JULY 3, 2016
THE GOLDEN GIRL OF SUMMER! Actress ELIZABETH MITCHELL Steals The Season With DEAD OF SUMMER and THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR!
Just in case there’s a chance you’re unfamiliar with the name Elizabeth Mitchell, you’re definitely familiar with her credits. The striking blond, blue-eyed beauty got her start in what was easily the best television movie (and maybe even the best movie) of all time, starring opposite Angelina Jolie in HBO’s Gia. For an actress to be able to hold her own, let alone shine so bright next to Angelina Jolie- especially in such a tour de force- is an accomplishment worthy of genuflection. But, Mitchell wasn’t just there for support, she lent a special touch to the film that made it one of the best love stories in modern cinema. And she has been bringing that talent and passion to every role she has graced ever since. From Lost, to V, to Revolution, to Once Upon a Time, fans have fallen in love with the dynamic actress time and time again as she always manages to resonate with their heart and souls. There is a certain power in Mitchell’s performances that can never be ignored.
Now, Mitchell has landed herself on Freeform’s new spooky coming of age campfire tale; Dead Of Summer. The series, which blends Nightmare on Elm Street and John Hughes teen movies, finds a rag-tag bunch of teenagers finding their way through life and mystery at a potentially haunted summer camp in 1989. If the plot already sounds too youthful for your tastes? So will the first ten minutes. But, the minute Mitchell comes on screen she glows like a reassuring beacon of light, reminding audiences just how captivating she can be- which was most likely the ploy of producers Edward Kitsis, Ian Goldberg, and Adam Horowitz, who had worked with Mitchell on both Lost and Once Upon a Time, realizing anything the actress touches turns to watchable gold. She is the Heather Locklear to their Aaron Spelling, their go-to golden girl, and for audiences that might feel alienated by the subject matter or the ages on Dead Of Summer, Mitchell’s familiar face and strong acting will suck them right back in.
And when she’s not stealing the small screen, she will be making waves on the big screen as well with the ever-pertinent horror flick The Purge; Election Year. As if the timing couldn’t be more perfect, the film comes out during our own wild election year which makes for a pretty meta experience. Mitchell plays presidential front runner Charlene Roan, a strong-willed woman who is trying to put an end to the madness.
But, strong female characters are no rarity on Mitchell’s impressive resume. The roles she plays and the films she chooses really help give women an important voice and tell more valuable stories for women- and these characters are no exception. So extremely beloved among fans for the amazing women she’s portrayed, there is no doubt that both of her new characters will become just as iconic.
Here, she took some time to talk about these characters, playing such strong roles, and what else she would love to do!
So, you are now on Dead Of Summer which is by executive producers Edward Kitsis, Ian Goldberg, and Adam Horowitz- a team you’ve worked with on Lost and Once Upon A Time. Talk about this working relationship a bit, and what can be expected from Dead Of Summer.
I love those guys, Eddie, Ian and Adam- and I always have such faith in them that they will give me a great character to work with. People originally asked me why I might want to do a “teen show” and I just shrugged it off because I knew that I was in such wonderful, capable hands and that they had never let me or audiences down in the past. The character that I play, Deb, is a really great character because she worked really hard to rebuild this camp and she sees that something could be getting in the way of what she reconstructed and that worries her, so she is doing everything she can to keep this vision safe.
Dead Of Summer is similar to Lost, and even Once Upon A Time in the way where they are continuously diving into the characters backstory’s with flashbacks. Your character Deb seems the most mysterious of all. What can you tell us about her, and will we see a flashback about her?
I can’t say too much, but my character does have a lot of mystery to her and we will get to explore that backstory in a flashback episode- which was just so fun to play. I think audiences are really going to like it. This show has a lot of great twists.
And this is a summer filled with horror for you, because you also have The Purge: Election Year and it couldn’t be a better year for it as everyone feels caught up in election madness. Your character is the presidential front runner swept up in government conspiracy- what can you tell us about this movie?
I was amazed that I got the script for this movie, because it was very much this major popcorn movie! I don’t usually do all-out horror movies because they don’t usually sit with me, I get very involved with the character I’m playing and really get involved in their ethics and their morality and their soul and way of being- I mean, you have to get in there in order to play it. I have to have an understanding. So, I don’t usually gravitate toward horror movies for that reason- they usually either feel too real for me, or they don’t feel quite real enough. But, this one, my son encouraged me and told me that I had to read it and I knew he was right. So, I read it and I was just shocked that it was in my inbox because it was this lead role in a huge action movie [Cracks up]. But, the character is an incredibly strong female character with incredible morals and ethics and a vision for how she wants the world to be- and to be able to do that in this popcorn movie and to be that person was the most pleasant and welcome surprise. This is a character who runs through the night, and her world is crushed and remade, and I had such a good time filming it. And I think it’s really good. Our director, James DeMonaco, did an amazing job and I think that audiences will really like it!
Obviously this film is fiction, but being that it has been such a crazy election year and you do play a front runner politician, what did you pull from to get into character for your role?
Well, this film was written before all the craziness even began. It had kind of started, but we were still all at that point where we thought that things could never get to the point where they are at now. So, I feel like we captured what was real as that was building, which made us all get the shivers. Themes in the film were being echoed in real life, which was certainly weird. It was a scary sense of art imitating life imitating art. But, I pulled from all of the great women I know- people who stick to what they believe in no matter what. I didn’t just pull from politics.
And in your career, you’ve played so many strong women and been part of so many projects that are really positive and that doesn’t treat women as objects and truly values their perspectives. Talk about that a bit and how you’ve managed to really continuously find all these powerful women in media?
Well, I have a lot of fun playing those roles. And even if it’s something other than necessarily a “strong woman” per say, even if it’s a woman who finds herself in a very unique spot, I prefer as an actor to play a character that is trying to climb out of a hole rather than wallowing in it. And coming from a family of women, and coming from a father who believed that a Matriarchal society could really help the world, I think that’s just what I’m drawn to. And sometimes they come to me, because I think I do attract them. It could also be my stature- I am built strong, physically. So, I think it’s both that I search them out and by a lucky twist of fate, they search me out. And I feel very happy about that.
You’ve also been a part of so many fandoms and cult universes that people have been obsessed with- Lost , OUAT, Revolution, V– is that a genre you’re particularly a fan of, and is there any fandom you would love to be a part of?
Yes, I am a huge fan of those kinds of universes already. I’ve always had an interest toward sci-fi and fantasy, and that might relate back to what was in my head that I thought they had these very strong female protagonists. The plots usually have very great ideas and concepts that are far beyond what are being talked about in the world. With these genres you can have these big fantastical ideas that make sense in them, and these ideas always made so much sense to me- people can love who they want to love- things like that. And I always navigated toward the freedom of thought the genre allowed. I’ve been so lucky to already be a part of so many fandoms and have been for a very long time, but I’m open to tons of possibilities to be on more because I do love them. I really love science fiction. Game Of Thrones is a great show and I’m just as big of a fan as the next person. I would love to be a part of that!
You’ve already worked with so many great people and played so many amazing roles that touched so many, Who would you love to work with, actor, director or otherwise, and what kind of role would you love to play?
I have always wanted to work with Steven Spielberg. I think it’s because of his fantastic imagination. I just love where his mind goes. I met him once and we unfortunately didn’t get to work together because we had other things we were doing, but I like him and I think his work is so interesting. He is just a visionary. That would be fantastic. As far as what role I would like to play? I would just like to continue to play strong, hopeful, messed up [giggles], striving women for as long as I possibly can!