It must've been especially repetitive since you'd only worked before on film projects.
But in a television series, you feel less pressure. In a movie, it's like, "This scene has to be the best scene because there's only five scenes you're in." So there's much more freedom [in a television series]. I feel like I grew more as an actor in this than any movie I could ever do.
Would you consider another television show?
I would do a half-hour comedy in New York. Like Bored to Death. I love that show. If HBO or one of the cable networks came to me with something incredible that shot in New York, I would consider it for sure. But never network TV — way too much commitment. Never out West again.
You really didn't like it in LA, did you?
No. Not the show, the town. The town gives me a lot of anxiety. I don't feel like myself there. I just feel uncomfortable in my skin there. I've been going there since I was 19 — you'd think I'd get over it. But it just gives me so much anxiety, you hear about the business, "What are you doing next?" Even if you're hanging out with people who aren't in the business, they talk about the fucking business. Here [in New York], nobody asks me about it.
What's your favorite scene fromBig Love?
I can't really watch it. But as somebody who was there, there's so many — there's 53 hours of television. [Laughs] As far as performance-wise, I've had so many dramatic scenes. Like always, my top is just spinning and the stakes are really high. And I'm always like, [in a mock melodramatic voice] "Oh nooo, it's the end of the world!" I loved doing those.
You know what was really fun? When I drunk-dialed Ray Henry [actor Charles Esten], who was my love interest once, and I thought it was so hilarious to see that character [Nicky] drunk. That was really fun to play — and hard — and I was by myself. [Laughs] I like scenes by myself. Because you don't have anyone you need to play off of.
Overall, you seem to choose films with extreme premises or characters. What draws you to extremes?
You mean: why aren't I in romantic comedies, like my mother wishes? [Laughs] My Mom's like, "Why don't you make happy movies, Chloë?" I'm like, "I don't know, Mom." She asks, "Wouldn't it be nice just to be in a happy movie?" I say, "Yeah, that would be nice." It just hasn't come my way. Or one that I find interesting hasn't come my way.
Is it that what you've been offered hasn't been "happy," or is it that "happy" doesn't interest you?
When I was younger, I was offered parts in Never Been Kissed as the nerdy friend and the nerdy friend in Legally Blonde. Now I wish I had taken those parts. But I had this whole, young, "I'm only gonna do indie" attitude. Like, "I don't want to be in any fluff, popcorn movies." If I had done those, I think I would be able to show a range that would be easier for me to now get my foot in the door more with commercial work. The studios, they're just really not interested in me. If I had done that, even those little parts then — they were movies that made money, first of all — I would've been able to show a comedic thing in a studio picture along with huge movie stars. So I kind of shot myself in the foot. It was just what happened. You make those choices and you have to live with them. Now I wouldn't be opposed to it.