Proof Q&A: Caroline Rose Kaplan on Intelligent TV, Working with Icons

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Proof premieres on TNT tonight, inviting you to intelligently discuss the possibility of life after death. 

Starring iconic actors Jennifer Beals and Matthew Modine as the two people responsible for the investigation into the afterlife, Proof also stars Caroline Rose Kaplan in her first television role.

She plays a young protégé to Modine's character, Ivan Turing, who joins in the endeavor to prove, or disprove, the existence of life after death.

She was kind enough to take share some time with us recently to talk about the series and what to expect, as well as what it's like to work with two of America's most iconic actors. Enjoy excepts from the conversation below!

Caroline Rose Kaplan

When I asked Caroline about the pull of Proof, she wasn't at a loss for words. Clearly as enamored with her new series as I was after watching, she gladly shared her thoughts. "Oh my gosh! I would say it's multi-pronged," she began. "I know this has been said in another interview, but the roles are written for Matthew and Jennifer. They are brilliant in these roles, so I think that's a huge pull."

Caroline continued, "The creative team that's behind the show, I mean, Alex Graves, I think is a non paralleled genius. He's one of the great young directors in Hollywood. He's done Game of Thrones for the past two seasons, and he's done The West Wing, and I think people are starting understand that this is somebody who makes pieces of art for television that are unreal. And then our producers are fantastic."

But the real pull, she reveals, is the subject matter. "I think it's something that is kind of a frontier for us. It's being investigated as we speak. Barriers are being broken and nobody has a definitive answer." Caroline believes Proof is a piece of intellectual art that will drive discussion with family and friends as the lack of definitive answers begs for conversation.

"Nobody knows for sure until we're staring into it," she concedes, "so I think in that way it's a really important piece of art, because the most important pieces we put out there are common threads through all of our shared experiences and something that we deal with every single day, it's unavoidable. This is a show that says, hey, let's talk about it. What do you think? Have you had an experience?"

"I have had so many people ask me what the show is about. I say it's a show about whether there is life after death. That's the easiest way to sum it up, for me. And so many people, I don't think there has been a person I've spoken with yet who hasn't had, themselves or someone they're very close to, have had some sort of encounter with the subject matter. Whether in terms of having had a near death experience, having known someone who had a near death experience, having studied it scientifically; I mean, everybody has!"

Proof isn't designed to force an opinion on the viewer, but rather to allow them to make up their own minds by giving to them both sides of the argument, for and against life after death. Caroline agrees that's one of the draws of the series. "I think it's a thinking person's show, you know? It's totally open ended, it's not trying to force an agenda on anybody. It's discussing it from all different points of view and it continues to in a beautiful way. It's a very intelligent show in that way."

Caroline's own story of becoming involved might be proof enough in the afterlife. "I was just a lucky kid," she says of landing the role. After attending Brown University for her masters in acting, she received a lot of pressure to go to Los Angeles, but at the time her father was very, very sick and he passed away. She wanted to stay in New York to be close to her family and despite the protests, she went with her gut.

She had a strange feeling New York was where she was supposed to be. As a result, she got the audition for Proof pretty early on in pilot season and everything came together very quickly. "It just goes to show that when things are meant to be, when it's your job and your opportunity, it will just happen." She calls it luck, but also notes, "It was a total gift from who knows where?" 

Caroline weighed in on the cases that will be featured on Proof, especially their creepy factor. "Well, I think there is something innately creeply about the afterlife. It's the not knowing that does it. I mean, I get freaked out if I don't know what's going to happen or if I feel like I lose control, but I'm also very aware that that all kind of stems from my bigger fear, which is what the hell's gonna happen when I die? [laughs]" 

"The only people I've heard who said they're actually at peace with it are those who've had near death experiences. They say that they feel more at peace and are not frightened, because they feel they know what's going to happen is not going to be what they all fear."

There is a storyline coming up, however, that she found unsettling. Criminals have a shared thread in a certain type of violent, near death experience that features a visit to hell. "What's interesting about them is that they are in line with Dante's Inferno. So that's a commonality that's centuries old that people are experiencing things that are described in ancient literature, about what hell was like, which means maybe this is a shared experience over many lifetimes of human beings."

Being a young actor in her first big production, we had to chat about what it was like working with iconic actors Matthew Modine of Full Metal Jacket and Miss Flashdance herself, Jennifer Beals. Caroline squealed with delight at the opportunity to chat about them some more. "You know, they were wonderful. They treated me like a professional, which is the best way to treat a young actor because you allow them to be the professional they are, or that I am."

"Matthew was a dream. He was the most kindest, and I know I keep using this word, but intellectually curious person. He's wide eyed and interested in everything, which is an incredible quality for an actor to have. And Jennifer is a total joy! She's so wonderful and she knocked that part out of the ball park. The amount of work that woman had to do was mountainous and she came to work every day, knew her marks, knew her lines, ready to go. She was a complete professional and gave an incredible performance. She really set an example."

Caroline summed her experience up quite well, "It's an incredible group to get to be a part of and you can only bow down and thank your lucky stars that it's something you get to be a part of as an actor."

Tune in to Proof Season 1 Episode 1 tonight at 10/9c on TNT, immediately following an all new episode of Rizzoli & Isles!

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA), enjoys mentoring writers, wine, and passionately discussing the nuances of television. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

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Proof Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Carolyn: Excuse me?
Ivan: Kicking the bucket, taking the big dirt nap. You're a doctor. I'm sure you're familiar with the concept.

Ivan: Mind if we skip the usual chit chat, like the amazing amazing architecture, what a great pleasure to meet me, all that?
Carolyn: I have rounds to make.
Ivan: Right. Good. I'm dying.