Becky Newton is ready for a new challenge. She is best known for her comedy work in the ugly Betty and How I Met Your MotherNewton will change the genre for his first dramatic role on Netflix Lincoln’s lawyer. Based on a series of novels by Michael Connelly, Lincoln’s lawyer starring Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Mickey Haller, a magnetic defender who is once again in the spotlight after the death of his former legal partner. The title stems from the fact that Haller likes to work in the back seat of his Lincoln Town Car.
Newton plays Lorna, Haller’s witty second ex-wife, who helps with his daily activities. Lorna helps Mickey with his biggest case, defending a tech guru accused of killing his ex-wife and her lover. Digital Trends talks to Newton about her attraction to play brave characters, prefers to work in television to movies and whether she is tired of questions about the ugly Betty restart.
Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Digital trends: Now correct me if I’m wrong, because it may just be a strange coincidence. You’ve been called a CBS comedy pilot Fun this was eventually passed on in 2020. Days before that, CBS also passed Lincoln’s lawyer by David E. Kelly. Is there any connection between the two in terms of how you followed this show for Netflix, or is it a coincidence?
Becky Newton: You may be an evil genius because I never put it together until you said so. It’s all a wonderful coincidence, as most things are in this business. I attribute this to just the world, which usually falls apart at that time, and less specifically to me. But yes, it’s a complete coincidence.
What attracted you to the role of Lorna?
I liked that she was a disrespectful, brave, intelligent woman. I really liked the fact that I would be able to play with a character in a more dramatic setting. I thought it was a really great combination that I hadn’t explored before. This is actually my first drama. I’ve always done only comedies and maybe dramas, but I liked the idea of playing this role in a kind of more reasonable world of this legal environment.
From your experience, what is it about comedy roles that stands out for you? Do they only offer you comedy roles? Did it make sense to stick to this type of role?
I do not know. I think I’m attracted to brave heroes in general. I was lucky to find many of them in comedy. So that was a different tone for me. But I felt that the hero was strong, interesting and fearless. I hadn’t seen many such characters in dramatic worlds, so I just took the opportunity to do so.
So, is there an action thriller in your future?
While I can wear very bright, colorful pants, I will definitely do an action thriller.
I had the opportunity to talk to Manuel, and he described Mickey and Lorna’s relationship as Batman and Robin. I was curious how you look at this complex professional relationship that the two characters share in the show.
I see this as a very modern approach to a relationship that has gone through different forms. I think the fact that they were married now, not married, but still working together and supporting each other, is a really interesting dynamic that we don’t see much about. They are not angry with each other. It is clear that we do not really know what happened, but there is still so much love between them and so much support. I love the corner of Batman and Robin. I’ll talk to Manuel about it when I see him on Monday.
Did you have experience with the source material from the books or the 2011 film with Matthew McConaughey?
I did with both. Love it. It’s so much fun. I’ve always looked at this type of material just as a reader, but I never imagined that I was in this world as an actress. So I think that was part of the appeal. It was something I never expected to do. I thought it would be such an interesting challenge to see where I could fit into a world like this.
In addition, did you find additional pressure, knowing that you need to satisfy both the TV audience and a dedicated fan base of books?
I think when we started asking, the idea was that we were trying not to copy anything. We are trying to infuse it with a new look at it. So I think people who love books will respond well to that, because it’s a new look at something they already love. I tried not to put pressure on him. I tried to make my own version and respect what was on the page, while putting as much of myself into it as possible.
David E. Kelly created this project. If there’s anyone who knows legal dramas, it’s him. Just look at his experience. Does this almost reassure you that you will be working with one of the most successful showrunners in the last 30 years?
Since I was a little fish out of the water, I felt really comfortable diving into this world, because on the set you felt that all the directors were familiar with the world of legal drama. I have no idea. I can’t even say if I’ve ever been to a courtroom before, other than the one that was built on the set. So I definitely trusted that the team behind it knew exactly what they were doing, and I was able to present my new look at Lorna’s character.
Throughout your career, you have gravitated toward imperfect characters. These characters have fascinating qualities, but they also have insecurities. What do you like about these roles?
Well, I think we’re all very imperfect. There is nothing interesting about playing the perfect person on television, because no one is. So every time I watch a character, the first thing I look for are the cracks, because that makes someone interesting. I was lucky to play these very strong women who can look very polished on the outside. But for me, what makes them interesting is what lies beneath it. Why do they have to work so hard to look so perfect? What are they trying to cover up? What are they struggling with? I have always been attracted to such women.
Looking at yours IMDB, television is your bread and butter. Do you prefer to work in television before movies?
Yes. I love television. I love graphics. I love the routine of this. I was lucky. This is the place where I managed to work and work quite consistently all these years. I just like it. I absolutely love being on set.
You are ahead of your time, because now there are many good roles on television. You could say that 10 years ago this show was going to be a movie, which it was.
This is interesting. I would like to say that I am ahead of my time. I think looking back, I was just very grateful to be working.
You’ve been on two hit shows, the ugly Betty and How I Met Your Motherwho have huge fans. Are you tired of being asked to restart?
No! Just the fact that I’ve been a part of shows that people still talk about. I never imagined it. Like when I got it the ugly Betty, I was doing ads for Olive Garden. I really fell from the sky. So the fact that so early I was able to be a part of something that people still come to me and talk about … it’s amazing. What a gift this is. And that I’ve been to a few shows that have these amazing fans and influenced people, I’m just the happiest person.
Your character is included The ugly Betty, Amanda Tannen had a spin on the web series. Have you ever said to yourself, “Wow, we’re ahead of our time” when we did an internet show?
Yesterday, Michael [Urie, Newton’s Ugly Betty co-star] and we were together, forwarding lines from After hours modeso we still live it. It was so much fun. When I think of some of the jokes our characters played, I mean, it was just such a gift and set such a precedent. Michael and I talked about it yesterday. We managed to be so creative and part of something so exciting that it set this great standard for what we can watch when we work on television. These great people and these great attitudes and these amazing professionals to work with like Judith Light and America Ferrera and Vanessa Williams. It was so early as a master class on how to behave on set and how to deal with these characters and how much fun you can have when you work really hard together. I was very, very lucky to experience this so soon.
You watch what people watch today, which are shorter episodes. It’s all on their phones. They watch TikTok or YouTube.
This is interesting. I never thought about it, for sure. You’re right. This content would be really great these days.
What people can expect Lincoln’s lawyer? Why do you need to adjust?
I think there’s a tone that’s really cool about that. There is all the intrigue as a typical legal drama. But there are also these different tastes like the taste of LA. The show paints LA in this really great way. It is visually beautiful. There is also fun with many of the characters, especially the supporting characters. There is a lot of humor even in the context of these very serious cases they are dealing with. So I think it’s just new and different and a twist on something we’ve seen before and enjoyed.
Is there anything you’d like to explore with Lorna in a potential second season?
This is how I know I like the character. I have a feeling there are a million things I would like to know about Lorna. For me, I know that he is such a full-fledged character because there are so many things I would like to know and I think there is so much to explore. I know we can learn so much about Lorna.
Lincoln’s lawyer Season 1 is now airing on Netflix.
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