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Channel Four Chat
Chat Ed : Welcome Laura! First question coming up:

Laura Innes : Hi, I'm happy to be here, so fire away!

Chat Ed : (Pre-mailed question:)
Katrina : Laura youre amazing, you and Elizabeth Mitchell have quite a following, are you aware of the popularity Kerry and Kim have as a couple, and is she returning for Season 8?

Laura Innes : First of all, thanks for that! We are very happy that the audience has responded to the characters. In the States we have heard they have Kim and Kerry parties! I'm not sure what's happening next year with Elizabeth. She has another project which she is waiting to hear whether it gets picked up, so we'll see.

maddog : Laura, are you aware of the massive fan movement for this storyline that has emerged on the internet?

Laura Innes : You know, I've heard about it second-hand, and we're thrilled. We didn't know what to expect, and we're so grateful for the support.

Chat Ed : (Pre-mailed question:)
Kenn Melvin : In the 'greatest of gifts' episode Kerry gives Kim an expensive christmas present, a first edition of an old book: but we are only teased with a too-far-away-to-read glimpse as to what the title of the book is. Can you remember what it was? Lots of people seem to have ideas, but noone knows for sure..

Laura Innes : Hmmm... I'm embarrassed to say I can't remember! I had never heard of it. As I remember it was sort of a lesbian coming-of-age story, but I can't remember the name of it.

idioteque : In the episode Rescue Me in season 7, when your character was having dinner with Elizabeth Mitchell's character, there was a breif mention of weaver being married, will we learn more about this marriage in the next season?

Laura Innes : I don't know, but I think it would be fun. We like to throw in mysterious bits of history; then we have the option to return to them or not.

Chat Ed : (Pre-mailed question:)
A Monkton : Could you please tell me why Dr Weaver uses an elbow crutch. I have watched ER for about 3 years now, but no-one has ever asked her about her disability. Is there a story behind it that I've missed?

Laura Innes : You haven't missed anything! The reason for her disability has never been revealed. I worked on what I do physically with a doctor who had polio, but dramatically we just don't know and may never.

Tomahawk : Has there ever been any direction which you've wanted to take Kerry, but not been able to? If so, what?

Laura Innes : Ohh let's see... It would be great fun to see her really cut loose and maybe get drunk at a party - you know, go wild! How about that!?

Kiss : that would be awesome!

Laura Innes chuckles at Kiss

Jess : What advice would you give to someone struggling with their sexuality like Kerry is?

Laura Innes : I guess, Jess, my advice would be: Be true to yourself, honour yourself and have patience with the people around you. They'll come around.

Chat Ed : (Pre-mailed question:)
Ida Andersen Norway : Which part(s) of Weaver's character can you identify yourself with?

Laura Innes : I think I'm a very strong person and a straight-shooter. I work hard, but I like to have more fun than Kerry does.

screighton : Have you ever felt restricted by Weaver?

Laura Innes : Yes. There have been times when I've felt confined by the part. But when I feel that way I try to have something going on in my mind that is the opposite of what I'm doing, to have some sort of internal life that is different to the one that the character is projecting.

beeter : am i right in thinking that season 8 is going to be very snappy with a lot of arguments...because of the return of Sherry Stringfield, and the probable departure of Anthony Edwards, especially given his behaviour!

Lene Nilsson-Lewis : With the return of Sherry Stringfield to the show next season, do you think that the confrontational relationship of season 2/3 will return or would you like to writers to take a different approach to the Weaver/Lewis relationship?

Laura Innes : I'm not sure what's going to happen. I guess I hope something in between. I'd be disappointed if everything was resolved in an unrealistic way, but on the other hand I wouldn't want to repeat what we have already done.

Emily : Have you felt challenged by the recent lesbian storyline?

Laura Innes : Challenged and excited by it. I think I felt a great responsibility to have it feel authentic for myself and for the viewers. Challenging in that way, but really it's been very interesting and great fun.

Kiss : you're so cool :-)

Laura Innes : Thank you Kiss, that's nice.
Laura Innes chuckles

Tomahawk : Did you do any research for the lesbian storyline?

Laura Innes : Well, no actual research! But I did talk to a lot of women who are gay, and I read quite a few books. I wanted to get some idea of what someone going through this actually experiences. So yes, I did do quite a bit really.

Ripley : It was effective! It's been very realistic.

screighton : what reactions have you had to it?

Laura Innes : The reactions that I have gotten have been very positive. I've been very encouraged by the letters of support, interest and enthusiasm. I haven't experienced any negative reaction, although I'm sure it exists out there. In a more subtle way I'll run into someone in a grocery store who I can tell is a little uncomfortable with it. Often in the beginning of the season people would say "I hope this is only a phase," and I felt a little bit like a teenager whose parents were hoping she wasn't really gay. Sometimes that bothered me. I'm always amazed that people are still sort of hung up about this kind of thing.

screighton : me too
Katy : sad but true

RP : which episode is your personal favourite and why?

Laura Innes : I guess my favourite episode is 'Loves Labours Lost' from the first season, before I was on the show. It's the one where Mark Greene tries frantically to save the life of a mother who is giving birth.

Katy : When you were growing up did you ever want be a doctor?

Laura Innes : No, never. I don't think I could handle the responsibility for a person's life.

Rachel : what made you go into acting?

Laura Innes : When I was a child, my family used to take me to Stratford in Canada. I always loved the plays and was inspired by the actors. It just seemed to be something from a very early age that I just loved doing, and I really never thought of being anything else.

Kovacs_girl : who has been the most memorable actor you have worked with throughout your career?

Laura Innes : Alan Alda, because of his incredible spirit and professionalism. He is a wonderful person and he inspired me in terms of being an actor for a long time.

Chat Ed : OK y'all - our 25 mins is nearly up now, so last few questions now, thanks!

Jo : How much time is actually spent filming in Chicago if any?

Laura Innes : We go to Chicago 4 times a year, and shoot a number of scenes from different episodes. So probably about 20 days in total in Chicago.

Chat Ed : (Pre-mailed question:)
Liz Ottley : I am a great fan of ER (naturally) having watched each series avidly from the moment it aired here in Britain but my favourite episode to date has to be 'Be Still My Heart' in which Lucy Knight is fatally stabbed by a patient. Coincidentally, you directed this masterpiece and since then you have directed more episodes of ER not to mention directing for The West Wing. I was wondering whether you had any plans to use these directing credits to build a career as a feature film director?

Laura Innes : Thank you so much for saying that! I'm very proud of 'Be Still My Heart', and I appreciate your kind words. I really enjoy directing.

EmHeskett : It was an awesome episode. One of the best.
Alison Tebby : That was a fantastic episode

Laura Innes : The next ER that I directed will be on C4 on Wednesday night. ER and West Wing have been great places to learn the craft of directing, so hopefully there will be more to come.

redheadlinda : I heard that George Clooney was quite a prankster... has anyone taken over that role now that he is gone?

Laura Innes : No, unfortunately George is the King Prankster and no-one has managed to take over the mantle! That's really his second career.

Chat Ed : That's it! Thanks for coming Laura, that was fantastic. And thanks for all your questions, folks! Hope you all enjoyed it!

Tomahawk : Thanks for coming in!
ERmad : Bye Laura!
awgirl14 : We Love you Laura!!!!!1
FioLine : I hope you will get your well-deserved Emmy's for both your outstanding acting and directing- you're fab!!!

Laura Innes : Thank you so much for watching and for your support of the character and we're so grateful to our fans. Bye now.

dramaqueen : bye then
laura meakin : bye laura
Amy : bye
mus_00 : WE LOVE YOU LAURA!!!!!!!

Laura Innes leaves the room