After four years on Lost and two on the equally mysterious V, Elizabeth Mitchell knows a thing or two about keeping secrets. Her latest TV gig, on NBC's Revolution, has Mitchell feeling at home once again as interviews become a series of "[Insert Network Here] would kill me if I told you that." But she's also learned, as have we, that being surprised is half the fun!
Here's what we do know: Elizabeth plays Rachel, mother to Charlie and Danny, wife to Ben. But all of that information comes from the pre-blackout storyline. Whether or not Rachel figures into Revolution's present day timeline remains to be seen. Although, in this writer's humble opinion, an actress of Elizabeth's caliber would not be cast in a fairly standard doting mother role.
I caught up with Elizabeth this morning to talk about her unique path to Revolution (she replaced actress Andrea Roth after the pilot was filmed), why she was drawn to the show and what you can expect from the sprawling could-be epic saga.
Did you see the original pilot before signing on, or did you want to come into the role cold?
I had actually seen the pilot before they offered it to me and thought it was so good. Andrea and I actually worked together on Lost, and thought she was wonderful. It's never fun to replace someone because you always think it must be terrible, but a mutual friend said she's totally fine with it. She couldn't be more graceful.
When you watched the show, what were you drawn to with Rachel?
Actually, at first, I was drawn to [showrunner] Eric Kripke. He's so unbelievably approachable and kind and easy. I think we speak the same language. He called me and we had a long talk about what he was thinking, where he thought the show could go, what he thought I could bring to the role and it wasn’t so much a "You Do This!!!!!" He was very much saying, "I think this would be great for you." I fell for Eric before I even fell for Rachel, because she was only a glimmer at the time. They weren't quite sure where they were going to go for her – if she was going to be a small role or a big role, they just didn't know. So the conversation was the beginning of shaping her journey.
Given that glimmer, what were you excited to explore?
I loved that she was so maternal. Erica [her character on V] was also maternal, but Erica was also so strong. And this is just a woman who has two kids who is nuts about them, and I thought it was interesting to look at where you go from there. Do you become a hero? Do you flip to the other side? Who do you become in this survival situation? That journey is fascinating to me.
The original pilot revealed a few interesting things about Rachel -- do those remain in tact with the new version?
You know, I'm not allowed to say anything about it but I will say that since the original pilot, [the writer's] plan for Rachel has completely changed. Eric has taken her in a completely different direction, which I would love to talk about, but I can't [laughs]. All I will say, what we do with her will be a complete surprise.
You were first drawn to Rachel's maternal instincts, do you think those are characteristics that can be stripped away given this pressure-filled situation the characters are placed in?
Absolutely. The show plays out a bunch of different scenarios regarding survival and what people lose first. That morality; the code we cling to can be the first thing to fall away when faced with these extraordinary situations. It can be incredibly dehumanizing. We like to think we know exactly who we are, but I think any kind of survival situation that pits man against man reveals that your true self and/or your survival self is completely different. A lot that we hold dear evaporates – because it has to.
When I watched the pilot, I was struck by how much the world of the show becomes its own character.
Yes, that's so true. Eric has an incredible vision for the world and I love that. I love shows that are ordinary people in extraordinary situations. That's my favorite thing to play because it seems to real to me. I don't have a super power, which would be awesome too, but it's so much easier as an actor to approach it like, "What would I do? Who would I be? Where would I go?" That's my all-time favorite to watch and be in. I'm really excited about it. I like stepping out of my trailer and seeing the world look different.
Source: The Insider