Actress Laurie Fortier, aka Agatha from the recently released, highly anticipated, Season 11 of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Fortier has proven herself to be quite the multi-talented individual with roles that have taken the screen by storm for over 20 years in film and TV. Laurie has been cast in various mother roles, as a male (yes male) con artist, maniacs, the girl-next-door, high-powered attorneys, cops, victims, perps, athletes, and devilish villains. From “kindhearted heroines” to the “evil monster,” Fortier has been blessed with the gift of true versatility. Not to mention, she has acted alongside Hollywood legends including Michelle Pfeiffer, James Gandolfini, James Caan, Dennis Hopper, Martin Landau, Danny Aiello, and Hugh Laurie, to name a few.
Prior to playing Agatha in The Walking Dead, Laurie most notably played real-life cop Donna Kading, opposite Josh Duhamel in the USA Network TV series, Unsolved: A True Crime Story about the murder of Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur. She can also be seen in The CW’s DC’s Swamp Thing, every version of CSI (CSI Vegas, CSI Miami & CSI NY), Hawaii Five-O, Castle, Rush, Stalker, and two seasons of the Netflix original series Hemlock Grove opposite Dougray Scott and Famke Jansen. Laurie has continued to prove her abilities to act in different genres by starring in successful Lifetime movies, including Into the Arms of Danger, In Bed with a Killer, Erasing His Dark Past, and My Mom’s Darkest Secrets.
The Untitled Magazine had the opportunity to speak to Laurie about her career in TV and film, what she has coming up in the future, and her other favorite pastime, motherhood.
Tell us about your role as Agatha in season 11 of The Walking Dead?
Agatha is a badass. She’s the leader of the Wardens from the town of Meridian. The Wardens met Maggie in Meridian and became very fond of her and Herschel. We are fiercely loyal to Maggie.
You have been working in film and TV for over 20 years – do you remember your first role? Can you tell us about it?
I remember my first role, the first time I was in a scene and action was called like yesterday. I played Holiday Friedman, a troublemaker from NYC in boarding school. It was a single camera, NBC Saturday morning series called Running The Halls. The scene was at a dinner table where my character was invited to dinner. So, naturally, I proceeded to really eat in the scene. I didn’t know why the other actors weren’t really going to town on their food like I was. I was so green, but ignorance is bliss. Needless to say, I think may have vomited shortly afterward.
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Can you share some career highlights? Looking back what roles have resonated with you the most?
I got to play an 80-year-old man for an episode of CSI-NY. 6 hours of prosthetic make-up every day for a week. My character was a woman who conned men out of money, and that was my get-up. I made an impression of my grandfather’s voice. I remember being on set in full wardrobe and make-up… and leaving my trailer to go to crafty. When I opened my mouth to speak, the background actors standing around jumped back and did a double-take at me- an old man asking for a diet coke with a woman’s voice. It was a hoot.
We understand you have played everything from a male con artist to an athlete or girl next door – how do you get into characters for all of your various productions?
It depends on the role and what the role requires of me. Sometimes I do hard research by reading and googling facts. Sometimes I reference films with characters that remind me of the one I’m playing. But before I do any of this, I always sit with the little bit that I know about a character before reading the script. I imagine what his or her life would be like, and I create the world they might live in.
You have acted alongside so many notable actors from Michelle Pfeiffer, James Gandolfini, James Caan, Dennis Hopper, Martin Landau, Danny Aiello and Hugh Laurie to name a few – can you share some of your most memorable moments?
James Gandolfini was a big teddy bear with a mischievous smile. Jimmy Caan had AMAZING stories of old Hollywood and actors he’d worked with like Robert Duvall (a good buddy of his), which frankly were more interesting listening to in-between takes, than the film we were working on. And Marty – what a lovely human being. We became friends for a time, but he passed a couple years later. He was a great teacher of film acting.
Having worked for so long in film and TV what are your secrets to staying active in such a challenging industry?
Lots of wine and laughter. Well, ok vigorous work outs too…! And meditation. And knowing that at the end of the day you can’t take ANY of it too seriously. After all, it is make believe.
What do you like to do when you aren’t on set?
Take long walks, work out, try new restaurants, and my new hobby is investing in Crypto.
How do you balance motherhood with all of your acting roles? Any tips to share for staying balanced?
You have to carve out your alone time. Whatever that looks like for you, it’s different for everyone. Maybe a book? A swim? Yoga? Anything that allows you to recharge. And then you have to remember to stay as a present for your children, in the same way you would a role. To really listen to their needs. When actors are working, it’s easy to be so engrossed in the work that we are unavailable for our personal lives. So, that’s the challenge. Recharge and stay present.
Can you tell us about any projects you have coming up?
I have a couple Lifetime movies coming down the pipeline, one in which I play a Ghislane Maxwell inspired character. I will also be guest-starring in the Fox show 9-1-1.
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