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India de Beaufort – Bring On the Night Court

Updated: Mar 22, 2023

India de Beaufort

Bring On the Night Court

by Jay S. Jacobs

British-born actress India de Beaufort is courting fame in the colonies.

De Beaufort is turning heads as Olivia, the brilliant-but-neurotic assistant district attorney on NBC’s popular new reimagining of the beloved 1980s situation comedy Night Court. The original series, about the crazy goings on the late-night hearings in an eccentric New York City courtroom starred the late Harry Anderson, Markie Post and John Larroquette as an unconventional judge, assistant district attorney and public defender.

The new series has Larroquette returning in his star-making role of cynical lawyer Dan Fielding, although he has switched roles from prosecution to defense. Former Big Bang Theory co-star Melissa Rauch plays the new judge for the Night Court – the sweet and slightly naïve daughter of Harry Anderson’s character from the original. De Beaufort’s Olivia is a whip-smart but horribly insecure barrister working for the State to get all the oddball plaintiffs off the street, or at least make sure that justice is served.

De Beaufort also currently has an extended arc in the second (and final) season of Netflix’s popular series Firefly Lane. In that, she plays Charlotte, the sorta other woman character. In the 1980s, she was a nervous aspiring TV journalist called Lottie who had a crush on her boss Johnny (Ben Lawson), not knowing he was involved with her co-worker Kate (Sarah Chalke). In later years, she has become a confident, assured foreign war correspondent called Charlie who returns to Johnny’s life while he and Kate are broken up.

Beyond these roles, the British-born actress has been getting lots of gigs since moving across the pond, like playing the girlfriend of her real-life husband, actor Todd Grinnell, on the reboot of One Day at a Time. De Beaufort also had recurring roles on series like Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist, NCIS: Los Angeles, Jane By Design, One Tree Hill and Veep. She has even done voiceovers on such animated shows as All Hail King Julian, Fast and Furious Spy Racers and It’s Pony.

We recently had the chance to chat via Zoom with de Beaufort about Night Court, Firefly Lane, working with her husband, going to Fashion Week and even her musical aspirations.

I spoke with your husband a couple of years ago when he did [the movie] Paradise Cove.

Oh, that's awesome.

You grew up in the UK and you started out acting there. When did you decide that you were ready to come to the to the United States and do some acting?

It was kind of accidental. I shot a movie in London (the 2007 film Run Fatboy Run starring Simon Pegg) with David Schwimmer (the former Friends actor), who directed. At the time, I wanted to be a singer. He said, “I think you should be an actor.” I thought about it and thought that could be kind of fun. (laughs) I had a girlfriend who was living out in LA at the time. She said, “Why don't you come out and hang out? Come and see what LA is all about.” So I came out for a few months. Loved it. Loved the sunshine. Loved the pace of life, just shaking it up a little bit. Before I knew it, I was shooting a series for Comedy Central in the UK (Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire). It was a co-production, half and half. That was my first step into something that wasn't only showing in the UK. I got a manager. Next thing I know, here I am.

Coming from the UK, and also, you're a little bit young, were you familiar at all with the original series of Night Court before you got involved with the new version?

No, not at all. When I had the first audition, I did some homework and checked out the show. I continued to binge it while we were shooting so that I could get a feel for the original and make sure that I was doing it justice.

Olivia is a very smart woman, at least professionally, but she's also a little bit insecure and neurotic about her personal life and even her career to a certain extent. How was that dichotomy fun for you to play as an actress?

She's so fun. I get to say all the things I would never normally say in real life. I love that she's a bit of a broken mess. She's a bit of a broken bird, looking for a nest. Then there is this courthouse, there is Night Court. That is the perfect band of misfits for her to find a place to call home, whether or not she would like to admit it.

You've got a really terrific cast. Obviously, John Larroquette from the original series is there, and Melissa Rauch, and Lacretta. What's it like on set?

It's an education. I feel like I spend all my time observing, watching, planning to steal. It's so incredible being with so many wonderful comedians, who also just bring a whole lot of heart to the show. I’m just absorbing and learning.

How do you feel that the new version is different from the old version? And how do you think that it's similar?

Well, we have a new cast, obviously, except John. That brings in a whole new, fresh take. But in a lot of ways, I love how much we've paid homage to the original. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. I don't think our goal was to try to reboot, I think our goal was to create a continuation of the original show. The writers have done a beautiful job of capturing that. It's a cozy throwback to the 80s that's delightful for all the family. That's welcoming to an old audience and a new audience because of this fresh cast.

It's also a multi-cam show, which is not all that common anymore. Is that fun to do?

Yeah, it's my favorite. It's my favorite kind of television to make. I wish it was more common. My husband was on a multi-cam for four or five years. A Norman Lear multi-cam. Another technical reboot of One Day at a Time. There's just nothing like a live audience. You can't beat it. We get to be on TV and have an audience. That's the only medium where that exists. It’s pretty magical.

Well, you just mentioned your husband being on One Day at a Time. You were in the series as well with him. What was it like to work with him on the show?

A dream. I believe on my first day, I’d had a baby three weeks prior. I was so really just grateful to Gloria Calderón Kellett and Mike Royce, the show runners, for giving me the opportunity to get back into work and find my sense of self while I was being a mom. A multi-cam schedule is the best way to do that. Three days a week you're home for dinner. Maybe you have a couple of longer days, but for the most part, you get to be around and be with your family, while still continuing in the workplace, which has been traditionally challenging for women. It was incredible to feel supported in that way.

With both of you being working actors, how do you handle being parents and family? Do you schedule around each other's work?

It hasn't been easy. I almost missed our wedding. (laughs) I was at my brother's wedding for 36 hours. I flew into my grandmother's 90th birthday for 24 hours. Also, there's a lot of begging studios and networks and show runners to let you off for huge family events. But thanks to Night Court, I get to pick my son up and drop him off from preschool three days a week, and I'm home for dinner five days a week. I get to see a whole lot more of him. He gets to come to work with me too. So, not only is it a show made for families, but it is a show that's the right one to be shooting if you have a family.

Not only do you have Night Court going on right now, but you're also in the second season of Firefly Lane. The first half has dropped, and the second half is coming in April. That show had been going for a season before you got there. How quickly did you feel like you fit into the cast?

They were so welcoming. They made me feel a part of the group on day one. Sarah Chalke and Katherine Heigl are pros, and two of the nicest human beings I've ever worked with. I only ever continually saw them support each other and their crew and every guest cast member that came through. It was one of my favorite jobs to date.

I had actually read the book of Firefly Lane, which is very different than the series. But were you familiar with the book or even the first season before you got involved with it?

I wasn't familiar with the book. But I always check out the first season, or at least a good stretch of episodes of a show before I audition for it, let alone start working on it. So that I can be respectful, but make sure I'm going to slot in right. I loved it. I thought it was heartwarming and funny and engaging and handled a lot of crazy subjects with grace. It's a beautifully made show. It's just a little pocket of sunshine.

You're playing Charlotte over a period of many different years and in many different positions. She starts out sort of like a slightly nerdy worker, and then she finds herself as a professional. Is it interesting for you to be able to cover the entire scope of her growth?

I loved it. That's the only time I've ever essentially gotten to pay to play two characters on one show. They were the same person – both characters were Charlotte – but Lottie, as you said, was early days finding her feet, a bit of a wallflower. Charlie, once she had aged into herself, was an assertive, accomplished, sexy, young woman. It was incredible to get to flip flop between the two. Also find those two parts of myself. I had a hoot, but I will say Lottie was my favorite by far.

You were recently in New York for Fashion Week. What was that like? And what did you do while you were there?

I had a blast with my mom [British actress Karen de Beaufort]. (laughs) Mom was my partner in crime. We hit the streets and New York loved her. I swear photographers were stopping her left, right and center and she was giving it, and making everybody laugh. I saw a bunch of shows which were really phenomenal and inspiring. We had a bunch of great meals and walked the city. Then after that, we flew to London and hit London Fashion Week. And now back in LA, so busy, busy. But all of it just ignited the flame of my love for fashion, so it was really fun to be there.

You had mentioned earlier that you were originally interested in being a singer before an actress. Do you still do music?

Yeah, I released a single called “Crack” a few years ago. That was sort of political. I never intended it for it to become what it was. I was shooting Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist at the time. I had a lot of time in a hotel room by myself. I just started writing something that I couldn't put down. Then the next thing I knew I had a song. Then the next thing I knew I made a music video. (chuckles) Now it exists, so you can check that out. It's on Spotify streams everywhere. You can see the video on YouTube, or on Instagram. I just directed and I'm editing my next music video which is called “Karma,” that I'm hoping to release in the next couple of months.

Have you heard whether Night Court is going to be coming back?

We have been renewed for a second season. We’re going to hopefully start production sometime soon.

Copyright ©2023 All rights reserved. Posted: March 22, 2023.

Photos #1-4 © 2023 Jordin Althaus. Courtesy of NBC/Warner Brothers Television. All rights reserved.

Photos #5-6 © 2022 Netflix, Inc. Courtesy of Netflix. All rights reserved.


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