The L.A. Complex is sexy, smart and Canadian made
The faded sign out front of the Hollywood hotel says “Deluxe Suites,” although truth be told the rooms stretch the boundaries of that adjective. In the courtyard, a cleaning crew pushes mops around the deck of the pool area, as a couple of inflatable chairs gently jostle on top of the sparkling surface. There was a party here the night before, I’m told, which could explain why the faded, weathered building is so quiet on a sunny, crisp morning.
Except, the real explanation is that this is not a hotel. It’s a television set, albeit a huge one, constructed on a lot in midtown Toronto that backs onto the Don River Valley. And the party, evidence of which is still being cleaned up, was a scene in The L.A. Complex. How to film a television series about a group of aspiring actors and artists living in one of the pay-by-the-month hotels in the outer reaches of Los Angeles? First, build the hotel. Next, add some aspiring actors.
“It’s a little too real,” says Jewel Staite, sitting in her room at the hotel, which is to say it is the room occupied by Raquel Monaghan, her character on the show. “This set reminds me of what it’s like to be out of work.”
It’s impossible to get away from the life-imitating-art angle of The L.A. Complex, since most of the cast has spent time doing exactly what it is they are trying to portray: living in L.A., going to auditions and waiting tables in between. “A bunch of us were out for dinner the other night, and there was a mix-up with the waitress, and it led to this debate about the right order of doing things for a table. Everyone had an opinion,” says Staite, “because everyone had done it.”