Sara Gilbert: Our first guest made a name for herself playing strong female characters on shows like ER and The West Wing, and has been solving crimes for more than a decade as analyst Sara Sidle on the most watched TV show in the world: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Take a look.
[Clip from “Sheltered”]
Gilbert: Please welcome Jorja Fox!
Jorja Fox: … two hour The Talk special today?
Julie Chen: Oh yes, we’re taking over the network. Two hour special, Affiliates take notice.
Fox: There’s so much to talk about
Aisha Tyler: I know!
Chen: Well we were just talking about disastrous vacations, in light of Heidi Klum’s son almost drowning in the ocean. Have you ever had a disastrous vacation?
Fox: You know, I had to really — I’ve had so many disastrous, I had sort of sit and think about which one I wanted to talk about. Nothing nearly as excited as yours [Sharon Osborne]. I am also prone to food poisoning on the road. My family went to Europe when I was 13, I went with my mom and my dad and my grandmother, who was in her y’know late seventies, eighties, at the time. And we take the train to Paris and, you guys have probably done this, there are several stops and we hit like ‘Paris North.’ And the worst part is my family speaks French. So we put my grandmother on the platform and we’re passing bags out, like twelve bags, and the train leaves. So not only do we leave my grandmother on the platform in Paris, but it’s the wrong platform. It isn’t even Paris.
Tyler: [laughing] Oh no!
Fox: It took about two and a half hours to circle back, go back an get her. My mom was in tears, she thought she was going to have a heart attack, she’s all alone. But she was just kind of sitting on the bags with a cappuccino. Enjoying the day. [group laughter] Yeah, that’s my favorite disaster.
Gilbert: Now, you actually had another experience in Europe, before you became an actress, when you were seventeen you moved to Italy, right? To try and be a model.
Fox: Yes, ‘try’ is the operative word.
Gilbert: But how did that go? I heard you almost ended up homeless?
Fox: I don’t know where you heard that rumor, but it’s one of the true ones. You know, this is- My manager sent me with five-hundred dollars and said “Take $500, you’ll have plenty of money, you’re going to start working right away with Seventeen.” And I was partnered up with another model, who was all of 21, and she was going to be the smart one, you know, and sort of the savvy one. And we get there and she tells me she had two-hundred dollars, she didn’t tell anyone she only had $200. We had $700, even in the 80s, in Europe, you’re out of money pretty fast. We got kicked out of our pension and, quite honestly, a young American architectural student in Milan saved my life and let me live with him for five or six weeks, until- It was sort of the closet I ever experienced college dorm life, with a student in Milan.
Gilbert: And then you moved into one of those model —
Fox: Yeah, we got on our feet- We did start working. It took a little longer than we thought. And yeah, we moved into a model’s pension, which was also like my ‘college’ experience.
Fox: It happened to be a girls pension, a woman’s pension and I was one of the youngest there. Women would sneak their boyfriends in several times a week, which was kind of fun. But one of the things I loved the most, and there was so much traveling at that age, you know everybody kind of looked after each other, but there were women there from all over the world, and young girls, and — All of them, we’d go out to dinner and you could be from Thailand, and maybe you’re from Iceland, and you’re from France, and everyone would speak in English together. Broken English. So the conversations were pretty simple — not because we were models — there was a launguage-
Tyler: You joined the cast of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation very- in the year it debuted and- [applause] Yes, and I was on it!
Fox: Alma Mater!
Tyler: — And I loved working there. It was an incredible show. And it’s so hard to believe that you’re wrapping up the thirteenth season of the show. It’s incredible for any actor to have a job for this long and to be so successful.
Fox: It doesn’t happen! It just- You know when you go to acting school they prepare you. You know, “You’re going to go from job to job to job to job. It’s just kind of the nature of the business.” And so this is a complete anomoly. None of us are prepared for it.
Tyler: Does your kind of crime scene investigating skills from the show start to creep into your real life [laughter] after this long?
Fox: [faux dramatic] I know all the secrets of everyone here.
Sharon Osborne: Last season, Ted Danson joined the cast. And we love him in the show. He’s such an amazing guy. I mean, it must be such a joy to work with him every day.
Fox: [deadpan] He’s a terror. He’s horrible.
Osborne: He’s naughty!
Fox: He’s amazing. He’s amazing! He’s one of these gentlemen, you know he’s been in the business for years, he’s one of my heroes as an actor, and from the first day that we worked together, you kind of looked him in the eye and there was- as if we’d know each other ten years. He’s a master at intimacy. It’s not forced, it’s authentic, and it comes from, you know, like ‘actor to actor.’ I’ve said this before, but I swear he’s got wings on. Like under his jacket, there’s wings. He is an amazing guy.
[group ‘awwww’ and applause]
Chen: Now, in addition to your work on CSI, you work on other projects including — there’s one that’s coming out later this year, and you’re really proud of it. It’s called “How I Became An Elephant.” Tell us about that.
Fox: Thank you for asking about that. It’s a documentary, feature documentary, that I produced a couple years ago. It’s really the story of a young girl, from southern California, who travels to Thailand to rescue an elephant. The heart of the story is that no matter how old you are or where you’re from or where your circumstances are, if you have a passion about something, you can make a difference. One person can make a difference. The larger picture, of course, the umbrella is it’s a movie about wildlife habitats and environmentalism and preserving these wild places so that these creatures can continue to have a place to live.
Fox: Thank you.
Chen: Jorja Fox everyone, Jorja Fox. CSI: Crime Scene Investigation airs Wednesday at ten, right here on CBS. We’ll be back.