When "The L Word" premiered on Showtime in 2004, it broke barriers for its portrayal of gay and bisexual women living in Los Angeles. But in the decade between the series' finale and the 2019 premiere of its reboot, "The L Word: Generation Q," both the LGBTQ community and how its members are captured on film and TV have changed.
As a star of both the original and new show, Jennifer Beals joined the 3rd hour of TODAY on Tuesday to discuss how the latter, whose second season premiered earlier this month, is speaking to a new generation of the LGBTQ community.
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"One of the reasons we wanted to bring back the show is that you have this generation who is so thoroughly authentic that they wouldn't accept any kind of preconceived labels about their gender or their sexuality ... so they found the language to describe their own experience, rather than accepting someone else's definition of their experience," she explained. "I think that inspired us to try to tell compelling and entertaining stories."
In fact, she said the courage she sees in young people today inspired her to work with GLSEN, a nonprofit that helps create safe spaces for LGBTQ kids in kindergarten through 12th grade. She sells prints of photos she's taken from "The L Word," and the proceeds support their mission.
The second season of "Generation Q" includes a panoply of famous guest stars, including Rosie O'Donnell, Vanessa Williams, Griffin Dunne and Donald Faison.
"(O'Donnell) is so wonderful," Beals said. "First of all, she's a fantastic actor, and she's also an incredible artist and just a wonderful human being. (Our characters) are written to be at odds, but it was difficult sometimes because I love Rosie, so that was an interesting challenge."
She added that Williams was "a great addition to the cast" and that Faison is "warm and talented."
Beals also gushed about her castmates on her latest project, the film adaptation of the popular mystery novel "Luckiest Girl Alive" by Jessica Knoll.
"It's an incredible cast and crew and producers," she said. "Mila Kunis is brilliant and a total girls' girl, and Jessica Knoll, the author, was on set the whole time, and she's just extraordinary. She's just so brave and funny and articulate."
"It was a really great experience, and the subject matter is something that was really gratifying to dive into."