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Heather Graham on gambling and Downton Abbey

How did you become the face of Foxy Bingo?

They just offered it to me. I was in the UK shooting the new sitcom Bliss and I thought it would be fun. I really liked wearing the tail.

Do you enjoy gambling?

I went through a phase of playing poker but ended up getting super-competitive, which took the fun out of it. I wasn’t professional level but I got pretty good.

What’s Bliss all about?

Stephen Mangan’s the lead and Sharon Horgan’s one of the producers — I love her show Catastrophe. Stephen plays a bigamist with two wives in different parts of Bristol and I’m one of the wives. It’s a black comedy. I thought the premise sounded a bit sexist and that men who do that are disgusting but the character is such a wreck it makes fun of the type of person who would do that.

Did you have a nice time in Bristol?

We only shot there for three days but it was nice, although it was freezing. I went to Bath, which was cool — I took some nice photos. I love working in the UK. I’ve done a few different things here: Lost In Space, Alien Love Triangle — a crazy short film with Danny Boyle where I played an alien — and a movie that didn’t turn out too well that I’m too embarrassed to mention.

Bigamist: Graham plays one of Stephen Mangan’s wives

Do you have any favourite British shows?

You always think of Monty Python and the classics. I liked Spaced. I was super-into Downton Abbey. I watched every episode and I was so excited I got to work with Lady Mary [Michelle Dockery] recently on Angie Tribeca, which is a spoof 1980s cop show. I play a character called Diane Duran and Lady Mary played a robot. I really geeked out because I love Downton.

Twin Peaks has come back — would you want to be in the new series? Your character was suited for a comeback…

I’d love to work with David Lynch again. I was a big fan of the original series and watched it every week. It’s something I’ve been in that people remember. It was a chance to work with an auteur director, which was very exciting. He taught me how to do meditation and I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s more accepted now but back then people thought it was weird.

Do you do it every day?

I do 20 minutes twice a day. It’s very relaxing. When I forget to do it I feel more stressed. It gives you energy.

You’ve written, directed and produced your own film Half Magic — what’s it about?

We’re finding a distributor and hopefully it’ll be out in the spring. That’s my biggest passion. It’s so fun to have an idea, write it and see it get made. I started on the script five years ago, did a million drafts, then went about getting financing. It’s a comedy about three women and their sexual adventures.

How important is it for actors to create their own work?

Sometimes you get cast in roles and think ‘this isn’t the side of me I necessarily want to show’ so when you write something you get to decide what sort of character you play.

Role model: Strong Jennifer Lawrence

What do you get cast as you’re not keen on?

In the perfect world I’d like to be like Jennifer Lawrence — always saving the day and being strong. Those parts aren’t very common for women. How many movies are made with heroines like that? It’s a very small percentage.

Were you offered a lot of porn star or stripper type characters after Boogie Nights?

Once you play a part they think you can play that role so you get offered it more. I loved doing Boogie Nights — working with all those wonderful actors. That film really helped me.

Your dad was in the FBI — did you ever consider a career in law enforcement?

No. I’d rather play one on TV. It’s pretty hard and not very financially rewarding.

What lessons has your career in showbiz taught you?

You have to find a place of happiness inside yourself because it can be a stressful job.

Graham is also the face of Foxy Casino. To play, visitfoxybingo.comand