EM: I’ve been in a bliss bubble for the last four years
For the last three years there has been one Emmy prediction category I’ve been repeatedly wrong in: Best Supporting Actress. My annual declaration that it will finally be the year Elizabeth Mitchell gets nominated — and wins — for her heartbreakingly brilliant work as “Lost’s” tortured doctor Juliet Burke fails to come true. It’s a travesty.
Luckily Elizabeth isn’t going anywhere — not only does she return for the final episodes of “Lost,” but her other ABC series, “V,” has finally found solid footing after a few initially shaky episodes. But ever the critic, Elizabeth still has a couple more suggestions for how “V” can guarantee another season.
Interestingly, as Elizabeth maps out a plan for network domination, her character Erica is also mapping out how her band of resistance fighters, The Fifth Column, can take down the invading aliens. Elizabeth reveals details of both masterplans as well as what fans can expect from the final hours of “Lost.”
PopWrap: “V” struggled both creatively and with viewers in the beginning, with three episodes left how do you feel about where the show is now?
Elizabeth Mitchell: I think it keeps getting better with every episode. When you start a new show there are usually a lot of brilliant cooks is one kitchen and I think it takes a while to find your feet and hear the voices of the characters, which creates a more cohesive idea. I’ve never been on a new show where that hasn’t happened. And now as we settle in to the last few episodes, those voices are really coming through.
PW: Your on-screen son Logan Huffman told me that his biggest gripe with the show at first was that there was no rhyme to the characters reason. Do you agree?
Elizabeth: Oh yea, I felt that way too. But I also think the writers did. There was so much that needed to be put forth before the characters could be put on the journey they needed to be on, and I think it was a little frustrating for everybody. Including the viewers. But I believe their intention was to set the stage for what came next and I think we’re getting far more interesting.
PW: The show itself has had a pretty length journey.
Elizabeth: Yea, we shot the pilot over a year ago, so Erica and of course Juliet have been in my mind this whole time. I realized this is the first week where I haven’t had a character in my head [laughs]. And they keep sending me scripts to audition for and it’s like, “just give me a week, I’m only now becoming non-schizophrenic.” I was walking around the other day and thought, “wait a minute, I’m not tortured, I’m really happy – this is great!”
PW: Last week Lisa actually put Erica, a human being, before her mother’s wishes — I’m wondering if she could potentially join up with The Fifth Column.
Elizabeth: Yea, I thought that was interesting. And I think it took Erica by surprise as well. I do think there’s potential there, and I think that would be the best idea. It’s what I would do.
PW: At its core “V” is about two mothers — one human, one alien — battling to protect their species. What do you think Erica would be smart to gleam from how Anna operates?
Elizabeth: What makes Erica interesting to me is that she has a strong moral compass. So you think she’s capable of anything, but I believe she has to go through a lot of different boundaries in her mind. I don’t think she makes quick decisions when it comes to destroying people’s lives. And I think that’s where Anna has a lot of strength over Erica because she doesn’t really think things through.
PW: One thing that’s kind of irked me about Erica’s resistance group is how small they keep their numbers. Do they try and enlist more fighters in the weeks to come?
Elizabeth: Yea, I know. You look at it also and think, why them? They’re not connected to anybody – go get someone who can do something! It’s one of those things I watch and think “what?!?” But yes, [they do gather more members].
PW: What would you say Erica brings to the group then?
Elizabeth: I think he biggest skill is that she can see what other’s people’s gifts are and she’s going to start using those gifts to manipulate much, much more of a resistance. To gather more people.
PW: Tonight’s episode is the third to last, what can you tell us about it?
Elizabeth: This is a huge one for me – it’s interesting because something happens that affects Erica on an incredibly deep level. She crosses a line that to her is the worst of the worst, a line that basically she’d put people behind bars for crossing. It puts her in the realm of being a terrorist in her mind. And to me, that’s fascinating.
PW: Once she crosses that line does she keep going down that darker path?
Elizabeth: She will, which opens a door for more doing and less thought – and that’s where I think the show needs to go. I like a good moral quandary, but sitting around talking doesn’t so much for me. It’s not my favorite thing to do, although I could do with more banter. But the more realistic we are, the scarier the threat becomes and the more we become like the popcorn thriller I’d like “V” to be.
PW: How did you approach the May 18 finale — like a season of series ender?
Elizabeth: Well, it’s filled with cliffhangers.But I believe they won’t be the ones audiences expect. Some things get resolved in a very satisfying way while other things we’ve been building up to finally happen.
PW: The show is still very much on the bubble.
Elizabeth: Oh, big time on the bubble!
PW: So what are your thoughts on a second season?
Elizabeth: About 2 weeks ago I was positive we’d get picked up for another 13 episodes. And I think we’ve found the feet we’re going to find, so I think it’s worth picking up. And I’m a pretty harsh critic – I really am quite horrible. I hope that we come back, I love the people I work with. I believe the potential is there for a truly terrific show, but I also feel like if people don’t want to watch “V,” then I don’t want to force them [laughs].
PW: From everything I’ve heard, you had a similar love fest on the set of “Lost.”
Elizabeth: It was. I have been in a lovely bliss bubble for the last 4 years. I’m always grateful for that. I don’t care how long the hours are, you’ll never find me at hour 16 going, “this is ridiculous, can we wrap?” I always feel lucky.
PW: Juliet returns for at least one of the final episodes. What did you think of how her story was resolved?
Elizabeth: It was really nice and a lovely gift the creators gave me. I am so grateful and I think they did that for a lot of the characters. It shows a lot of class.
PW: And the ending of the show itself?
Elizabeth: I think it’s spectacular. Whenever you have a character, there are always 8 million things you think could happen and the things that did happen were wonderful.
PW: A lot of fans have theorized that Juliet’s odd ramblings right before she died in Sawyer’s arms would factor in to her return, do they?
Elizabeth: I wish I could tell you, but that has so much to do with what the ending is. I will say that some people are very right about what they blog about [laughs]. The people who are wrong make up a very small majority. I’ve always said “Lost” viewers are pretty damn smart.
PW: What has meant the most to you about being part of “Lost?”
Elizabeth: What’s meant a lot to me is the way people talk about her and I didn’t expect that. It’s been huge for me, I think because I didn’t expect it.
PW: I read that you were actually surprised people cared she died.
Elizabeth: I’ve been surprised that Juliet was accepted in any way. I thought she was such a complicated, layered woman that I didn’t know what kind of effect she’d have. I assumed people would think she was weird, so the fact people embraced her has always been a surprise to me.
PW: When you look back at Juliet’s story, what moments will be your favorite?
Elizabeth: I think my favorite stuff was in season three – when I got to play so much. I loved being with Matthew [Fox] behind that glass. And I know the fans didn’t love it, but as an actor, it was like being on a theater stage. And I loved when Juliet got to see her sister alive for the first time. That was one of those visceral moments that happens naturally on camera that you hope for as an actor. And it was nice to kiss Sawyer for the first time. Not because I had some sort of overriding lustful impulse, but to have Juliet actually find peace after all that work and three years of her just being in a certain kind of hell, was a nice experience for me. It felt right in a way I didn’t expect it to.
“Lost” airs Tuesdays at 9pm on ABC, followed immediately by “V” at 10pm!
Source: NY POST