411’s Al Norton sits down for an exclusive interview with V star Elizabeth Mitchell to discuss tonight’s season finale, the best ways for fans to help get the show a third season, and working with Josh Holloway on Lost.
Elizabeth Mitchell first came to the public’s attention via the HBO movie Gia and her role on ER, and from then hit the bring screen The Santa Clause 2 and 3, but it was her role as Juliet on Lost that launched her to the next level, a performance that earned her an Emmy nomination during the show’s last season. She can currently be seen starring on ABC’s V, which airs its second season finale tonight at 9pm.
Al Norton: I was nervous about setting this interview up because we talked once before back in 2008 and the very next day the newspaper I was working for went out of business.
Elizabeth Mitchell: Oh no! I hope I’m not a jinx. I’m going to be good…something great is going to happen to you tomorrow, I promise.
Al Norton: How frustrating is it as an actress to know that you have created a quality product but that people don’t seem to watching, at least not in masses.
Elizabeth Mitchell: I don’t worry so much about it. I never feel like a sci-fi show will have a huge audience until it really starts to catch on and it kind of has to be nurtured. I look back at the track of Star Trek and I feel like it takes time to build an audience and I feel like that’s ok. I think the people we do have are pretty loyal and I’ve been very happy about that. I feel bad because if it doesn’t go on, the six million people who have been loyal, who have been watching, are going to not have their show! That’s who were doing it for, that core audience that’s been with us from the start and stuck in there through changes, through different lead-in’s.
I’m just grateful for what is and don’t spend much time thinking about anything else. I think we’ve put out a good show and I’m always happy when the product is good, when we’ve done something we’re all proud of. That makes me feel better than anything.
Al Norton: It seems like V would be a great opportunity for the major networks to borrow the format from cable and go with a 10, 12, or 14 episode season.
Elizabeth Mitchell: I think that that might be great, especially if you could go out with a bang and keep the shorter run really, really filled with energy. It would give it the chance to let it grow, find an even bigger audience and come up with new ideas. That would be exceptional, you’re absolutely right. Go and run and network, will you?!? Maybe that will be the good thing that happens tomorrow, you can get a network (laughing)!
Al Norton: If the season finale ends up being the series finale, are you ok with the way you go out?
Elizabeth Mitchell: I’m ok with the quality of the work but as a fan of the show I don’t think I’d be particularly happy. I like the whole season and think from episode 6 on we did some exceptional work and I’m very proud of that but no, as a fan I don’t think I would be satisfied at all.
Is it an entertaining hour of television on its own? Yes, it is. It’s a finale, so there’s going to be twice as much action and twice as much emotion, plus people die and that always seems to be something that draws people in for some sick reason (laughing). I would be disappointed if we weren’t able to complete the story, if we didn’t come back for a final showdown.
Al Norton: So the build up about the amount of action and carnage for the finale is true?
Elizabeth Mitchell: Yes, there’s a lot of hurtin’ going on for sure. I sound like a sci-fi geek but it’s not Red Shirt action, it’s good, serious, heart breaking stuff, at least it was for me. I’m always sad to see any of my coworkers go, especially ones I’ve been really close with, so it’s very emotional to me. The great thing I learned about going out from Lost is you get to go out with quite a lot of fanfare (laughing); when they write a death scene, they go all out.
Al Norton: With these two shows you have steady work at conventions for the rest of your life.
Elizabeth Mitchell: I know, I’ve heard this (laughing). I’ve never been paid to go to one but I’ve heard you can ask. I’ve always given my autograph for free (laughing). I love that it’s possible because I have a 5 year old and should it come to that, I’d be very happy to do so (laughing).
Al Norton: I wanted to ask you about the Lost finale and in particular the scene with you and Josh (Holloway) at the vending machine; how much time did you spend rehearsing and how many takes did you do?
Elizabeth Mitchell: Not very much time and not many. Josh and I had shorthand for emotion with at that point. I get very close with the people I have to have an on-screen love relationship with. I don’t know any other way to do it than to just trust them completely and with Josh, by that time, I did just love him. I’m really lucky because my husband just loves him, too. It’s not a physical love, I really just love him and trust him, and putting my arms around him and holding him is very, very easy to do on an emotional level. Of course, he’s not hard to look at, either, so there’s that.
As far as the connection goes, we just had a wonderful connection so it was very easy to play, and we knew the characters really well. Plus there’s just something about him as this big, strong, sweet guy and just watching his face fill with emotion got me every time. I’m so impressed with him as an actor; he’s so pretty that you forget how talented he is.
Al Norton: You mention being a Mom; how goes balancing being a Mom with working in Hollywood?
Elizabeth Mitchell: I don’t know, I think I do alright. Anytime you’re a working Mother you’re going to do with loads of guilt in any direction. There were times when I was studying lines at 3 in the morning and I went to work and people looked at me and said, “oh my gosh!” I love being a Mom, I love showing him that women are strong and that women can work, can follow their passion and also be loving at home. I think it works out most of the time. He’s a really good kid (laughing), but that may be just him being himself and have nothing to do with me role. I find the whole thing guilt-laden and joyful at the same time. Any Mom will tell you that taking care of your kid is a much harder job than working 16 hours on the set of a TV show (laughing).
Al Norton: So the best thing for fans of V to do to show their support is watch the finale
Elizabeth Mitchell: If they do so it could really make a difference if we come back for a third season. We haven’t been told anything secretly that we’re not sharing; nothing has been decided. This is the time; if this is a show you want to watch, you should watch the finale. I hate to say it but you should watch it live and not on tape since those viewers mean more to the network since you then watch the lovely advertisements and they can get more money from the ad guys (laughing). I’m not telling people what to do, just saying what would make the biggest impact.
Al Norton: They could watch it live and then watch it on DVR so they can count twice.
Elizabeth Mitchell: Oh, that’s a great idea! Watch on every TV you have and then go over to your Mother’s house and watch it there, too (laughing). I like it!
Don’t miss the season finale of V, tonight at 9pm on ABC.