‘Fringe’ Friday: Chatting with Saturn Award winner Anna Torv
June 24, 2011 1:46 pm
“Was I rude there?”
I didn’t know what to expect when I sat down to speak with Anna Torv. Would she be cool and serious, like Olivia? Or bold and cavalier like Fauxlivia? For all I knew, the actress’ personality could have been closer to Olivia possessed by William Bell. I didn’t expect her to be so chipper and enthusiastic. And overly concerned about our waitress.
We met in the restaurant of her hotel on a Wednesday afternoon. Torv and costar John Noble (Walter Bishop) were in Los Angeles for a pair of award shows. Monday, they walked the red carpet of the Critics Choice awards, where Torv was a nominee for best actress in a television series and Noble took the award for best supporting actor. “The fact that John won is still kind of thrilling,” Torv said. “He’s so damn brave. And just the joy he puts into it."
Then Thursday they were off to the Saturn Awards, where Torv repeated her win last year for the top female actor award. Deservedly so.
In Season 3, Torv truly shone. Which is saying a lot in a show where she plays opposite powerhouses like John Noble, Lance Reddick and Blair Brown on a weekly basis. Not to mention the guest stars they bring in: Christopher Lloyd, Peter Weller, Leonard Nimoy. Still, Torv really made this year her own, playing two uniquely different versions of the same character, dealing with heartbreak and deception from both sides of the story. It's a big change from Season 1, when many criticized Torv and her character Olivia Dunham of being cold and distant.
“That was clearly a conscious choice on the part of the writers and on my part,” Torv explained. “I’ve been playing her so long, I get defensive of her. People forget the first time we met her, she was glowing. She was giggly and glowing and happy, and life was sweet.”
An excellent point that I myself had forgotten. We were first introduced to Olivia Dunham three years ago when she was in bed with her FBI partner/lover John Scott, but he was pulled away by her first case involving fringe science. By the end, not only is Scott killed, but Olivia finds out that he’s been a double agent the entire time. “She was dead for a long time. I don’t think she’s still right yet. Poor Liv.”
Olivia became the emotional punching bag of the first season. “I honestly had been giggling and teasing them. I wanted Olivia to lighten up, but every time she did, something would happen.”
The writers gave glimpses into the life of Olivia Dunham. “They wrote this scene, and it was at the beginning of the episode. It didn’t have anything to do with the story. She’s putting her dress on, putting her shoe on, she’s on the phone saying, ‘Yeah, I’ll meet you in a sec.’ Then the phone rings. It’s Broyles, and she wipes the lipstick off, puts on a coat, and goes out. That’s it. You’re on call. She breaks my heart.”
Then in Season 2, the parallel universe, or “other side” of the "Fringe" universe, came to the forefront of the story. We got hints of the alternate versions of the characters we’d grown to love, and by Season 3, they had their own episodes. “There’s a tendency to throw an idea out there and tease at it,” Torv told me. “Then no one’s going to commit because no one thinks it’s going to last. So who cares? But they [the writers] went hardcore into it. Every second episode for the first 10 episodes of the third season we’re over there.”
“I love my job, but you do it every day, so the fact that you get to jump back and forth between these two different perspectives.... From the other side. Or the perspective of what you do like when you don’t get to see it for a week.”
Torv’s eyes light up as she discusses the joy of fleshing out the Fauxlivia character in season three. “When they finally gave me this character, I was so hands-on. 'Let’s do this properly. Let’s give her a swagger. Let’s give her long red hair. Let’s make her kinda sexy and cooler.' And they let me.”
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