Julia Stiles works her wiles on 'Dexter'
Under normal circumstances, that probably would be a good thing ... but when you're also a secret serial killer, someone new entering your life only can complicate matters. In a rare television role,
Her character, the unusually named Lumen, literally lands in the arms of Miami police forensics investigator Dexter (
Known for such big-screen projects as "The Bourne Identity" and "Save the Last Dance," Stiles became a "Dexter" fan shortly before she got the part, and she admits her history with the show was a bit backward.
"I saw season four on Showtime on Demand right after it aired," she says, "and I got hooked. Then I went back and watched seasons one, two and three consecutively after that. It was a little out of order, but season four was what got me."
Stiles recalls that while she was becoming immersed in "Dexter" initially, "I had heard they were writing a part for a young woman, but they hadn't offered it to me. I had heard from so many people that the show was great, I just finally got around to watching it. (Getting the offer) was really exciting, but also terrifying for a number of reasons.
"One was that I knew John Lithgow's shoes are big ones to fill, but the producers assured me that they were going in a different direction, and they weren't going to try to repeat or top what had been done. Also, they're very secretive about the content of the show, so I couldn't really read a script. They had to explain the character to me and what she would go through during the season, so it was all very conceptual."
Thus, Stiles confirms, "It was a little bit of a leap of faith, but because I know that the show is really good and that Michael is a terrific actor -- and that most of my scenes would be with him -- I was ready to take that leap."
Other new "Dexter" cast additions include
As for Lumen, Stiles agrees that now is "an interesting place for a female to enter (Dexter's) life. I told Michael and the other producers that I thought they were so bold to start this season where they did and confront all the things Dexter has to deal with, rather than gloss over them. A new woman entering the picture is obviously going to cause problems for Dexter, which is what makes their relationship interesting. Some people are questioning whether Lumen is a replacement for Rita, but it's much more complicated than that."
If romance is in the cards for Dexter and Lumen, Stiles has no worries about Hall's wife being present for such scenes. She is co-star Jennifer Carpenter, alias Dexter's half sister and fellow cop Debra, and Stiles reports "everyone on the set is very professional, so there's no discomfort. She's a really nice woman, and she reached out to me immediately and gave me her phone number and said, 'If you want to hang out, by all means, call.' That was a really nice gesture."
Stiles calls Hall "very inspiring" and not only for his fight against
As evidenced by Lithgow and other actors who have had temporary stays on "Dexter," such as
"Once they put a face and a personality to the character, they write for the actor," Stiles notes. "They write to your strengths, and it's really nice when that comes together, so I'm happy to jump on this bandwagon.
"The show is already established, and I respect and like what they do, so I don't really have to go to the writers and change anything. A lot of times, you make a movie, and it comes out differently than what you would have expected, or the marketing campaign isn't what you would have hoped for. With this, I feel that all I have to do is show up and do a good job, and everything else will be taken care of. That's a wonderful opportunity."
Now well into filming her "Dexter" role, Stiles is finding -- to her considerable relief -- that she has a lot of allies in keeping the show's secrets. She says, "People will ask the question, 'What's going to happen?' but then they don't really want to know the answer. It's been easy to dodge that."