So many young actresses grow up dreaming of shooting under the big lights in Hollywood. For British Columbia native Ali Liebert (Bomb Girls), she got to see those dreams come true earlier this year when she shot on the Paramount lot for Season 1 of the ABC/CTV series Ten Days in the Valley. In the new drama series, Emmy Award-winning actress Kyra Sedgwick stars as Jane Sadler, an overworked TV showrunner whose young daughter goes missing in the middle of the night. Liebert got the chance to live out another personal dream, playing a cop, when she was cast as Detective Nickole Bilson, who is assigned to Jane’s daughter’s case.
After starring as Betty McRae on the Canadian drama Bomb Girls, Liebert has long been a favorite of ours here at The TV Junkies. So naturally we were thrilled to hear she was cast in Ten Days, from creator and fellow Canadian Tassie Cameron (Rookie Blue, Mary Kills People). We were able to catch up with Liebert, and talk exclusively about this new role, earlier this year when she attended ClexaCon in Las Vegas. At the time of our conversation, Liebert had just began shooting Ten Days in the Valley and she previewed what she could about the new role, as well as why she was so excited about the opportunity that lay before her.
The TV Junkies: How did this opportunity for Ten Days in the Valley come about?
Ali Liebert: It was just a regular old audition that came in my inbox. I had actually met Kyra in the summer because she was up in Vancouver directing a movie. My friend was producing it, and she asked me if I would come in the casting sessions and read across the people auditioning. I did that for a couple days and got to know Kyra. That’s what I used to do for a part time job before I was working all the time, I was a casting assistant. I just loved it because you get to see all these other actors, see what they do and act with them.
So I met Kyra, but the audition was just a regular audition. It was all so quick though because they had already started shooting the first episode. From the time I auditioned, to the time I was on set shooting was less than one week, which is really quick timing!
TTVJ: Since this is your first experience shooting in Hollywood, how does it differ from shooting in Canada?
AL: Shooting at Paramount Pictures is unbelievable. My friend Cory Monteith who did Glee, I had visited him several times on set, but when you’re actually driving there to go to work it’s like ‘I can’t even…’ Kyra checked in with me a couple days ago — she has such a huge heart and is so sincere — and actually asked me how everything was going. I geekily confessed ‘I can’t believe we’re shooting here!’ She goes ‘I can’t believe we’re shooting here!’ So she’s geeking out too because it’s such an iconic and beautiful studio.
TTVJ: So you knew Kyra, but did you know any of the other cast like Erika Christensen?
AL: I had done a Hallmark movie with Erika about two years ago, but those are the only two people that I knew beforehand. But we’ve also got people like Emily Kinney (The Walking Dead) who is really cool.
TTVJ: I love that it’s all these powerful ladies!
AL: There’s a lot of incredible women on it. With most of the producers and Tassie Cameron running things it’s very female-centric.
TTVJ: You have said that you love this role because you always wanted to play a cop. Is it living up to your expectations? Did you have to do any specific training?
AL: I didn’t do any kind of training. I always wanted to play a detective, but like any procrastinating actor I thought ‘I’ll wait until I get the job.’ I just had no idea it’d happen so fast, so I’m trying to track someone down to teach me about firearms. That way I won’t look like a total rookie when trying to hold my gun. I’ve been learning a lot about the LAPD and trying to do as much research as I can.
TTVJ: What can you tell us about the character you’re playing, Detective Nickole Bilson?
AL: She’s got a really unique spelling of her name, and in the breakdown for the character it said ‘Thanks trailer park mom.’ [laughs] I think she had humble beginnings and there’s going to be a lot of juicy stuff. I can’t tell you anything.
TTVJ: I know you’ve mentioned that if it wasn’t specifically noted, you always play your character as queer. Is that the case here?
AL: I’m definitely doing that. We’ll see how it plays out. There are no boyfriends in sight, so I’ve been talking to Tassie about it. I’m excited. It’s such a good mystery that they are weaving.
TTVJ: What else can you share about the show?
AL: Kyra plays a showrunner who is writing a cop show about the LAPD, and then her daughter goes missing. I’m part of the actual LAPD and there’s going to be all sorts of exciting crossovers.
TTVJ: I’m a little worried because things with kids tend to get to me, and with this being about a missing child…
AL: Well, Erika had a kid not that long ago, and she was crying at the end of the readthrough the other day. Kyra was like ‘Honey, imagine if you were playing my role.’ She’s like ‘I know! I know!’ It’s written so well though, and the little girl playing the daughter [Abigail Pniowsky, Arrival] is so great. She’s so innocent and adorable, and you have all these adults messing up and being greedy.
There’s so many great relationships, and I’m getting to work with Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost, Oz), who is so incredible. I wouldn’t say I’m his direct partner, but we have a lot of stuff together and he’s just incredible. That relationship is going to become more complex, and I love it. I can’t even believe this is all happening.
Are you excited to have Liebert back on your TV screen in Ten Days? Sound off in the comments below!
Ten Days in the Valley airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on ABC and CTV.
Editor in Chief Bridget Liszewski comes from a long line of TV Junkies who fostered her love of television from a very young age. She's channeled that passion into covering both US and Canadian television shows, and is thankful everyday for the invention of the DVR. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, she loves college football and is a fan of sports in general. Bridget is always up for talking TV and you can follow her on twitter at @BridgetOnTV.