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New York Daily News
Sela Ward has made a career out of roles that pulled on the heartstrings.
Now, however, she has earned raves for a multi-episode run on Fox's hit "House," marking her first experience on a medical drama and a form she has not worked in before.
"It was definitely an adjustment," she said last week. "It's a procedural show, which I've never done. That's a very different culture than a personal relationship show."
Indeed, she has had to adjust to a style of show focused on the immediacy of the action, rather than one where actors take moments to express emotions.
"It was not a comfort zone for me," Ward said. "That was a challenge for me in a wonderful way. I ended up having a lot of fun toward the end."
The fact is, she just finished filming the last of her seven-episode run this season.
Ward, best known for parts in such critically acclaimed dramas as "Sisters" and "Once and Again," did a two-episode guest appearance last season on "House" playing Stacy Warner, a lawyer who was once in a relationship with Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) - the brilliant, yet cantankerous doctor at the center of the drama.
Ward was brought in to give viewers some insight into House, producers said.
"She's just plays it in a simple way, in a convincing way," executive producer David Shore told The Associated Press. "Without turning things into melodrama, she sucks you in and makes you want to cry for her."
For Ward, last season's episodes marked a return to the small screen after being away since "Once and Again" was canceled by ABC after a three-season run in 2002.
It also meant she was a newcomer to an already established show and not the center of attention.
"It's a good adjustment because you don't have that pressure. I'm not in every scene," she said. "At the same time, I'm used to having that focus and being the character that's driving the story."
Despite the good notices she has gotten from being on "House," Ward admitted that she's more comfortable in relationship shows.
Ward next plays Kevin Costner's wife in the upcoming film "The Guardian."
Away from work, Ward is focused on Hope Village, a place she and her husband created in Meridian, Miss., to give shelter to abused kids.
It's also a family affair. Her 11-year-old son, Austin, recently came up with the idea of selling emergency backpacks to raise money for the village through a soon-to-be-active Web site, http://preparedpak.com/main.html. "It's a big part of our lives as a family," she said. "It's very real and grounding."
(c) 2005, New York Daily News. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service.