A.J. Langer has been acting since the age of thirteen. She was a teenager when she appeared on shows like Blossom, The Wonder Years, Baywatch, Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper and Drexell’s Class. And she was just 20 when she starred in My So-Called Life as Rayanne Graff. So she knows a thing or two about starting out in the business at an early age. Now as a recurring guest on Private Practice, playing Cooper’s old flame Erica, mother to his son Mason, she can pass her wisdom on to her twelve year-old co-star. In a recent exclusive interview, she told us about getting the part on Private Practice and working with Griffin Gluck who plays her son.
A.J. informed us that after working for close to two decades, she had taken a long period of time off to begin a family and was unsure what direction her life was headed. “I had taken four or five years off to have babies… and also to get healthy and figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, not knowing if I wanted to get back into acting. And then decided I’d get back into classes. And see what happens.”
She said she studied for a bout a year and “decided this is what I do and where I need to be.” And so she began auditioning again. She stated, “I was very reassured that people remembered and were enthusiastic about having me.”
When she got the part of Erica on Private Practice she figured it was fate, “I said that I wasn’t going to put any pressure on myself to work until my son was two and that was the week of my son’s second birthday.”
She said she was drawn to one particular quality of the character, “Chutzpah… and what seems like a very well developed character for a guest… Erica seemed to have more just depth than the normal guest star and strength that I dug… There was something exciting about her for me.”
Erica was just supposed to have a two or three episode arc, but the producers must have seen something they liked in A.J. because they have expanded her storyline. So far she has been on ten episodes. When she first appeared, she showed up on Dr. Cooper Freedman’s doorstep with the eight-year-old son he did not know existed. But when that arc ran its course, they came up with another reason for Erica to stick around. They gave her a brain tumor. Last week she starred in a very special crossover episode with Grey’s Anatomy and Dr. Derek “McDremy” Shepherd operated on her tumor. She stated, “I’m very grateful to have had such a good run and arc and experience with a really cool show.”
To read more of our interview with A.J., visit Pop Culture Passionistas.
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