NBC‘s The Event (Mondays, 9 p.m. ET), does come with its advantages for Laura Innes. For instance, when she asked the producers, “So what’s the deal?” on her second meeting with them, they actually told her enough of the plot to make her jaw drop. “They have it all arc’d out, and my character, I’m assuming, knows the most about what the end game is. So I know, and Jason [Ritter] and Blair [Underwood] are in the dark, which is as it should be. I think that I’m the only trustworthy person on that show obviously,” she joked to EW this morning. “They’re trying to trick me into telling them, often. They’ll just try to toss it out. ‘So, Laura… what’s with that event?’ My kids are going crazy. My nine-year-old daughter, every morning: ‘Tell me what the event is, mother.’ But I can’t tell.” Let’s see what we can get out of her:Playing Sophia, the leader of the mysterious detainees on
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Who’s the hardest person to keep the secret from?
LAURA INNES: I think Jason, just because he’s so sweet. You kind of want to tell him everything about your life. And he’s a good listener. So I kind of wanted to tell him. But I have been good at keeping it from him.
What’s the best bribe someone has offered you?
That would have to be my daughter, who said, “I will give you a quarter if you tell me what the event is.” I was like, “Tempting. But I think you have to keep that quarter for yourself.” I’m amazed. We were just doing Kathie Lee and Hoda and half the guys on the crew were like [shouts], “What happened to the plane?” “What’s the event?” So people are interested. We’re happy. We just want them to be more interested.
I missed Kathie Lee and Hoda. They could’ve tried to get you drunk with wine so you’d spill some details.
I know. They had some wine coolers, but god knows what they put in those things, so I couldn’t do it. I won’t do it. It’s very serious: We have to sign these contracts. We have to shred our scripts, and our scripts are emblazoned with our name across every page so they know if you leave it in Starbucks who screwed up. It’s very serious business.
How soon will we find out enough that you don’t have to live your life in fear of screwing up?
[Laughs] The good news, bad news of this show is that every week you find out something really fun and gasp-y. Tonight is no exception. Tonight we find out a lot more about my identity and why I’m in the predicament that I’m in. The episode ends with a fantastic cliffhanger. So it’s always that little game we play with the audience where here, we’ll give you some information and then we’ll leave you asking more questions to bring you into our web of intrigue. I think originally, in my first meeting, they talked about “The Event” being revealed at the end of year five. And then when Evan Katz came on the show [as showrunner] from 24, I imagine he just said right away, “No, no, no, no. You can’t make people wait five years.” So they are going to reveal some big thing of many other little big things [Laughs] at the end of year 1 or the beginning of year 2. So they’re trying to make everybody happy and till come back for more.
In a preview clip for tonight’s episode (below), Sophia tells the President [Underwood] her people have been waiting 66 years. When she talks about her people, is she referring to her fellow detainees or people somewhere outside the facility?
[Silence] Beep. The line goes dead. They’ve cut off the line. You can’t hear me anymore. You know what, she’s talking about the people in the prison, and that’s all I can tell you. [Laughs] This show is very hard to do interviews on. But you do find out a lot more tonight, a lot more about her relationships, about why she’s there. There’s kind of a yummy flashback scene where you find out how she ended up in her predicament. The flashbacks have been fun for us. They balance out, to me, the thriller/action aspect of the show. It’s nice to have these scenes where you go, “Oh, that’s how she got to be who she is” or “That’s why this is so meaningful to him.” It gives you that breathing space to connect to the characters because otherwise, who cares what happens to these people? Episodes 2 and 3 are very good. For all of us [actors], too, you never know how these things are gonna turn out. Everyone was very relieved that 2 and 3 came out so well, because that’s sort of the trick: get people coming back initially and then hopefully spend a lot of their life watching us. [Laughs] I was a Lost fan. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t mind not knowing what the hell’s going on. So I’m the perfect audience for any of these shows.
I didn’t know what was happening when Jason pulled out that gun on the plane. He’s so likable, you can’t imagine him as a bad guy but you had to, for at least a moment.
I know. It’s great. It’s nice to see this super cuddly guy pull out a gun. You’re like, “Ohmygosh, he’s like a little teddy bear… he’s holding a gun!”
Will we ever see Sophia packing heat?
I don’t know, but I can only hope. I think she’s got like an M-16 strapped to her bra or something. I think we’re all gonna be having guns. Maybe a flare gun. A torpedo would be good. A grenade. Anything. Laughing gas.