Anna Torv: 'I'd love to work in the UK again'
Jun 13, 2011
As the third series of Fringe reaches its climax (Sky1, Wednesday June 15), TV&Satellite Week magazine caught up with actress Anna Torv, aka ice cool FBI agent Olivia Dunham, to find out what’s in store for the cult sci-fi drama...
So, we hear there’s a major shock in the final episode of this series of Fringe...“I can’t tell you want happens. All I can tell you is that I read the script and thought: ‘I don’t know where that leaves us to go with the show’. I know we are going to start filming a new season next month, but the way it’s now left means everything is going to have to be re-set massively. It’s really exciting.”
Did what happens shock you? “Yes, all of us. When the scripts arrived at first you could hear the whispers. Then as people went through it, we were all saying 'What?’ Really? How would that work?' There were lots of discussions and conversations. Much like the audience, we pick up clues as to what’s going to happen as we go along, but we only get the scripts two days before we start shooting – and with the final episode of this season the ending actually changed after we got the script. I don’t know if they did that on purpose to keep everything under wraps.”
We know there’s going to be at least one other series – do the writers know what the eventual ending is going to be? “Yes. They were told in advance that the show was going to go for another series so they didn’t have to wrap things up in a in a final episode this time, but I’ve been told the ultimate final episode has been written. They know where they want us to go, but they don’t know yet when we will get there.”
Do you now what the ending is? “No. Initially, I wanted to know, now I’m happy not to. There’s something great about working on a film or a play where you know where you’re going, but on television it’s more open and that’s good, too. So it’s more of a dance between the audience, the creators and the cast about what works and what doesn’t. It’s nice that although the skeleton of what is going to happen is there, it’s still a dance. It could still change yet.”
With all the tangled plots going on in Fringe, it’s sometime shard to keep up with what’s going on. Do you always understand what’s happening? “Yes. Fringe is my life at the moment. Every day for a lot of hours a day for 10 months of the year I’m steeped in it. So I can understand it. I’m confident I can keep up with whatever happens and I think I’ll understand the ending.”
What about the science behind what’s going on? “Ah, no. The science is something else. I don’t research any of that stuff. It’s not my job to understand why things happen. But John Noble, who plays Walter Bishop, really does understand the reasons why things happen as they do. He’s completely across it. I just feel lucky I don’t get all those big scientific words in my bit of the script.”
In the final episode of this series you play a version of Olivia from the future, as well as the real Olivia and the alternate Olivia from the parallel universe. What do you see as the major differences between them? “Well, the future Olivia is not that much older than our Olivia. So it’s not as if I’m playing an Olivia who has completely changed her life. She’s just the same Olivia, although maybe a little more comfortable in her skin. With the alternate Olivia, the differences between her and Olivia are subtle. They’ve ended up in the exactly the same job, with exactly the same partners, doing the same things in their respective worlds. Our Olivia has always been so earnest and so focused on being the best at what she does and on doing the right thing. But the alternate Olivia is a little more competitive, she wants to win, she’s more of a go-getter. I love them both.”
What clues can you give away about the next series? “None. I don’t have any. I haven’t spoken to the writers yet, I’m hoping to pick their brains in the next couple of weeks to see what they have planned.”
What would you like to see happen to Olivia? More alternate universes with more Olivias in them perhaps? “I think it would be hysterical if there were more parallel universes and there were more Olivias in each of them and they keep getting further and further away from the true one. I’d like to play one 20 universes away from ours. She’d be like a Southern belle who just reads tea leaves or something.”
Sci-fi has not been going through the best of periods on American TV. Why do you think Fringe has managed to survive? “I think with sci-fi, the further out there you go, the more you have to ground your characters and their relationships in reality. From the start of Fringe, the heart of the show has been a father and son trying to come to grips with each other. Providing you have something like that, you can take the show anywhere. Of course it’s a genre show, but it goes beyond that. Women who don’t want to watch monsters and ghosts are happy to sit and watch the relationships.”
Would you do another sci-fi show ever? Would you for example come over here and do Doctor Who? “I haven’t seen the new Doctor Who yet. I’m too committed to Fringe at the moment to do anything else. But I’d certainly do more sci-fi. Sci-fi has been good to me.”
We first saw you on screen here in Mistresses. Do you have any plans to come back and work here again in the UK?“Absolutely. I love British TV. I’m an Australian, who is sitting here in London talking to you about an American show that’s shot in Canada. The world is becoming a much easier place to navigate. You don’t have to confine yourself to just one country for work any more. I hope my life continues to offer me the opportunities to play different characters in different parts of the world.”