The Tom & Lorenzo Archives: 2006 -2011

T Lo Interviews: Morena Baccarin


We are awash in a V glow today, kittens. Why? Well, not only did we get to interview future gay icon Morena Baccarin, who brilliantly portrays future gay icon Anna, but we also got a lovely "Visitors' Peace Ambassadors Program" kit from the fine folks at Warner Brothers, complete with a screener of tonight's episode. Obviously, we can't give away the details but we can say the following:

1) The resistance gets a little more focused (actually, a LOT more) and a little tighter as various characters who haven't met before are introduced to each other.

2) The tension level remains very high as Anna has finally had enough of the Fifth Column and takes some brutal steps to root out the traitors in her midst.

3) Erica's family situation deepens and she makes a tough decision for a mother to make.

4) And speaking of mothers...Val's pregnancy. How to put this? Val's pregnancy is both more complicated and grosser than we originally thought.

5) One member of the resistance looks to be in some serious, serious trouble by episode's end. Like, "There's no way [s]he's not dead" trouble.

6) Cute gay V Joshua has a couple really good scenes.

7) Anna is bitchy, scary, and fierce. But you knew that already.

It's exciting stuff, doubly so because it's all EXACTLY the kind of stuff we felt the show needed to do to move forward. Love it. In all honesty, if the show maintains this level (and hopefully, surpasses it), the loss of Lost isn't going to sting as much. For real. It's not quite there yet, but it's getting there. Fast.

As for the lovely Morena, she couldn't have been cooler and easier to talk to. We're not gonna lie. We had to edit out some of our responses because we would have embarrassed ourselves if we'd published all th
at nerdy fanboy gushing. Suffice it to say, we gushed and she was very warm and gracious about it. After the gushing died down, we pretended to be serious television journalists and got down to brass tacks.

Executive Producer Scott Rosenbaum said in an interview with Mo Ryan that Anna was an “animal.” Do you agree with that?

I do. I think she’s doing what she does to protect her people and to survive.

You've come up with a somewhat distinctive performance style with Anna. It's the one thing everyone who's watched the show talks about. How did that come about?

I have to say it kind of just came out of me when I read those words out loud. I got a great note in the very beginning from Scott Peters, which was that they didn’t want Anna to be alien-like and robotic. The minute I got that note, I was like “Oh, of course.” I mean, she’s an alien but she’s also an animal and she has her own – I keep wanting to say “humanity,” but her own version of it. So I wanted her to be warm and at the same time very calculating. So I just came up with this character that would put a human off guard and have her be trustworthy to humans and they could let her in, so I wanted her to be nice and warm but at the same time you get the feeling that something’s a little off.

When she’s around her own people she’s downright frightening.

[laughs] Yeah, I think that’s when she can be herself and it’s all business and it’s all about getting it done and she’s like a machine in that way. She’s very, “What is going to work the best so that we can assure our survival?”

You're so rigidly in control in every scene. Do you sometimes just want to let it all out and scream your head off at the end of a shooting day?

[laughs] Sometimes I do in the middle of a shooting day! Sometimes I finish a scene and I just go crazy and start dancing on the stage because I feel so penned up. But what's great about that stuff is that all that stuff is so going on underneath the surface. So what’s fun about it is just to let it simmer and then almost let it bubble up to the surface and then I would keep it in. Because I want people to see that something is still going on. She’s not so in control that she doesn’t feel anything. There’s stuff happening underneath and that’s fun to play.

So we loved the return episode. The new approach has made the show all sexed up and sped up, going in a whole bunch of directions at once.
Yeah, it’s insane isn’t it? I feel like as an audience member you can’t catch your breath.

We know you can't give anything away but give us an idea of what’s coming.

You see Anna doing some things, like in this last episode, with the sex scene...or whatever that’s called. I don’t know if you can call it a sex scene. You can just see Anna doing things like that more. You’ll see the mechanics of how her body and how her species works. There’s great stuff coming up in the next episodes with Valerie and her pregnancy that are utterly and completely crazy and insane. And just lots of little things like that, like when I read them I went “Whoa!” and got goosebumps. And the relationships keep getting deeper, like the stuff with Tyler gets very dark and intense, and then Chad and I have some interesting dynamics coming up in the next few episodes.

Are Anna and Erica getting a face-to-face moment?

We are. We just received a script that has a scene with the two of us. It’s very exciting.

It's great that this whole show revolves around two powerful women.
It’s really fun and it’s so awesome of them to make these characters female and it’s great because they’re complete opposites. I think it’s gonna be awesome when these two characters meet and face off with each other.

Tell us a little bit about the casting process. How did that go?

Well, I heard they were making this remake and my agent got me an audition and the minute I read the script, I was like, “Oooh, this is going to be really cool.” I mean, everyone’s heard of the original and even if you’ve never watched it, you remember the iconic moments from it. I just really wanted to be a part of it. I went in and auditioned and gave it my best shot. I just felt really close to this character. I don’t know if that’s a bad thing [laughs] but I just felt like I knew immediately what to do with her.

Did you watch the original series to prepare yourself?
No, I didn’t. I didn’t want to get confused. The show is so, so different from the original and this character is different from – what I remember about Diana is that she was extremely evil through and through and we’re doing something a little more adaptable and relatable to today’s audience. This character seems more nuanced. I basically modeled her after… I asked myself, “What would a person want to see in a politician or diplomat?” So I’d been really attentive to the last presidential election because it was such a big moment for our country, and having seen the debates, I thought, “Wow that’s a really interesting quality to put into Anna, this quality of “I’ll give you what you want, I’ll tell you what you want to hear, and you’ll trust me.” So I added that into the mix.

It's funny you bring up the election because after the premiere, it seems like a lot of viewers perceived political undertones in the show and some thought it was criticizing certain modern political concepts like universal healthcare.

It was really interesting and I think it speaks to how relevant it is to our lives day to day. There was certainly no intention to compare Anna to Obama, which is what a lot of people did, but I think it speaks a lot to how current the show is because people are relating it to their personal lives and healthcare is a big issue. I just love that it took aliens coming down to give us healthcare.

It's always best when a genre like science fiction injects real world concerns into the story so that it really resonates with people.

It is and it gives them an opportunity to imagine their world in a different way.

Now, Anna is a very serious and nuanced and fascinating character but it cannot be denied that the girl has a fierce fashion sense for a lizard.

I love that she wears the alien version of the power suit! Dolce & Gabbana meets V. It’s really fun and I love the way she looks on the show and I love that she has to be received by humans in a package that people find attractive and want to look at and there has to be this sort of modern edge to it, which I think Anna has. You can’t notice this, but my shoes sometimes have a little bit of a snakeskin finish on them. And we like to joke around that maybe that was like her Uncle Bob that passed away.

The last episode in the blowfish scene with Chad Decker, we couldn't help noticing the shoes you had on. Those were at least 5-inch heels. Do you have to wear those kickass heels all day? Your feet must be killing you.

Yeah, they kill me. I have wonderful people on set who, in between shots, take my shoes off and give me Uggs. It’s actually quite an outfit to see Anna’s suit and Uggs. But if I have a 14-hour day my feet are killing me at the end of the day. In fact, that whole platform shoe thing, that needs to go away. I don’t understand what was wrong with the heels we had before.

Back in November we saw a screener of episode 4 before it aired. It was rough and didn’t have any special effects and the audio hadn't been corrected in any way, and there was a scene with you walking down the hallway and we couldn't hear a word of the dialogue because your shoes were making so much noise.
[laughs] It’s a big problem because we’re working in this huge green screen room and everything echoes. There’s like, nothing but green and I’m wearing these heels and walking and you know, you can’t walk quietly in heels. I do wind up having to do a lot of ADR because of heels.

What's it like working with so much green screen? We can't imagine that would be easy for an actor.
Yeah, it’s not fun. I have to say, in the beginning I was like, “This is so awesome. I can’t believe I’m in a huge neon green room and when I see the show I’m going to be in a huge spaceship. That’s so cool!” By Hour 12, I was like, “Get me the hell out of this room.” I close my eyes and I see orange. It gets really tiring and you have to work twice as hard because you have to remember where you are and to add a little something more in your performance to give that illusion that you actually are…where you are. It just takes a little bit more work to remember. When we move sets, I always have to peek around at the monitors to see what room I’m supposed to be in.

When you auditioned for Anna did you have the pixie cut?
I did. I cut it a few years ago for a film and kept it. I thought I was going to hate it but I actually ended up really liking it and feeling so light and loving how easy it was to have this hair. There was a bit of a debate about it before the show. At first they really loved it but then when we went to shoot the pilot there was a little bit of a debate. You know: “Should we put a wig on it or should we leave it short?” And eventually Yves, who was the director of the first two episodes, he was really adamant about the hair being short. He said it makes her look different and at the same time very intriguing to humans. So I thought that was a really interesting take on it, so we kept it.

Not every woman can rock a pixie cut but we have to say, you look like you were born to wear one.
Aww, thank you. I have to say it was a really scary moment. I was like, “Oh my God, I’m going to look like a boy!”

Okay, final question: Have you been practicing your hamster-eating skills?
[laughs] Ummm…no? Hopefully it won’t be me. It seems like Lourdes [who plays Val] has taken on that role and I’m so glad about that.

Thank you, Morena. We wish you lots of luck with this show and we’ll be watching.
Thank you! And thank you so much for being so supportive. I love your blog!

[Photo Credit: ABC TV]

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