Elizabeth Mitchell on the return of 'V': 'If you were frustrated by the last season, which you probably were, I think that this will be far more satisfying.'
Image Credit: Bob D’Amico/ABCElizabeth Mitchell knows that the V reboot had some problems in its first year. “The critique of the first season is right on,” she says. “There’s a quiet group of people talking around doing something? That’s not fun to watch! That will change.” EW caught up with the star on the eve of V‘s re-re-rebooted second season to talk about the changes made to the show, the difference between icky romance and strong-person romance, and the finer points of front-yard lightsaber fighting.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Going into the season premiere, what’s your short pitch to fans who were disappointed by the first season of V?
ELIZABETH MITCHELL: My short pitch is: You will not be bored. [laughs] My little-bit-longer pitch is: If you were frustrated by the last season, which you probably were — I was, a little bit — I think that this will be far more satisfying. There is far more action and there is far more of what you want in an alien-invasion story, where the aliens are out to use us as food and take our technology and do everything bad you can think about. There’s more of that wonderful thing of”Us-Against-Them” stuff, which is always so satisfying in a fictional sense. And also, there’s some good sexy stuff!
How is this season different from the last one?
I think the last three episodes [of season 1] were a good indicator of where this season is headed. Instead of people sitting around talking people were actually accomplishing things. I wanted to be an action hero, not an exposition hero! I spent all that time training, learning to kick ass, and then all I did was talk. I was like, “I’m so bored! I wanna hit people and kiss boys!” [Laughs] The first one comes in quickly, and it’s eerie, what happens and the way they go about it. It starts just like a movie, which is the way that you want it to. The effects in it are just gruesomely good.
Do we get to see more of the Visitors’ bodies? Or a closer look at Ryan’s hybrid baby?
We get to see more than we ever have. You see the baby’s head, you see the baby’s back. [The producers are] definitely doing what I hoped they would do, which is to titillate but at the same time to satisfy. I feel like you have to do that. Otherwise, you’re just watching, like, “Well, are we never gonna see that?” We need to have anticipation, but we also need to be a little bit happy.
Initially, it seemed like Erica had a bit of chemistry with Joel Gretsch’s Father Jack, but towards the end of the season she seemed to be developing some feelings for Hobbs.
It does feel that way! It’s kind of going to be interesting to see where that particular storyline goes. Because Hobbs is a mercenary. He basically stands for everything that Erica hates! But my choices are between that and God’s son [laughs]. Maybe it’s just because I’m a woman, but even as a lover of sci-fi, one of the things that makes it more fun is the possibility of romance. I’m not talking about an icky romance, I’m talking a strong-person romance. Especially when it’s really strong people engaged in some kind of horrible tragedy.
So Erica takes a more pro-active role this season?
Erica gets tougher and tougher, and I like to think that’s because I write them an email every week saying “Please, just let her be tougher! What would a man do here? Just pretend I’m not a woman! People know I’m a girl, so let’s just have her be a hardass!” [laughs] My ideal version is for Erica to not be the one we root for. I live very happily in morally ambiguous. I find as an actor, playing those darks is always fun.
That was the interesting thing with Juliet on Lost: You didn’t know for a very long time whether she’d be good or evil.
It was shocking for me that anyone ever liked her! I loved her with a passion, but only because she wasn’t trying to make anyone like her. A lot of times, you get onto these shows, and they’re like, “You need to be likable, you need to be likable.” I just need for the story to feel real to me, and to feel authentic. I’m an oddity. And obviously I’m not going to be someone who sells TV shows [laughs]. But they hired me! They knew what they were getting.
Have you gotten to work with Jane Badler at all?
A little. She’s fantastic, and a bigger flirt than I am. We’re both really good about it, we’re really respectful flirts. But I admire her, she’s got mad game. I think that she’s wonderful, and she’s motherly, but sexy and kind at the same time. I’m very entranced with her. The boys finish a day working with her and they come back, like, “Wow.” [laughs]
Are you still filming the series?
We’ve finished all our episodes! It is a ten-episode season, so it’s going to be like a little miniseries.
Is ABC going to play every episode?
I’ve been told they’re going to play it all out. I’ve been told that’s the reason for the ten: they have an exact time, an exact slot, an exact period of time that they want to do it, that they’ve really thought it out. You never know, things always change, but that was always the plan.
Are you working on anything else right now?
I promised my five-year-old I would do a lot of nothing. We have lightsabers and we fight outside in the yard at night to make them glow. And we make noises. I do dress sometimes as a Jedi master. Because I’m a mom, and that’s what we do. I have a fair knowledge of swordplay, so now I just have to figure out my lightsaberplay.
What color lightsaber do you prefer to use?
How interesting that you would ask! Blue and red are the two we play with.
Vintage! Does he lean towards the prequel trilogy, or is he an old-school fan?
Oh, I don’t think I’m going to show him the prequels. [Laughs]
Probably a good call. Last question: Does this ten-episode season end at a place that points directly forward to a third season? Or is there a potential roundout in the season finale, if V doesn’t get picked up.
I wouldn’t say that episode 10 is a series-ender by any stretch of the imagination. It ends in such a way that you’d want to see a third season. It leaves you really ramping up for a big fight.
Who would ever do that?