In an exclusive with PopCulture.com, Lauren Holly reveals her new character, Lynn Harper, will bring the opioid crisis to the table on the Netflix series — an ongoing issue that has left her stunned over the growing severity among those affected in the U.S.
"I don't have a personal connection, but it absolutely terrifies me," Holly said, adding how she has also done her fair share of research about the issue prior to taking on the role.
When she first met Designated Survivor showrunner Neal Baer, Holly said he suggested she read Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America by Beth Macy, and she has "since become obsessed" by the crisis.
"This is just an enormous problem, and it affects everyone from all walks of life. And it's so devastating, I mean, absolutely devastating," she explained. "Before I had finished the book and before I started actually filming, I have three sons and two of them both just crazily had to have knee surgery. They gave me a bunch of pills after the knee surgery and I was just like, 'Nope. We're not taking any. You guys are just going to take Advil.'"
The Dumb and Dumber actress went on to call the crisis "frightening" and a "terrible, terrible thing."
"The fact they just pump these drugs into communities is just horrific," she said, later explaining that it's a "real" disease affecting millions. "Your organs cry for it. It's just terrible and it just turns a bunch of people into heroin addicts."
When asked if she planned to take up the cause of raising awareness for the crisis after she is finished with Designated Survivor, Holly said it was a cause "everyone should take up."
"Of course, I'd get involved, I'd do whatever," Holly told PopCulture.com. "I'm thankful that it hasn't happened to anybody in my family, but I know a lot of people who it has gotten to. There's a portion about, that they think might be 25 percent of the population, that you can't help but immediately become addicted. Your genetic makeup makes you addicted. It's just so frightening and it's a lifelong problem. Once you've gone through it, you're dealing with it for life."
As for Designated Survivor, Holly comes in at an interesting point of the show's history. It originally ran on ABC in the U.S., but was canceled after two seasons. Although the show was low rated, it had a legion of die-hard fans that prompted Netflix and Entertainment One to renew it for a third season.
The series stars Kiefer Sutherland as Kirkman, a former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development who became president after a devastating attack on the U.S. Capitol left almost the entire government wiped out. Although this will be the third season on a new network, Holly said it felt like the cast was making a brand new show.
"I got the feeling, and I don't know this for sure, but it seems like everyone was so thrilled to be there," Holly said. "They loved the script, they love the... I guess the first two seasons they had gone through lots of changes, lots of changes with producers, lots of changes with cast. Seemed to be something that was kind of in flux a lot, and that was not the atmosphere at all. Like people just seemed pretty darn thrilled."
Holly is also sure the new episodes will be embraced by fans of the series and those coming to it for the first time.
"I think that though there are so many fans of the show out there. And I know when Netflix bought the show and decided to do it, like the first two seasons on, I know they were very popular on Netflix," she told PopCulture.com. "So I'm hoping that there's a good appetite for them."
Designated Survivor Season 3 will be available on Netflix Friday. The first two seasons are also available to stream.