It’s a heady time for the versatile film, TV, and stage actress—a three-time Tony nominee—whose credits include “Cabaret” and “Death of a Salesman,” films such as “Julie and Julia,” and recurring roles on “The Good Wife,” “Madam Secretary,” and “Law & Order: SVU.” Emond, who grew up in Anaheim and graduated from Cal State Fullerton, is featured with Will Smith in this month’s sci-fi thriller “Gemini Man,” and in the new season of the quirky AMC series “Lodge 49.” Here are a few things to know about the former Loara High homecoming queen.
She discovered the magic of acting growing up in Anaheim.
Emond took part in speech competitions as a student at Ball Junior High. “Mrs. Paulson got me into speech, and I give her an enormous amount of credit for why I’m an actress; she awakened something in me about performing.” Emond auditioned for a play when she attended Loara High School and although she didn’t get the part, she impressed the teacher in charge who staged the next year’s production around her. She became the lead in “The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie,” a role played by Maggie Smith on film.
She’s a whiz at home organization.
When she first moved to Manhattan in the mid-’90s, she took a tiny, 200-square-foot apartment—and has kept it for more than 20 years, learning to question which possessions are meaningful. “If a pair of shoes comes in, a pair goes out. It’s taught me that I don’t need a lot of things. It’s amazing how much you can let go of when you only surround yourself with items that make you happy.”
Director Ang Lee offered her a part in “Gemini Man” out of the blue.
“He had seen me in a few other things and didn’t need me to audition. It was a dream. I play Janet Lassiter, a higher-up in the Defense Intelligence Agency, and I end up not being a particularly good person.”
She has upcoming projects with Tony Kushner and Jennifer Lawrence.
This fall, she reunites with the legendary playwright for a new production of “A Bright Room Called Day” in New York. Next year, she stars opposite Lawrence in an as-yet-untitled film. “Jen was a fantastic person to work with. I play her mother and we shot in New Orleans—that’s all I can say.”
Her role on “Lodge 49” brought back memories of Orange County.
Set in Long Beach, the critically acclaimed show (now in its second season) revolves around a group of people down on their luck who congregate at a place similar to an Elks Lodge. Emond says she instantly connected with show creator and executive producer Jim Gavin, who grew up around Long Beach and O.C. “I felt like I was back home. For one of the sets, they had this pool slide on top of a strip mall and I not only remember that being a feature of a real pool supply store in the area, it was the exact same slide we had in my backyard growing up!”