmmaker Marja-Lewis Ryan onboard as its showrunner, and Beals, Moennig, and Hailey all reprising their beloved characters.

Jennifer Beals a Bette Porter, Katherine Moenning as Shane McCutcheon, and Leisha Hailey as Alice Pieszecki.

Jennifer Beals a Bette Porter, Katherine Moennig as Shane McCutcheon, and Leisha Hailey as Alice Pieszecki in The L Word: Generation Q.

Photo Credits: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/SHOWTIME.


Says Beals: "I want Generation Q to continue L Word's legacy of representation, inclusivity, and reminding people that the 'L' doesn't just stand for lesbian but for love, too. It begins 10 years after the last show, and I want to deep-dive into conversations about sexuality and gender identity." Beals is quick to add, "You don't want it to be didactic, though, so it's going to be funny!"

So thrilling to have the three of you original L Word-ers back alongside four new, young LGBTQ leads, played by Arienne Mandi, Jacqueline Toboni, Rosanny Zayas, and Leo Sheng, a trans male actor. Besides more humor, how will the new show be different?

Well, the world was so different the first time around. There was no marriage equality, and when somebody said "nonbinary," it was just a mathematical term. So to explore these ideas and give representation to these people is exciting.

Jennifer Beals and the cast of The L Word: Generation Q sitting under a patio umbrella.

Jennifer Beals and the cast of The L Word: Generation Q.

Photo Credit: Kharen Hill/SHOWTIME.

But do say there'll still be plenty of juicy sex, intrigue, and drama.

Yes, for sure! When you're doing a story about sexual identity, there will be sex!

When last seen, your Bette was moving from L.A. to NYC with her long-time partner, Tina, and ...

... And during the past 10 years, she married Tina. But she's back in L.A. on a new adventure. She's 50 now, and her goals are a bit different, but what I've always loved is Bette's combination of toughness and vulnerability, her intellect, and her love for her friends. She and Shane and Alice are all still very tight.

\u200bJennifer Beals and Laurel Holloman in The L Word: Generation Q.

Jennifer Beals as Bette Porter and Laurel Holloman as Tina Kennard in The L Word: Generation Q.

Photo Credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/SHOWTIME.

How will their lives intersect with the four new young leads?

We're united through work. In the original show, there was no ageism—no matter the age differences, we were all friends. That will continue.

Actors Arienne Mandi and Rosanny Zayas in The L Word: Generation Q.

Arienne Mandi as Dani Nunez and Rosanny Zayas as Sophie Suarez in The L Word: Generation Q.

Photo Credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/SHOWTIME.

Flashdance made you an overnight star. You were a freshman at Yale, where you decided to stay, turning down myriad movie offers until you graduated. Did staying at Yale save your life? Is Flashdance the bane of your existence?

It's definitely not the bane of my existence! It was an amazing entree into the world. But it was really challenging because I was never interested in fame, and I'm relatively shy. And I loved school. It felt familiar to me: Give me a blue book and an essay test and I'm happy.

Jennifer Beals addresses a large crowd of supporters.

Jennifer Beals reprises her role as Bette Porter.

Photo Credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/SHOWTIME.

How did audience reactions differ from Flashdance to L Word?

Oddly, they were similar because both characters gave people permission to be who they wanted to be. Flashdance fan mail was, "By pursuing her dream to dance, Alex gave me permission to pursue my dream." L Word mail was, "I've come out to my family and at work, and I feel proud of myself, not ashamed." The power of storytelling is amazing, isn't it?

Jennifer Beals of front of hot pink photo backdrop

Jennifer Beals as Bette Porter in The L Word: Generation Q.

Photo Credit: Kharen Hill/SHOWTIME.

Totally. On a personal note, you've long been married to Canadian entrepreneur Ken Dixon, with whom you have a 14-year-old daughter. What's your way of chilling out off-camera?

I sing; I sing a lot. I pretty much sing Hamilton ad nauseum.

And I meditate and love open-water swimming.

Chances are you're in for a long-running hit with The L Word: Generation Q. How much do you love acting?

That's like asking, "How much do you love to breathe? How much do you love God? How much do you love the water?" I love it so much, I can't take it. I can't wait to get back on set, to get back to rehearsals. I'm just dying for people to see the new show!

Stephanie Allynne as Natalie Baker and Leisha Hailey as Alice Pieszecki embrace.

Stephanie Allynne as Natalie Baker and Leisha Hailey as Alice Pieszecki.

Photo Credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/SHOWTIME.

Originally published in Watch Magazine, November-December 2019.

Stream The L Word: Generation Q on SHOWTIME and SHOWTIME ANYTIME® apps, as well as via SHOWTIME On Demand.

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