Meg Steedle steals the show on 'Boardwalk Empire'
This Sept. 12, 2012 photo shows actress Meg Steedle poses for a portrait in New York. Steedle portrays Billie Kent in the popular HBO series premiering Sunday, Sept. 16 at 9 p.m. EST. (Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP)
NEW YORK (AP) — For the first two seasons of "Boardwalk Empire," romance was elusive for Enoch "Nucky" Thompson.
He rules Atlantic City, N.J., as its city father, major-domo mobster and, with this HBO drama set in Prohibition days, its reigning bootlegger.
But never mind all that. Nucky (played by unlikely leading man Steve Buscemi) wants love.
By now his overwrought mistress Lucy Danziger is history. His marriage to social climber Margaret Schroeder is over in every way but keeping up appearances.
How nice for Nucky that as Season 3 begins, he has lost his heart (or a reasonable facsimile) to Broadway chorine Billie Kent. And how nice, too, for viewers, who will surely fall for the actress who plays her, a budding It Girl named Meg Chambers Steedle.
Airing Sunday at 9 p.m. EDT, "Boardwalk" picks up the action on Dec. 31, 1922, as Nucky and Margaret host a rousing New Year's gala. The entertainment: famed Broadway musical star Eddie Cantor teaming up with his slinky song-and-dance sidekick, Billie, who perform a fanciful number, "Old King Tut," for the ballroom full of revelers.
It's the viewers' first brush with Billie, but not the last. In the wee hours after the party, Nucky is seen ditching Margaret at home to rejoin Billie, who, stripped to her drawers, awaits him in bed at his boardwalk suite.
"This is the only place I can truly rest my head," says Nucky, resting his head in her lap.
She smiles. Then she playfully warns, "You aren't resting NOW," before climbing astride him.
This is Nucky as we've never seen him: the power broker as a lovestruck swain.
But who can blame him?
"Billie is really a breath of fresh air for him," says Terence Winter, the creator of "Boardwalk" and one of its executive producers. "She represents the whole idea of the youth culture that took over the 1920s — half-bohemian, half-adventurer, and out to have a good time."
"How the writers described Billie to me was, 'The second girl from the left,'" Steedle says. "She's 'the girl onstage who's not the lead, but the one you can't take your eyes off.' She's fun. She loves the limelight. And she's not where she wants to be: She's moving from the left, trying to get to the center."
This image released by shows Meg Chambers Steedle portraying Billie Kent in a scene from the third season od "Boardwalk Empire." The popular HBO series premieres Sunday, Sept. 16 at 9 p.m. EST. (AP Photo/HBO, Macall Polay)
It was Winter who wrote this season opener and thus gave birth to Billie. But you can thank Meg Chambers Steedle for giving her life.