Bold & Beautiful’s Sheila has been infuriating viewers and characters alike for decades, but it’s safe to say that, right now, no one hates her more than Li Finnegan. Forget grinding an ax, she’s grinding every blade in the armory. Naomi Matsuda is loving every minute of Li’s volatile need for vengeance — whether it’s directed at our favorite nine-toed recovering psychopath or Li’s own family members.
“It happens so easily for me,” Matsuda tells of Li’s vicious side. “It is super-fun to play that and say hurtful things and know that I’m just pretending. This is my job and I’m a storyteller. If I’m supposed to just tear someone’s head off, I would do it.”
And Sheila’s head would definitely go on Li’s favorite pike. “I think it would satisfy Li if Sheila was dead,” confirms Matsuda. “Li knows that Sheila’s been behind bars many times before and she is always released. So I think for Li to really feel 100 percent safe, Sheila needs to be dead.”
Her seething anger at Sheila isn’t the only intense emotion Li has been radiating all over L.A. Many fans can’t wrap their heads around just why Li is so dang mad at her sister, Poppy, and niece Luna. Just because Poppy had an affair with a doctor where Li worked? What’s the big deal? “A lot of Asian families will understand why Li is doing what she’s doing. Penelope is an embarrassment to the family, to our parents,” explains Matsuda. “The word ‘disgrace’ is used a lot in the Asian cultures.” (For real. Have you ever heard it in Bengali? I definitely have!)
But Matsuda was thrilled to see Li’s family expanding and is relishing the challenge of playing these layers. “All I remember is being told, ‘You’re getting a sister and a niece,’ and that was it,” she recalls. “I was so happy and thankful and then I got the script and I was like, ‘Oh, this goes even deeper.’”
Another point of contention when it comes to the deliciously livid Li? (At least for me personally, anyway.) Why her name is Li when her sister’s name is Penelope. Turns out, there’s beautiful explanation for that choice. Matsuda, who says she is “grateful” that head writer and executive producer Brad Bell is “continuing to write for Li,” shares that with “the fact that Li and was named after his real mother [Bold & Beautiful co-creator Lee Phillip Bell], I feel I have some big shoes to fill.”
Clear out the shelves at Clark’s or DSW, because we think she’s doing a great job so far!