By Cindy Pearlman | Big Picture News Inc.
Even in L.A., Jennifer Beals’ friends know about her Chicagoroots. Especially during the Stanley Cup.
“What about those Blackhawks!” shecries.
“I’m married to a Canadian, so hockey is pretty big in our family.I just have to say that Toews is amazing.”
Her other Chicagomusings revolve around some healthy (and high-calorie) memories of her past growing up here on both theNorth and South sides.
“I have the fondest memories of taking swim lessons, and afterward my mom would take us to this really great restaurant across the street that has tacos called Su Casa,” Beals says.
“When I come back to Chicago, I run on Lake Shore Drive and then go get those tacos.”
How doesthe 51-year-old actresskeep fit when her schedule is so demanding? “It’s this idea of being in your body, which is how I look at exercise. I actually love to work out because it makes me appreciate my body and how it works. “
Beals mixes up her workouts. “I love swimming and running,” she says. “Both are exercises you can do almost anywhere, which works with a busy lifestyle.”
Now she laces up the running shoesat her new TNT series “Proof,” playingKathryn Russo, a runner and a brilliant surgeon who is searching for proof of life after death.
“She’s really fast – much faster than I am,” Beals says. “So I worked with a trainer who trains Olympic athletes. We were all about the sprint intervals.I also wanted to make sure my running form was good and the bio mechanicals of the run were as efficient as possible.
She said there is a “long running sequence in the pilot. I spent an entire day just running. At the end of the day, I was sore and then calculated that I ran a half marathon if you added it all up.”
There are days when Beals’motivation might be a little bit lacking. “I think it’s helpful to remind yourself that you’re not always going to have the time to do the things you love or be with the people you love. That’s why I don’t put off working out until tomorrow. Why presume there is tomorrow?
“This life is extraordinary and I want to be as healthy as possible to enjoy it,” she says. “I’m on this planet now. What am I going to do with my time here? That’s the question I ask myself. And I know I need the energy to do it.”
She does give herself a break with food. “I eat as clean as possible and work out for my body and my mind. But if there is a day I’m craving a steak then I’m going to have a steak.
“I will ignore the cravings for cookies.If the craving persists and I can’t get rid of it by other means then I won’t deny myself.
“Recently, I went to Italy and I didn’t deny myself anything!” she says with a laugh. “Boy, did I pay for it later in my runs!”
As for her new show, she said it’s unlike anything she had done.
“I love this show because I get to play this woman who is no nonsense. You meet her when she’s in the midst of grieving the death of her son. Then you watch her being approached by this tech billionaire played by Matthew Modine.
“He asks her to explore the issues of life after death,” she says. “This isn’t an easy route because she encapsulates skepticisms and faith at the same time.”
When she’s not working, Beals makes frequent trips home to her former home. “I’m a Chicago girl,” she says. “I worked as a model in the fashion section of the Sun-Times when I was really young. I have really fond memories.”