By Emily Feimster
She played the kind of girl every guy wanted to be with on "Ed" and now she plays the kind of woman every man is afraid of on "Boston Legal." Yes, Julie Bowen
is making quite a name for herself in the TV world.
"So far things are going fantastically," says Bowen of her gig as the tough lawyer Denise Bauers, who is nothing like the actress in real life. "Not even vaguely. I'm continually concerned about what other people think of me," she adds. "It's fun, though, because it's all in the writing and you just take a breath and jump."
Working with the likes of Emmy winners James Spader, William Shatner, and Candice Bergen ain't too shabby either! "It's exciting for me to get to work with such a distinguished cast. Right away they all assured me they've all been the new guy somewhere at some point. This certainly isn't anybody's first clam bake." Ah, spoken like a true Northerner!
Hollywood is definitely a long way from home for the Maryland native, who was an Italian Renaissance Studies major at Brown University. Gee, that's gotta come in handy. "Hardly," she says with a laugh. "As a matter of fact, they made me speak a bunch of Italian in one episode. I think they were just testing me."
So what made the studious Bowen get into acting? "I don't know that there was any one specific thing," she responds. "As kids, we were not really allowed to watch much television so we spent a lot of time entertaining ourselves out in the backyard by putting on plays. It seemed normal to me. I thought that's what everybody did. So when the opportunity came to do it more at school and then audition for jobs, I thought, 'Hey, you can make a living at this, why not?'" That's right! Why the heck not?
After moving to Los Angeles, Bowen snagged some roles on a few smaller movies, but her big break came in 1996 when she was cast as Adam Sandler's love interest in "Happy Gilmore." It led to a recurring guest role on "ER," which eventually led to a number of other notable projects including "Joe Somebody" with Tim Allen.
Though she has no regrets about her decision to be an actor, Bowen admits the business can be a lot harder than she ever imagined. "It's always tougher, always sillier, always a little bit nonsensical," she claims. "It sometimes is a mystery to me. I think one of the only reasons why I've had any career at all is that I have the unique ability not to pay too much attention to all the negative stuff and the 'no's' that you get because you get a lot of no's along the way. You just keep plugging away until you hear some yeses."
Fortunately, Bowen's been getting quite a number of yeses in the last few years. "It's a little shocking that they keep hiring me, but I'm delighted." Let's see?she's smart, funny, beautiful?um, yeah, it's not such a shock to us. "I keep saying as long as they're going to hire me, I'm going to keep trying to do it. I always think if the roles dry up, I don't want to stick around and make myself unwelcome."
In the meantime, Bowen is not only enjoying her new job, but her new husband, software executive Scott Phillips, whom she married last September. Though she hopes to be a mom in the future, those 17-hour days on set aren't making it sound too tempting anytime soon. "We just recently got married but it's certainly somewhere in the mix, hopefully," she adds. "There's a lot going on right now but I sure look forward to it when the time is right."
So what does this talented actress hope for the future? "I would love to get comfortable enough with myself and my job to be able to hold my own on the screen with somebody as profoundly talented as James Spader. I'm sure people want to win awards and stuff, but I just want to feel comfortable doing what I do," she responds. "I want to be the person my dog thinks I am." Hey, don't we all!