Eva La Rue

By Kristine Huntley
Posted at May 7, 2007 - 4:27 PM GMT

Eva La Rue joined CSI: Miami in the show's fourth season as cold case worker Natalia Boa Vista. She immediate set off sparks among the team when she found herself in the middle of a love triangle between Eric Delko (Adam Rodriguez) and Ryan Wolfe (Jonathan Togo) and was revealed as the mole in the lab, but this season has come into her own as a CSI. La Rue, whose credits include a long stint on All My Children and guest appearances in George Lopez and Soul Food, spoke with CSI Files' Kristine Huntley about her character's wild ride this season.

CSI Files: It's been quite a year for Natalia! Do you feel like she's come into her own as a CSI?

Eva La Rue: Yeah, I think what's interesting is that at the beginning of the season was the first time you got to see a CSI starting out with all the mistakes and the learning curve. Whereas you usually see everyone being really great at their jobs because they're experts, she wasn't. She was learning. But just from a learning perspective, I thought that was interesting, to see her starting out and also have the controversy of her having been the mole last year and them really not trusting her and her having to really earn their trust and work really hard for it. And then she had all of her personal drama with her ex-husband Nick, him showing up, the fact that he got killed and her being a possible murder suspect, and her sister being kidnapped--I had all kinds of soap opera stuff!

CSI Files: Did you like playing the transition from her being a cold case worker to a CSI?

La Rue: Oh yeah--it gave me so much more to do this year. It was fantastic. And I think nobody was quite sure what to do with her last year, either, with her coming on and then having that fling with Adam's character, and then nobody was quite sure if she had a fling with Wolfe as well. Personally, I don't think she did; I think they just went out on a date the one time to kind of make [Delko] mad because she felt like he had slupped her off on Wolfe, and [Ryan] had been bugging her and asking her out and she said, "Okay, I'll go." But I don't think she was ever really dating him, but it was bad. So now I would like to see her jump back into [dating] again.

CSI Files: Do you have anybody in particular you'd like to see her with?

La Rue: At the end of the season, it looks like instead of having the hots for somebody, [she] actually [has] more of empathy for [someone], a real honest-to-goodness caring about somebody.

CSI Files: Can you give us a hint who it might be?

La Rue: It's one of the boys, one of the regular boys! It will be [in the season finale] a little bit. They kind of allude to it.

CSI Files: Natalia has made a few comments about Delko and Calleigh (Emily Procter) growing closer. How do you think she feels about the romantic sparks going on between the two, given her past with Delko?

La Rue: I think she does [have feelings about it]. I think [she and] Delko have such great sexual chemistry, it's kind of one of those hot guy flings, but I don't know if it [has] any emotional depth. I think she knew when she got involved with him that he was a playboy and had all kinds of girls. So I think she never allowed herself to get totally involved there, but I don't think she can help but still be totally attracted to him so of course she feels a little jealous just based on [the fact that he's got another girl at work]. So that's why I think that the season ending with her having feelings [for someone] based on something deeper, trying to help a friend out, is different for her.

CSI Files: What did you think of Natalia's conflicted feelings for her ex-husband, Nick?

La Rue: I think it was more confusing to the audience because it was like, "Oh my god! She slept with him?" [in "Internal Affairs"] I knew when I read that that it was going to be very confusing to the audience and people might be like, "Is she crazy?" But those abusive relationships are crazy. They're crazy for the perpetrators and they're crazy for the victim. I think they're so complicated that it's not really for an outside to judge. Unless you've been part of abusive relationships--and I haven't been, but I have friends who have been--they want to please until the day they're actually extricated from the relationship, that [they believe it] when the husband says, "I love you, it will never happen again. I love you more than anybody's ever loved you and that's why I do this because I get so crazy because I love you so much." It's all the BS and all the co-dependent psychodrama, that the woman really wants to believe it, that it's going to be okay this time, that it's going to get better this time, that the person's changed. Then it goes right back to what it was. They're not able to control their feelings, they get beat up again or they get psychologically abused again, or whatever form the abuse comes in. So for me, I understood it because I have known people who've gone through it, but I was really afraid the audience wouldn't understand it, that they would just judge it without knowing where it comes from.

CSI Files: It seemed like the audience really got it from the last scene between Horatio and Natalia in that episode.

La Rue: That last scene wrapped it up really well. They let me add a line that wasn't in that last scene that was about the relationship being so complicated, that there wasn't really a better way to put it, other than that it really was so complicated. And that she really did love him. In the beginning it really was great. Relationships don't start off bad, or you wouldn't be there. They start off phenomenally, you get sucked in, there's this incredible passion and love, and then it slowly descends into madness. There are obviously really great times in the relationship that you keep thinking you're going to get back to, but the great times become fewer and fewer and the scary times become greater and greater.

CSI Files: It came across really well--that was a great episode.

La Rue: That was my favorite episode. Well--you know, I liked the triplets episode ("Triple Threat"), too. That was fun.

CSI Files: That was the first time we saw Natalia really take the lead in a case.

La Rue: It was kind of her turn! It was exciting.

CSI Files: Was that interesting to film?

La Rue: It was, because there were twin sisters who work at Disneyland--they were Disney princesses--and they came up for the filming and were the stand ins for Leslie Bibb (who played the triplets). There was so much changing of clothes and changing of hair--it was insane, and it took all day to shoot two big long scenes because we had to do it so many times and from so many different angles. But it was totally worth it and Leslie Bibb was fantastic. She's such a great girl, and so were the twins. So we really had a good time.

It was originally supposed to be Calleigh [conducting the interrogations]. All those scenes were supposed to be with Calleigh! I wouldn't have even had a shot at being the investigator, because I've been sort of the tag-along [all season] with other people on their investigations, and double-team in interviews, but this was the first time I had a chance to go it alone. But all those scenes were originally not even mine. What they realized was when they got the three blondes in the scene was that if they put the fourth blonde in the scene it would be so damn confusing to cut and edit it in the end that they were like, "Uh, we'd better throw in the brunette instead." So literally at the last second, the day before, my schedule was changed and they were like, "Hey, we're going to have you take all these scenes." It was great for me because I got a chance to do something different.

CSI Files: We met Natalia's sister in "Darkroom" when she was targeted by a serial killer. The storyline was based on something your own sister Nika La Rue was involved with?

La Rue: To tell you the truth, I guess I should say it's my favorite episode, but it's not. It's just so hard to watch because in the end I don't think I was emotionally ready to do it. It was based loosely on something my sister was unfortunately involved in when we were little. I was a teenager and she was like twelve--I'm three years older than her. So we went to one of these big open amateur photo days in the park where 25-30 amateur photographers would come and shoot [photos of] up and coming wannabe actors and models. They shoot all day and at the end of the day there was a contest where the photographers would vote on who they thought the best model of the day was. One of the photographers that day was a serial killer [William Bradford], and that's how he lured his victims [with offers of free photos]. And of course, when you're starting out, getting your picture done is a really expensive venture, so getting them free could be a lure. At his trial when he was convicted, he said, "You'll never even know how many there were."

The case was reopened over the summer because L.A. County Sheriff's Department got a cold case grant for like $45 million dollars. Oddly enough, I came aboard as a cold case grant worker. One of the first cases they reopened was this case that involved my sister because they thought there might be more people that he'd killed that they hadn't had the money to investigate before. So they put out this whole blanket publicity [campaign] and put all the pictures on the news and my sister called me and said, "Somebody called me at work and said they thought they saw a picture of me from when I was little on the news. I'm nowhere near a computer, will you look it up?" So I did and her picture was number three from a group of pictures they had found when the confiscated everything from his house.

The whole thing was surreal. So here I am calling LA County Sheriff's Department telling them my sister is number three and thank God she's alive and well. There were a lot of girls I recognized that I'd modeled with at the time or seen at an audition, but I didn't know if they were alive or dead. I'd been in New York for twelve years working on a soap opera so I hadn't seen anybody. It was just so strange, so I gave them my sister's contact information and they talked to her and then when People magazine contacted the L.A. County Sheriff's Department, the department told them that I was part of the story. So they ended up writing [a story on us]. We didn't want to be part of any publicity train on this.

I hadn't told anybody at work, only our families. Then it shows up in People magazine and then I'm getting calls from everybody on the planet, including our producer saying, "Hey, can we do this story?" And I said, I'll be honest, I don't think I'm prepared to tell it yet. We're still working through these feelings of being part of a sniper attack really, where you're standing in a crowd and some sniper starts picking off people and you're standing next to someone who got picked off and you're thinking, "There by the grace of God go us." I said, "I don't want to try to get ratings for ratings' sake based on those people having died." So I talked to my sister about it, and Nika said, "I don't want to do it unless they would show the pictures of the girls they haven't identified yet to the viewership to help the case along. That I would be interested in doing."

So I called back and told them that and Ann Donahue is just a phenomenal producer and she's just got so much heart, and she said, "Okay, let me try to figure out a way to do this." She called me back and said "We're going to do a huge PSA at the end, show all the real girls at the end of the episode and have an 800 line open at the end of the episode that people can call." It worked out great.

CSI Files: Do you know if people called afterwards?

La Rue: Yeah, they did. They actually crashed the website that night. They got more than 1,000 calls. They have identified four girls since then, and they're still working on other leads they've gotten. It really helped to identify four other girls. So it ended up being worth it.

CSI Files: I imagine it was hard to film at the time.

La Rue: It was surreal because I felt so disconnected from it. It makes me uncomfortable to watch [the episode]. I hadn't had a chance to really emotionalize it yet.

CSI Files: Going back to last season, how did you feel about the love triangle between Delko, Natalia and Ryan?

La Rue: Honestly, I was afraid that it was too soon, that I was a new character and I thought people were going to hate me. I didn't know if they were going to get me at that point because I was only in 13 of 26 episodes. It was important to me to try to get to be part of the show, and I was afraid I would be alienating the audience immediately. And I think I did. Thankfully Ann Donahue had a much longer-range plan for the character. For me as an actress, I was like, "Oh no!" And then at the end of the season when I was the mole, I thought, "Oh my god, I just lost my job! How could this happen?"

CSI Files: Ann Donahue did give an interview to CSI Files where she mentioned the mole was going to be fired.

La Rue: She told me later that she had to say that. I was so freaked out [at the time]!

CSI Files: So her plan all along was to incorporate Natalia, even though she was the mole, into the show the following season?

La Rue: I guess. I didn't know until literally the end of the season when I was reading the last script [that Natalia was the mole]. I was sitting there and I started bawling my eyes out! I called my manager and said, "I just got fired! What happened?" He called over [to Miami] immediately and they said, "No, no, no, don't worry, she's not getting fired. We have a major plan." It worked out, thank god!

CSI Files: How did you feel about Natalia being the mole in general for her character?

La Rue: I was surprised that she was the mole at the end. They had started to get her away from [being the obvious suspect] so I thought maybe I wasn't. At the beginning I thought it was going to be Natalia, but then halfway through when they had me in the love triangle, I thought maybe not. So I was sort of surprised.

CSI Files: How did you feel about moving into the next season with Natalia as the mole?

La Rue: I think a lot of people were confused as to how I got [to be a CSI after being the mole]. There was a scene that got cut in the first episode [of the season, "Rio"] that encapsulated how I ended up being [a CSI]. But I think at the end of that episode, you were like, "How the hell did she get there and why is she still there?" That part ended up on the cutting floor. It was mostly that Horatio (David Caruso) had given me another chance because they couldn't let go of me right away because I had been working for the feds, and the feds said that I didn't really do what I was supposed to have been doing because I had been reporting good things about the lab and supportive things about the lab and not telling them what they wanted to hear. They wanted to hear secrets, but the bottom line is that the lab was a good lab. So [Horatio] let me stay and gave me another chance and I worked really hard over the summer and they were giving me an opportunity, but I was still on probation.

CSI Files: It seemed like Ryan was the most hostile towards Natalia after she started working as a CSI.

La Rue: Oh yeah, he totally hated me! Alexx (Khandi Alexander) was also really hostile, but they cut those scenes too. She was just being a complete bitch to my character and they ended up cutting around those really good scenes, which was too bad because they were kind of funny. But the bottom line is that it's tough because as an editor you have to make sense of the entire show, and it can't just be about [individual] scenes. The scenes might be great or interesting, but if they don't really work with the episode, because it's always about death and dying and something serious, if it's something funny and distracting, it doesn't work.

CSI Files: Maybe they'll include it in a deleted scenes feature at some point.

La Rue: They should do a deleted scenes reel. They need to put together a blooper reel because we have so much fun. Emily and Togo are a comedy routine! The two of them together on set are hysterical! Everybody literally stands back in a circle around them and watches them go and laughs their butts off. They are so funny. He should be a stand up comedian and she should be doing sketch comedy. Her sense of humor and her bubbly personality are never seen on the show.

CSI Files: You came from a soap opera background. What are the biggest differences between daytime and nighttime work?

La Rue: At All My Children we would sometimes have 25-50 pages of dialogue a day--an insane amount. You get into the grind of it but you don't realize how grueling it is until you leave. It's so exhausting and the amount of emotional stuff you have to pull out every week, month, year [is incredible]. We don't have a hiatus to rejuvenate. You'll have a week here and there, but it's really exhausting and it really takes a toll on you. I see a lot of actresses go from being nice, bubbly fun people that when they're in the middle of a storyline that lasts four to six months, they [turn into] complete and utter bitches because it's exhausting. They're really emotionally tapped because they're doing 50 pages everyday of really heavy, emotional [material] like, 'you stole my baby' or 'you slept with someone else' or 'I was raped' or whatever. It's always some big emotional drama. And even though you're just acting and just pretending to be this person, the emotions that you're playing have to come from somewhere. They're still your tears, your body still registers it as depression after a while.

I'm not the type of actress that takes anything home, when the scene's over it's over. I can pretend in the moment that I'm the person and feel all the things that the person feels and then let it go when the scene is over. All power to people who can do that, but to me it would be really exhausting. To even play those scenes, 50 pages of it every day for a year is depressing. And you don't realize how much it takes over your life. So this job is a godsend! Eight pages total in a day is fantastic! I go to work and laugh, my co-workers are great, we have a 12-hour day which is unheard of in nighttime TV. I have time with my kid, I have time with my friends, I have time with my family--it's wonderful.

Not to put down daytime, because let me tell you, it's the best place to hone your skills on the page. It's better than any other facet of the business. It's a really fantastic family there, and I miss that family, but it's tough. The acting on soaps is so good and so strong. It's the production values that are not good, that make it look cheesy, sadly. If any of those actors were doing network nighttime TV, they'd have great lighting, the editing would be brilliant and the sets would be great. Take those same scenes and put them on film and edit them beautifully and it goes from being cheesy looking to be really phenomenal acting. I've seen scenes and storylines on daytime that have been so outstanding that there isn't a single scene in nighttime that can touch it. When the culmination of a storyline on daytime happens and they write it beautifully and the actor is great [it's wonderful]. You don't get that kind of time on nighttime, but in daytime they can write meaty stuff and they've got all the time in the world to tell the story. Sometimes you'll get an eight-minute scene that's just you and you're going to town, if all the things collide to be great, and you have, I think, sometimes better work than you have on nighttime.

CSI Files: What are your plans for hiatus?

La Rue: I went off to Barbados [after we finished shooting]. I'm going to do a documentary on Uganda. We're going to film some of it there, and a lot of the interviews are going to be done here in the United States with a lot of world leaders like Tony Blair, Kofi Annan, Bill Clinton, and Bono. It's based on a company here in Riverside, California, had patented a software for transparent accounting and Uganda is going to be the first in the world to use it in their government. They got three million dollar debt relief, but the very corrupt government stole a lot of that three million. So the other countries that have been aiding them before were overly reluctant to give them another dime. Now anyone who goes in there to give them money will be able to track their money in real time 24 hours a day. I feel like it's really the beginning of a real world change, certainly in third world countries because they'll be the first and then once that's implemented, it will probably be a prerequisite for any big country giving a little country money. And maybe someday it will come to the United States!

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Kristine Huntley is a freelance writer and reviewer.