Jamie-Lynn Sigler, the actress from Jericho best known for her role as Meadow in the hit HBO series The Sopranos, has been busy of late juggling film roles and starting her family. The doe-eyed, 36-year-old brunette beauty spoke with the Press about how she prepared for her first Western, her pregnancy and her favorite local pizzeria.
Long Island Press: Have you decided on a name yet for your second boy on the way?
Jamie-Lynn Sigler: We’re toying with one, like we did with our son Beau. We chose, obviously, Beau, but we had a couple of others. We feel like we need to meet him and then figure it out. We’ve got some ideas, but it’s a D-Day decision.
LIP: What are some of your favorite memories growing up on Long Island?
JLS: Growing up on Long Island makes me think of riding my bike around West Birchwood with my friends every day after school. And there was so much to offer for me as a performer on Long Island. So many community theaters, dance schools, acting schools, voice teachers. I never had to go into the city to feel like I would be getting any more professional guidance than I already was finding on Long Island. It really had everything I ever needed or wanted.
LIP: Your husband, Cutter Dykstra, was born in Manhasset, giving you both local ties. Are there places that you must go when you visit?
JLS: My husband equates visiting my parents with bagels and pizza. My parents live in Plainview now, so we’re always getting bagels from Town Bagel and pizza from La Piazza. They’re my two things that I look forward to most food-wise when I get home. A lot of my friends from high school live on Long Island, have their kids there. It’s all about reconnecting.
LIP: You’ve dabbled in genres from comedies to thrillers, but Justice is your first Western. How was that different?
JLS: I didn’t think I’d ever be considered for a Western. People associate me with being Italian, which I’m not, and being New York-y. To play this Midwestern ranchers daughter from the 1800s was a dream because, as an actress, you always want to play something completely opposite what you are. And getting the opportunity to be part of Justice, to work with the people I got to work with on the Bonanza Ranch in New Mexico, was just magical.
LIP: In Justice, you play Melissa, a teacher who tells a U.S. Marshal that his brother was murdered. How did you prepare?
JLS: I watched a lot of films that were similar in tone. Studying a lot about the times. What was the temperature with society at the time, the corruptness of government, the ideas of slavery, of religion. Just doing my homework.
LIP: Before The Sopranos, one of your first films was the mob-themed A Brooklyn State of Mind, and now you’re back in the genre with In The Absence of Good Men, due out next year. Can you talk about what draws you to mafia roles?
JLS: They just find me. I look Italian, so I fit the part well. Martin Scorsese is one of my favorite filmmakers and one of my favorite movies ever is Goodfellas. Maybe the universe is getting me and understanding the vibe of things that I like.
LIP: Instead of modern-day New York and New Jersey, your next mob role is as flapper Lulu Rolfe in Prohibition-era Chicago. Was that challenging?
JLS: No, it was so much fun. Learning about Jack [McGurn] and Lulu and his history and how he fell into the mob and her history and how she was this hellcat that fell in love. And they desperately wanted to get away from that life that they had found themselves in and be normal people and start a family.
LIP: You went public last year about being diagnosed with MS 15 years ago. Was the reaction as positive as you’d hoped?
JLS: I didn’t have any expectations about what any type of reaction would be. It was just an opportunity to free myself up from this secret prison that I had set myself in. Ever since, it’s given me this new-found purpose, things to do with my life other than acting. Trying to be an advocate for those that suffer in silence. It does feel better to know that other people are understanding of what you’re dealing with.
LIP: You’ve referred to the much-talked-about series finale of The Sopranos as brilliant. Where do you think Meadow, AJ, Tony and Carmella are today?
JLS: I think it all ended right there. I wouldn’t say for all of them, but for Tony. And I think it was inevitable. If it didn’t end then, it was going to happen. In many ways that’s what the finale was showing us. The family’s only choice was to live in denial. It was no secret that at some point it was going to catch up to him.