Perhaps something supernatural rubbed off on actress Elizabeth Mitchell after spending a few years playing Juliet Burke on television’s “Lost.”
“I really wanted to work with Dane Cook,” Mitchell says. “I had heard a lot about him. Oddly enough, I had a dream that I worked with him a week before the script [for ‘Answers to Nothing’] came in. I am not particularly a dream person but I was like, ‘OK, that is really weird. I had better pay attention to that.’”
In “Answers to Nothing,” Mitchell plays one in a disparate collection of Los Angeles residents who, while crossing paths in a web of interlocking stories, find themselves faced with decisions that will radically change the course of their lives – and the lives of others – in ways they least expect. Mitchell’s character struggles with unhappiness as it pertains to her marriage to her husband, played by Cook.
“He was very concentrated,” Mitchell says of her costar, who is known best for his comedy – which tends to push the limits of decency. “He was very kind. He worked really hard. I was really impressed with him. I had a great time with him. I was kind of amazed how different he is than what you would think he would be like. He is kind of a stand-up guy – which I probably should not say because he has got a reputation to uphold.”
However, the opportunity to work with Cook was not the sole factor that encouraged Mitchell to take the role in “Answers to Nothing.” The actress also found the character interesting because she was “so quietly and beautifully written.” In fact, writer/director Matthew Leutwyler’s screenplay is perhaps the part of the project that impressed her most.
“I know that sounds ridiculous but it was such a pleasure to have these lines and to say them,” Mitchell explains. “It is like flying when the words are lovely. And the silences are fun when you are so firmly in your character and Matthew just lets it keep going. I was so grateful for that. Matthew makes you feel very strong as an actor.”
Moreover, Mitchell simply liked her character’s desperation – particularly her decision to not confront her husband who, as it turns out, has been cheating on her. The actress adds that all all of the things that one would think that they would do in the situation, her character did not do. Of course, there was also the character’s struggle to conceive a child.
“I think that it is a heartbreaking thing to feel like you have got life and you want this one thing so much that you cannot believe it,” says Mitchell, noting that she has friends who have gone through similar struggles. “I understand that. Longing and wanting things and being single-minded are definitely some things with which I am familiar so I really appreciated that about her.”
And while there is no doubt that “Answers to Nothing” is a rather depressing motion picture, Mitchell claims that it was not tough at all for her to essentially leave her character behind at the end of the day – something she cannot say about some of her past roles – because she and her character lived their lives very different from one another. Of course, the fact that she was working on another project at the same time helped, too.
“I was so busy that I did not have a chance to sit at home and think about it.” Mitchell explains. “I would do my prep work, go to work and do it then drive home. She would kind of just leave me as my drive progressed. The thing that is wonderful about her is that she is not in any way evil. She is such a lovely woman that she did not really bother me at all.”
Mitchell notes that she promised her son earlier this year that she would take 12 months off from acting. Save for a stint on “Law and Order,” to which she brought her son along, the actress has kept her word. Now in the 11th hour, so to speak, she is excited to get back to work but does not have anything specific lined up.
Although she has not heard anything about bringing “Lost” to the big screen, Mitchell notes that she would love to work again with the cast, whom she genuinely considers to be part of her family.. The same goes for “The Santa Clause,” the family film franchise in which the actress played the first lady of Christmas – Mrs. Claus.
“I will go on record and say that I would love to do another ‘The Santa Clause’ but I imagine it would take a tremendous amount to get [Tim Allen] back in that makeup again,” says Mitchell, noting that the transformation process takes a total of 4 hours. “I loved working with Tim so much. First of all, he is just a good guy. And then he is so flipping funny that my stomach hurts at the end of the day.”