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Jennifer Beals on how 'The L Word' reboot has adapted for a new generation

A decade after the groundbreaking show's finale, Beals has reprised her role as a Los Angeles power lesbian in "The L Word: Generation Q."
Katherine Moennig as Shane McCutcheon, Jennifer Beals as Bette Porter, Leisha Hailey as Alice Pieszecki, Leo Sheng as Micah Lee, Jacqueline Toboni as Sarah Finley, Arienne Mandi as Dani Nunez and Rosanny Zayas as Sophie Suarez in THE L WORD: GENERATION Q.Kharen Hill / SHOWTIME

When “The L Word” premiered on Showtime in 2004, it broke barriers for its portrayal of lesbians and bisexual women living in Los Angeles. But in the decade between the series’ finale and the 2019 premiere of its reboot — “The L Word: Generation Q” — both the LGBTQ community and how its members are portrayed in films and on television have changed.

Jennifer Beals, a star of both the original series and reboot, said this shift was "one of the reasons we wanted to bring back the show."

“You have this generation who is so thoroughly authentic that they wouldn’t accept any kind of preconceived labels about their gender or their sexuality ... so they found the language to describe their own experience, rather than accepting someone else’s definition of their experience,” she said during an interview on NBC's TODAY show. “I think that inspired us to try to tell compelling and entertaining stories.”

Beals said the courage and bravery she sees in young people today also inspired her to support GLSEN, a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for LGBTQ youth. She sells prints of photos she’s taken from “The L Word" set through her website, and the proceeds support GLSEN.

The second season of “Generation Q” includes a panoply of famous guest stars, including Rosie O’Donnell, Vanessa Williams, Griffin Dunne and Donald Faison.

When asked specifically about working with O'Donnell, Beals said, "She is so wonderful."

“First of all, she’s a fantastic actor, and she’s also an incredible artist and just a wonderful human being. [Our characters] are written to be at odds, but it was difficult sometimes, because I love Rosie, so that was an interesting challenge," she said.

She added that Williams was “a great addition to the cast” and that Faison is “warm and talented.”

Beals also spoke about her latest film project, "Luckiest Girl Alive," based on Jessica Knoll's 2016 best-selling novel of the same name.

“It’s an incredible cast and crew,” she said. “Mila Kunis is brilliant and a total girls’ girl, and Jessica Knoll, the author, was on set the whole time, and she’s just extraordinary. She’s just so brave and funny and articulate.”

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