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Romantic chemistry

On 'Ed,' it was about feelings. In 'Dopamine,' it's biology. Actress Sabrina Lloyd is talkin' 'bout love.

October 19, 2003|Andre Chautard

Sabrina LLOYD won hearts last season on the NBC series "Ed" as Frankie, the spunky colleague and love interest of Ed (Tom Cavanaugh), even if she ultimately didn't capture Ed's heart. Lloyd, 32, who displayed a gift for fast-paced banter on "Ed" and the critical-darling sitcom "Sports Night," is happy to be showing off a more serious (and slower-talking) side in the independent romance "Dopamine," a feature film in limited release as part of the Sundance Film Series.

The New York-based, jovial, petite (5 feet, 4 inches) Lloyd -- who, yes, was named after the Audrey Hepburn movie -- plays Sarah, an emotionally insulated kindergarten teacher who has her views on love challenged by Rand, a computer programmer who believes that love is nothing but hormones and pheromones, physiological sensations that our bodies are wired to feel. "Dopamine," titled after a chemical that produces feelings of pleasure in our brains, asks: Is biology destiny? Or, as Tina Turner would put it, what's love got to do with it?

"Dopamine" centers on the question of whether love is just a series of chemical reactions or a unique romantic connection between two people. What do you think?

I think it's both. I think that there's different kinds of love, and I absolutely believe that we have a chemical attraction to some people. It's a purely physical thing that happens in our bodies and we can't control it. And I also believe that love can be a choice, and emotional bonds and time and trust can also build above and beyond that. I've always emotionally felt that way, but I don't think I intellectually thought about it until I did the movie.

In the film, Rand designs an interactive computer-program pet, a bird named Koy Koy, that gets product-tested by the kids in Sarah's kindergarten class. She argues that Koy Koy needs a mate to teach kids about social interaction. Do you think that everybody needs a mate?

No, I don't. I think people can be very, very happy on their own, I really do. I think that we do have that physical attraction to the opposite sex, or the same sex, but while we all obviously want that passionate love in a partnership, I think that the kind of love you have with friends can absolutely sustain you, and I've often thought that to grow old with your friends -- if you're not fortunate enough to find a partner, then I think you can still have a very, very rich life. I could be wrong. [Laughs]

You grew up in Mount Dora, a tiny town 30 miles north of Orlando, Fla. Is it true that two days after you graduated high school you were in New York trying to break into acting?

Yes, it is true. My mother had actually brought me there when I was 12 and took me to see "A Chorus Line" and "Cats" on Broadway and I sobbed through the entire show. I couldn't believe the talent that I saw up on the stage and I just was so inspired and I just always knew I wanted to move there and I didn't want to waste any time. It was pretty gutsy. Within the first six months of being in New York, I was mugged and attacked by someone on the street trying to get into a taxicab who started to hit me. So it wasn't an easy ride.

Do you get recognized on the street from your television work?

I do, all the time, especially from "Ed." I don't think I ever realized how many people watched that show. Daily people have been stopping me, going, "He made the wrong choice!"

You were originally cast on "Ed" for six episodes, which became eight and then the whole second half of last season. They even asked you to join the series as a regular. Why didn't you?

I didn't want to. I always knew that I was going to go in for a short period of time, and even when that got longer, it was never going to be a long-term thing for me. And I also just didn't know what they could do with her for so long. I really feel like the character played herself out.

Do you feel like "Sports Night" has gotten a bigger audience on DVD?

Very much, yes. I noticed when Comedy Central started rerunning it, people were stopping me on the street everyday, saying it was their favorite show on television. It was on at like 2:30 in the morning and every time someone would stop me, I thought, "Is no one in New York sleeping?"

-- Andre Chautard

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