So now you’re starring in Dexter. What is your character Lila’s relationship with the eponymous serial killer?
I can’t tell you the ins and outs as that would spoil the storyline, but she’s an artist and meth addict and they met at Narcotics Anonymous. It’s a really interesting development in the story because she’s able to talk about his dark side and his compulsion to kill as if it were an addiction. He uses the language of addiction, but we know what he’s really talking about, so it allows you a window into him that you haven’t previously had.
You’re a Brit – how did you get involved in a hit US show?
I went for a casting and I got the job! People think that in Hollywood someone sees you in a bank and suddenly you become a movie star – no. It’s a business: you go for castings, people have meetings, you screen-test and do “chemistry reads”… and then sometimes you get the job.
Does Dexter feel like your big break?
It’s great. But the funny thing is I didn’t know about it when I got it. I’d come over here and got the lead in an amazing pilot for CBS called Demons, but for whatever reason it didn’t get picked up. When that happens, you’re kind of a bit wounded. So then I got Dexter but I’d never watched it. They sent me the first season on the Friday and I watched it back to back over that weekend, staying up late in the night, freaking myself out and going to bed on my own, scared. Then on Monday morning, I went to the read-through and I was just like a complete nerdy fan! I didn’t know till the last minute how amazing it was.
But would you recommend it to your grandma to watch?
Well, actually, Lila’s a bit of a goer, so maybe Nanny wouldn’t want to see it.
How’s Hollywood treating you?
Industry-wise, you’re in the hub of the machine here. You’re an oddity in England if you’re an actor, whereas in LA you’re an oddity if you’re not somehow involved in “the business”. I’d say the main difference is that the food on set is better – it’s amazing! You remember the treat cupboard they always had at your friend’s house when you were a kid? It’s like a big one of those. And of course it’s sunny every day. I just want everyone to come here and then it would be perfect.
Where does all this leave Hustle?
I’d love to do another season, but it’s a matter of when. We had an amazing ensemble cast. If there was a chance we could all get together, I think everybody, in theory, would love to do it. We all had so much fun and adored each other – it’s just a matter of the logistics of getting five working actors back together again.
I’m sure a large wad of cash would do it…
Yeah, yeah. And a few foot rubs. I’d be there for that! Perhaps Robert Vaughn giving me a head massage.
We saw you briefly dressed as Wonder Woman in Hustle. Then the rumour went round that you were going to play her in a movie version. True?
That’d be wonderful, wouldn’t it! I think I’m going to go to my next casting dressed in spandex. Tell you the truth, I didn’t know there was a film. I did go in on an [animated] project over here for Wonder Woman, but it got dropped because of the writers’ strike.
Did you have to go to the audition wearing enormous pants?
I try not to wear pants at all.
Gets you a long way in Hollywood.
Exactly. Spandex and no pants.
One final question: has anyone pointed out that you’ve got the I and M in your name the wrong way round?
I was actually named after Jaime Sommers, the Bionic Woman [in the 1970s] – who Michelle Ryan immortalised last year. My parents also called me Jaime because it spelt “I love” in French.