"I'd been working with Chuck Lorre since the dawn of time, starting with Dharma and Greg, so when I get a call about a really cool opportunity to work with him, I say yes, even before I know what it is," O'Keefe says. That's how she ended up playing a prostitute named Mikayla who encountered the Big Bang boys in Vegas in 2009. "I had so much fun with that," she says. "I was covered in tattoos all week long, and I couldn't believe the things that came out of my mouth."
"I'd always said that if there was a great Castle guest spot, I'd love to do it — but I'm secretly terrified of taking my clothes off," she says. That proved to be a problem for her 2012 character Kristina, who was literally referred to as "bikini girl" in a casting breakdown. Speaking with director Kate Woods calmed her nerves, as did her easygoing scene partner. "Nathan Fillion is so easy to work with,” O’Keefe says. “The first thing he said to me on my first day was, 'If you need anything, let me know… and I'll find someone to help you.' He was funny from the jump."
When O'Keefe guest-starred in The WB drama's sixth season as the villainous Spider Demon, witches proved to be the least of her worries. "They gave me these black contact lenses that covered my entire eye," she recalls. "I was stoked about the whole look — especially my long fingernails — but I couldn't see anything. I had to be literally led around the set by one of the ADs. At first, I was like, 'I got this, I'm good on my own. But by the third time I fell on my face, I was like, OK, I can't see anything.'"
"I was bouncing off the walls when I got to Hawaii to film," O'Keefe says of her character Ava, part of the alternate universe towards the end of the series. "This was another dream job. Being on location, in the thick of it all, was amazing. I've shot in Hawaii a few times, and it's always magical."
Looking back on the 122 episodes she spent playing Don Johnson's on-screen daughter Cassidy, O'Keefe says that her favorite memories came from spending time with co-star Cheech Marin. "He's one of the funniest creatures on the face of the planet," she says. "I remember looking at him one day, asking, 'How do you do it? Do you just sit at home, thinking of the jokes you're going to tell the next day?' From the moment I met Cheech, I was enamored by him."
"That's my favorite job of all time," O'Keefe says of playing Gretchen on the Fox drama. "I was a really big fan of the show before I joined, and when I first got there, they told me to stop smiling. They said, 'You have to stop smiling while you're killing people. It's creepy.'"
TWO AND A HALF MEN
After appearing as a character named Gail in 2004, O'Keefe returned to the CBS comedy in 2005 as Isabella, Charlie's mistress of the dark. "Chuck Lorre was like, 'No one will notice you've been on the show before, right?' But the true fans noticed. Hopefully they were different enough; you can't get much more different than a Satan-worshipping witch." As for getting to work opposite Charlie Sheen? "Working on a super-popular show and getting to give the star a run for his money was something to check off the bucket list," she says.
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES
"That whole experience was amazing and bittersweet," O'Keefe says of playing Jo Laughlin, who had the misfortune of dying twice on the CW drama. "When Matt Davis [as Jo's fiancé Alaric] put me in the back of the car and had to put that piece of fabric over my face, I was supposed to be lying there dead, but I was still crying. It took all of my strength to get through that scene. He was just acting his face off."