October 5, 2009

Elizabeth Mitchell Fights the “V” in ABC’s New Series

The ABC television series V, premiering on November 3rd, is a re-imagining of the 1980’s miniseries about the world’s first encounter with an alien race. Simultaneously appearing over every major city in the world, the Visitors, or V’s, promote a message of peace. Through their generous offer to share advanced technology, the V’s build a following that may actually hide a more malevolent agenda.
While the world quickly becomes fascinated with the V’s and their link to wonders just beyond the reach of human understanding, FBI Counter Terrorist Agent Erica Evans (Elizabeth Mitchell) discovers a secret hidden beneath the skin of every V, that may threaten the lives of everyone close to her. Yet for her teenage son, Tyler (Logan Huffman), the V’s represent a new chance for mankind to unite in common goals.
Actress Elizabeth Mitchell, also known for her work on the popular ABC drama Lost, spoke to the press about what attracted her to the alien invasion series.

Q: By the end of the hour in the V pilot, you have the potential to be a real resistance leader in a classic-hero sense. Your character is also a mom. This just seems like one of the richest roles you’ve had. Between this show and Lost, are you surprised by all of the good things that have happened to you, in the last few years? What do you think of this role, in general?
Elizabeth: I’m always surprised, always grateful and always giggling, a little bit, so I hope to continue to feel that way. I loved my role on Lost. I thought it was incredibly rich, and I enjoyed every minute of playing it. And, I really thought I was going to take a break, in between doing that and doing this, and doing the bit of Lost that I had left.
And then, my manager called and said that Morris Chestnut had read the V script and really liked it, so I thought, “Well, if he liked it, then I should read it.” So, I read it and I really did fall in love with the character. I called one of my best friends and I had her read it, and she also fell in love with the character.
I like playing a traditional hero. I don’t think I’ve ever done it before, and it’s big shoes to fill because we’ve had some amazing heroes. I did a panel with Sigourney Weaver at Comic-Con, and she said she always chooses male roles because she feels like they are meatier. But, this indeed started out as a woman, in this incarnation. In the previous one, I believe it was a man. So, I’m incredibly excited, and I do feel like it’s a lot. I’m just hoping to step up to it.

Q: How do you like working in Vancouver now, especially with Lost being in Hawaii?
Elizabeth: I think going back and forth is going to be difficult, but there are some beautiful airlines with lovely reclining beds. I’ll be commuting a lot, but my home is in Seattle, so Vancouver is great for me. Seattle is one of those airports that can go to Hawaii or Vancouver, and you don’t have to keep switching planes.

Q: Since you ka-boomed yourself with the bomb at the end of the season for Lost, will you be returning at all before it’s done?
Elizabeth: It did seem that I ka-boomed myself with a bomb. I’ll have to teach that word to my 4-year-old. Ka-boomed is good. I am going to be traveling to Hawaii more than once, so we’ll see how that plays out. My producers have said it’s all right, which is good. So, yes, I will actually be back on Lost, but I can’t say whether I’m dead or not. As in all things in Lost, it will be fairly tricky.

Q: Have you been told anything about your return?
Elizabeth: I have, but I can’t say because it’s instrumental to the story.

Q: What do you think of what they’re going to have you do?
Elizabeth: I really love half of it and, as with all things with the writers, I know that the half that I’m like “Really?!” about, will be the stuff where I’m like, “That was the best thing I ever did!” I have a tremendous amount of trust in them. I know that sounds like a bubble answer, but it’s actually true. They’ve really served me incredibly well. They’ve done great things for me.

Q: The last season of Lost was great. How did you feel about it?
Elizabeth: I actually had something to do, in that season. I really enjoyed it so much, and I got to work with Josh Holloway. We’ve said this before, but Josh and I were not keen on working together. Sawyer and Kate had such great chemistry. I enjoyed tormenting Jack so much that it was really fun. But, what happened there, and what surprised me, was that we actually grew to enjoy each other tremendously, and our hearts broke when we had to leave each other.
That, to me, is one of those wonderful things you don’t expect, and then it happens. For that reason, I love that season. And, I also loved watching him evolve. As an actor, he just blossomed like a flower. You don’t want to compare men to flowers, but I just thought he was so sexy and so vibrant, in his happiness, and I enjoyed that with him.

Q: Will there be more action for you, coming up in V?
Elizabeth: Yes. There is more kick-ass action. I like the second episode even better than the pilot. It’s not cerebral. It is so active that you find yourself caught up in it. It made me very happy.

Q: Do you like strong women?
Elizabeth: I love strong women. I find with that, when all of that is happening, you don’t think as much, and not thinking, as an actor, is really good. I tend to over-think things. So, when I’m running around and gasping for air, or beating people up, whatever is happening on my face, I have no control over

Q: Did you have to work out more to prepare for this role?
Elizabeth: I did. I work out about two hours a day. I do mixed martial arts and I run. And, I have a really crazy trainer, named Jose, who just beats me into submission. I call him “the angry man.”

Q: Do you have a diet that you follow?
Elizabeth: I always cut out sugar and wheat because I find that they drag my energy down. But, everything else is pretty much fair game. I love berries and whipped cream. But, if I cut out the wheat and the sugar, I can usually go down several dress sizes.

Q: Had you seen the original V when it was on television?
Elizabeth: I did watch the show, when I was kid. I think I was about 13. I was allowed to watch an hour of television with my parents. I really liked it. I liked the escape of it, and I liked the entertainment of it. It was a fun night for me. We made a celebration of it, and I hope that other teenagers will do that with their parents now. It’s something that kids don’t do as much anymore. Oh, my God, I sound like I’m 80.

Q: Did your memories of the original V come back, when you started this?
Elizabeth: They did come back. And, I also feel a tremendous obligation to the people who watched before, to not mess it up. However, my character didn’t really exist. She’s a compilation of other characters, therefore I’m given a little bit of a gift, of not having to fill the shoes that Morena [Baccarin] is having to do, which she does really beautifully and completely differently, and that is so nice. But, I’m able to really love the old and not feel bad about the new. It’s good.

Q: Did you re-shoot the fight scene in pilot?
Elizabeth: Yes. I wasn’t as skilled a fighter in the pilot, as I am now, so my punch looked a little like a 12-year-old girl’s. But, I don’t think that’s why. They wanted it to be more dangerous, higher tech, they wanted the guys to look sincerely terrifying, when they coming after us, and they wanted them to have more gadgets. I’m a gadget girl. I like them.

Q: You’re a techno girl?
Elizabeth: I am, yeah. I have an iPhone and I go crazy on it. I’m always texting my husband. My son is four, and he puts new pictures on there for me, all the time. If I can’t work it, he’ll fix it. It’s crazy. I don’t let him watch TV, so he’s bored and he takes my phone. I can’t take it away from him ‘cause I’m on it. He doesn’t see me watch TV, but I’m on my phone.

Q: How do you explain that you work on TV, but he can’t watch TV?
Elizabeth: I don’t think he knows.

Q: Do you watch TV?
Elizabeth: I watch after he goes to sleep.

Q: What do you watch?
Elizabeth: I watch Battlestar Galactica, 24 and Weeds. Mary Louise Parker should be given every award she can be, for that role. She amazes me, and I like how complex she is.

Q: What makes you turn off the TV?
Elizabeth: Anything that has characters I don’t believe in, I turn away. I can’t watch characters I don’t believe in, words that people just don’t say, or women that aren’t in strong situations. I’m a really big sucker for a female protagonist. In the books I read, too

Q: What are you reading?
Elizabeth: I read anything that has a female protagonist. The last thing I read was trashy. It was called The Quickie, and it was by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. I read it on a plane, and it was really fun. It’s about this woman, and she thinks her husband had an affair, so she has an affair with someone else, and it turns out he’s a really bad guy and everyone ends up killing everyone else, and she has to cover it up because she’s a detective.

Q: How are you balancing work and motherhood?
Elizabeth: Oh, it’s hard to balance that. I have a really supportive husband, and he does it, in a graceful way. When I have time off, I don’t do anything else, and that’s because I have a supportive husband. I give him his 3 ½ months, to do whatever it is he wants to do.
It’s nice playing a mother because I haven’t really had a chance to do that. I did it in Frequency, but to do it to this magnitude, where my son is actually in grave danger, is fascinating to me. In the past, he’s been a kid who has listened to her, and she thinks that that’s going to be the case again. She’s been a good mom, but she’s been a single mom.

V” premieres on ABC on November 3rd


Liz| CJ | Lost | V | xm