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House of Lies - Interview with Megalyn Echikunwoke

How did your role on House of Lies come about?
MEGALYN ECHIKUNWOKE: Well, actually, I didn’t originally audition for the role of April. I was being seriously considered for the Jeannie role that Kristen Bell plays. I tested for it, but I didn’t get it. But, I read the script and I was telling friends of mine, “Hey, I just read this great pilot and there’s this great role. It is to play a stripper, but it’s this really fun role that’s the best role in the pilot. Get in on it. Audition for it.” And a lot of them were like, “Oh, no, I wouldn’t play a stripper.” So then, I forgot all about it until a month after the test, they called and said, “We’re having trouble casting this role and we thought of you. You might be great for this role of April. Would you do it?”
I thought about it and was like, “That really was such a great character in the pilot. Why not? Why wouldn’t I do that?” It just seemed like it would be so much fun, and the show is so well-written. I was like, “I don’t think it could hurt me. I’m fit and I work out.” I’ve seen shows on Showtime and they’re very provocative, if you will, but nothing to the point that’s over-the-top or gratuitous. It’s really good storytelling, so I just had faith in that and went for it. Being a stripper is just one thing that this character did, as a means to an end. The character was like, “What would be the most fun thing that I could do, so that I could make money to go to law school?” We don’t want to watch boring characters.

Did you do research into what it takes to be a stripper and dance on a pole?
ECHIKUNWOKE: Yeah, it was one of the most physically challenging things I’ve ever done. I did do a little research. I went to a couple really fantastic strip clubs with really talented dancers, just in terms of their physical prowess. For the scene, there was a whole dance routine that I had to do, so I worked with a pole dance instructor who helped me choreograph a number for that scene. We broke down the principles of pole dancing, for three days, for an hour a day. You can’t really do it for more than 30 minutes. It takes so much upper body strength that you can’t really work a pole for more than 30 minutes unless you’re a body builder. So, I did the training and I had a whole new respect for people who do that kind of dancing. It’s really hard, and it can be really beautiful and artistic as well, depending on where you go.

Source: Full interview @ Collider