ETALK Senior Correspondent and co-host of THE SOCIAL, Lainey Lui, recently travelled to Ottawa for an exclusive one-on-one interview with award-winning Canadian actress, Sandra Oh to discuss her hit series, KILLING EVE (Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo). Referring to the interview as “the highlight of her career,” Lainey Lui describes her experience with Sandra Oh and what went in to preparing for this milestone interview.
The 30-minute special, ETALK PRESENTS: COMING HOME WITH SANDRA OH premieres this Friday, May 24 at 7 p.m. ET on CTV.
Here is a behind-the-scenes look at the exclusive sit-down interview:
- Why was this interview such a milestone in your career?
Sandra Oh has done so much to represent Asian Canadian women in the media. As an Asian Canadian woman myself, I did not want to disrespect her work and her legacy by not bringing my best work. It's so rare to have this much time with celebrities and I intended to make the most of every minute – so that she could tell her story the way she wanted it told, which is the best way to honour her.
- What research did you complete prior to the interview?
Most of the research was already done as I have followed her career and admired her performances. Before the interview, I read back her past interviews and watched old clips, and our producer, Joanna, went through ETALK's extensive Sandra Oh archive so that I could build on our history with her. Mostly, though, I studied her work, in particular her work on KILLING EVE, so that we could go beyond the surface of her character and really deep dive into the story that she and her colleagues are telling.
- What makes Sandra such an amazing interview?
Sandra Oh is thoughtful and considerate. She's also a great listener, because she's interested in having a conversation, which requires input on both sides. During our interview, she didn't seem to be interested in being "interviewed," rather, she wanted to talk, to exchange ideas and opinions, to participate in a real discussion. And, on top of that, she's a professional. She respected that I was there because I had a job to do. And she knew that her job, in that moment, was to help me do mine. Not all celebrities are as gracious and generous.
- You mention that ETALK has several archived videos of Sandra’s parents; how did you choose which archive to show her, and how did she react to the video?
Our producer, Joanna, had selected a few archive options of Sandra's parents and asked me to pick my favourites. I wanted to show Sandra a clip of her parents talking about how proud they were of her, but also one that played off a joke that she's told about her parents being on camera all the time. When I played it for her, her face lit up, she was delighted, and she made another joke about how she really did have to start better managing their "celebrity" status.
- What did the day of the interview feel like?
I was nervous but the day went smoothly. Sandra was right on time, we weren't anxiously waiting for her. The National Arts Centre is gorgeous and the room we were shooting in was full of light. That's pretty much what it felt like: light and airy, and afterwards it was like I was floating, I was so happy with how it went.
- What moment in this interview do you believe was the most monumental or meaningful?
Sandra had recently been in New York as one of TIME's 100 Most Influential People. She was named to the list as a "Pioneer". So I asked her, "Do you feel like a Pioneer?" Her answer really moved me as she spoke about representation and the importance of telling different stories. Also, we talked about her hair. We are all obsessed with her hair!
- Why is it so important to have discussions like these with Canadian talent?
Canada is a major talent incubator and our creatives are contributing to the worldwide entertainment industry in profound ways. These discussions are important because they can model the next generation of Canadian talent. There are young, aspiring artists in this country waiting to walk through the doors that stars like Sandra are opening.
ETALK PRESENTS: COMING HOME WITH SANDRA OH airs this Friday, May 24 at 7 p.m. ET on CTV.
The Season 2 finale of KILLING EVE airs this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo. Viewers can catch up on Season 1 on Crave.