You may not know Malin Akerman‘s name but you’ll definitely recognize her face. That’s because the model-turned-actress has had a pretty impressive career since she moved from Toronto to Hollywood, knocking lines on the big screen with the likes of Ben Stiller and Sandra Bullock, and also starring in her own television show, Trophy Wife, alongside Bradley Whitford.
That particular critically acclaimed comedy may be over, but Malin (pronounced Mah-lin) is ready to take her next big step: starring in the highly anticipated Showtime drama Billions (available now on CraveTV) alongside Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti. And if the early reviews are any indication, this role will land the Canadian alongside some other pretty notable leading ladies in the drama categories at the Golden Globes next year.
It’s exactly the kind of meaty, dramatic role that the actress, who could probably skip the audition process when it comes to comedy, was looking to do next. In order to land the part of Lara Axelrod, she spent an entire holiday break auditioning for everyone from the producers and director to the Showtime brass themselves.
“She’s a ballbuster.”
“She’s a ballbuster. I like that [Lara] doesn’t stand down and stands up for what she thinks is right, which is family,”Akerman tells us. “She comes from humble beginnings and has been very driven her whole life, and it comes to this point, where she and her husband are this power couple in the world of Wall Street.”
Indeed, Akerman’s onscreen husband, Bobby Axelrod (Lewis) is a big Wall Street mogul who comes under investigation by US Attorney Chuck Rhoades (Giamatti) for supposed insider trading. Before that completely unravels in a game of cat-and-mouse, however, he and his wife seem to be on top of the world. It’s a kick-ass role that Akerman pretty much seems born to play.
“There’s an equal power between them, one can’t really do without the other,” Akerman explains. “They bounce ideas off each other, they respect one another and keep the integrity within the relationship. She’s a powerhouse.”
The strong-woman-behind-the-man phenomenon isn’t a new one on television; even on Billions, Akerman is joined by Maggie Siff (Sons of Anarchy), who is equally kick-ass as Giamatti’s onscreen wife. It’s a shift Akerman first noticed with Robin Wright‘s role of Claire Underwood on House of Cards, which was a strong motivating force behind her looking for a dramatic role.
“She’s phenomenal to watch, I love that show,” Akerman says. “There are definitely similarities [between our characters], because they’re in those worlds of power. I think the difference is Lara is a mother and she has a softness and nurturing quality to her. You get to see that softness quite a bit, she’s not as callous and cold as Robin’s character can be at times.”
That doesn’t mean the actress doesn’t know how to play against Canuck stereotype and let her inner B-card fly whenever necessary, mind you. In fact that’s one of the fun things about playing this role for Akerman.
“Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness because that’s not the case.”
“It’s so much fun, I get to live vicariously through Lara and say all the things that I’d like to say, but never quite have the chutzpah to,” she says. “Working in this world and really fighting for a position in Hollywood, you do end up growing some skin on your nose. Coming from Canada, the one thing I see myself saying every now and then is, ‘Don’t mistake my kindness for weakness because that’s not the case.’ So as much as I may be kind, don’t step on my toes.”
Consider us warned, Malin.