Marla Sokoloff Saves the World (in Heels) in NBC's 'Meteor'
Tonight's cuppa: Iced coffee at Coogie's in Malibu
Marla Sokoloff's excellent 'Meteor' adventure
By Kate O'Hare
In the new, four-hour NBC miniseries "Meteor," airing on consecutive Sundays, July 12 and 19, Marla Sokoloff ("The Practice") tries to save the world from a giant meteor strike that means a sure and fiery doom for every living thing.
As scientist Imogene O'Neil, she must continue the work of her boss, Dr. Lehman (Christopher Lloyd), and get vital information to a government scientist, Dr. Chetwyn (Jason Alexander), that may prevent the planet from being blasted to smithereens.
And Sokoloff (below, with Billy Campbell) wasn't about to do all this in a pair of flats or running shoes, despite the fact that she was covering a lot of rough ground in the desert just outside of Los Angeles last summer.
"I had high-heeled boots on," Sokoloff says. "It was a huge fight with the producer, because I did have to do a lot of running. I'm five-two, and I have never, ever been on film in my entire career without having height. That's just not fair. No, I need my high heels.'
"So I'm like, 'You're going to have to run. You're going to have to have a gun, do all these things.' I'm like, 'I can do it. I can pull it off.'
"Then, one day, I fell -- major, like, totally scraped up. He was standing off to the side, and I didn't even want to look at him, because he had the biggest, 'I told you so' look on his face, just like, 'Really? You had to wear the high heels? Because I don't know if you would have fallen had you not picked those shoes.'"
While Sokoloff may not be the equal of "Alias" star Jennifer Garner for saving the world in stilettos, she does get to do quite a lot of action-hero stuff in "Meteor," along with being a computer literate scientist.
"I actually thought it was quite hilarious when I got offered this job," she says, "and I was playing a scientist -- not only a scientist, but one who saves the world. I'm like, 'Really? Me? OK.'
"But a couple of the crew guys told me, 'You were the last person I thought they were going to cast.' I was like, 'Thanks, I think.' I'm not sure it's a compliment."
"Meteor" also stars Stacy Keach ("Prison Break") as small-town California Sheriff Crowe, and Billy Campbell as his son, Jack, an LAPD officer who's hot on the trail of his corrupt, dangerous partner, Calvin Stark (Michael Rooker).
At one point, Imogene crosses paths with Stark, meaning Sokoloff got to work with Rooker (below), whom she found pretty intense.
"He throws himself in there," Sokoloff says. "I envy his energy. I don't have it. I don't know where it comes from. He is a ball of energy, nonstop, at four in the morning, four in the afternoon, doesn't matter. He's on fire."
Apparently just having Campbell around was a treat in itself.
"He's very sexy," Sokoloff says, "and really soft-spoken and nice. We had, by the makeup trailer, one of those blow-up pools, because it was so hot. He used to sit in there with no shirt on, and the women literally were taking pictures to e-mail their friends or something.
"I'm like, 'He's not this monkey in a cage. You can't just take his picture.' But he didn't mind."
In the meteor-themed feature film "Deep Impact," Tea Leoni played an MSNBC reporter who covered the impending end of the world while keeping her pearls intact.
"Of course!" says Sokoloff. "I had a joke with the makeup artist on 'Meteor.' He had done my makeup before, and he does his so-called 'beauty makeup,' where he makes you look like a different person, and you look amazing. But he also had to put sweat and dirt and glycerin disgustingness on me.
"He was like,' I swear, I'm going to make you look like Brigitte Bardot in the desert.' That was his mission. 'I am not going to have you walking around with dirt on your face, and blood, and not look good.'"
As a native of northern California,
"I would say, I do worry about the earthquakes, but not meteors. I didn't even really think -- not to sound naÃ¯ve, but really, a meteor? I don't know if that even crossed my mind in the 28 years I've been on this planet."
Now that she's had a taste of being an action heroine, Sokoloff is considering trying it again.
"I think so," she says, "definitely think so. I had a lot of fun. It was a totally new world for me, and I would love to explore more."