In a TV ‘State of Mind’

Special to The Times

LILI TAYLOR stars in “State of Mind,” Lifetime’s new series about a psychiatrist who finds her husband quite undressed with their marriage counselor. Uh-huh! It premieres tonight at 9. Taylor played the doomed hippie Lisa on HBO’s “Six Feet Under,” and her film work includes “The Notorious Betty Page,” “Short Cuts” and “Pecker.”

How’s shooting going?

It’s a blur! I’m adapting. It’s a lot. It’s going great. They’re long days -- which I’m used to on independents. I’m like an athlete. I’ve got to find ways to deal with the machine. What I’ve gotta eat. And how I sleep. It almost feels like theater in a way. And in another way it’s like doing a one-act play once a week -- with a really good writer. We’ve been lucky to get really good writers.

That’s interesting -- we always think of theater and TV as opposite things.


I started realizing on “Six Feet Under” it’s like a one-act play, you know. I have to respect the writing just as I would with a play. Whereas with film, the writing isn’t as precious. You can be a little more extemporaneous with the writing for a film.

You’re also adjusting to living in L.A.

I’m only out here for 2 1/2 months. I’m adapting because I have to. In the past, I resisted -- and I paid a price in various ways. But I found a place I can get the New Yorker on Mondays. Little things that can help me stay sane.

You went to New Trier Township High School, in Winnetka, Ill. Did they call it the “suicide belt” when you were in high school there?

Yes! That’s how they started with “Ordinary People.” That was around my time. There was so much angst. It was so confusing because of the wealth and the privilege, and underneath was this other thing fermenting.

Have you been to bad shrinks?

Yes. Not too many lemons, but I have been with some I knew it wasn’t working, wasn’t helping me. There’s such a process of second-guessing in realizing a shrink is bad.

Because you’re walking in and there’s a power -- I even remember once when I had forgotten my time, I was late but I thought I had the right time, and the therapist said: “The psychologist always has the right time.”


And what have you given up to take on a TV show?

Home on the East Coast -- but that’s about it. Doing “Six Feet Under” helped me be more open to TV. I always thought about theater and film, and I kind of hadn’t thought about TV much for various reasons. When this came across, I thought, “Why wouldn’t I do this?” It didn’t make sense to not do it. [Psychologist and creator] Amy Bloom was so great, and I liked her so much, and I love psychology. There’s lots of reasons to say I can’t commit to something -- or if I want to do a play. In a way it gives me more structure.

Is there anything related to turning 40 in that?

In doing TV? I know people have been talking about that, all these actresses, older actresses, in TV. I haven’t thought a lot about a cultural thing that might be happening -- for me it feels like I’m just working. This is what seems interesting to me right now.


What in your life does seem 40-related?

It’s sort of just getting ready for that day you have to stretch the menu out from you and you have to get those glasses at the drugstore -- which I think is at 46, 47, at least for my friends. Teeth things! But all that stuff is about limitation and mortality. And so just recognizing, “Wow, my time is ...” -- I’m starting to see I’m not going to be here forever. And I’ll take care of myself better.

You quit smoking.

That was part of getting there. I think for women in some ways it can be difficult on a societal level, for instance, in my business -- but on another level, interesting stuff starts to happen! Women start to blossom! Things start to happen when things go on in your skin or your body. And you start to accept and move in to yourself.