Fringe: Michelle Krusiec Talks Her Shapeshifter Role and the Show
Written By Nadine Ramsden
January 26th, 2012
If you’ve been watching Fringe this season, then you’ll recognize Michelle Krusiec as the actress who played one of the new, human shapeshifters. If you haven’t been watching, maybe Michelle herself can convince you to give it a shot! Michelle took the time to chat with us this week about her experiences on Fringe: covering everything from how the show is like an illicit drug to what it’s like to play a superhuman. Michelle also reveals the previously-unknown “shapeshifter” name of her character. The shapeshifter has been known only as Nadine, who was first introduced in the season premiere, and was seen most recently in last week’s episode “Enemy Of My Enemy”. I will say that I myself am curious as hell about what the shapeshifter name may signify…
And now I’ll let you get on to the good stuff:
TVOvermind: Had you been a fan of Fringe before working on the show?
Michelle Krusiec: I can't honestly call myself a fan prior to working on it, because that would make the real fans pretty upset since they are true fans. I watched the pilot and I was intrigued, but I'm not an avid TV watcher. Mostly because of time and lack of it, nothing to do with the show itself. I remember watching Fringe randomly one night earlier this season and I was totally confused by the two Olivias, but still, I was intrigued, and wondered what in the world the storyline was about!
What was it like to work on the show?
I was really giddy with excitement because it's a J.J. Abrams show and my character was just so awesome. I was told she was a new breed of shapeshifter, but I had no idea what the hell that really meant, in terms of the show's mythology; I got to work and started watching as many episodes as I could. The first episode I was in, I was mostly dead, and since it was raining in Vancouver, I basically watched 36 back-to-back episodes. I felt like some junkie hopped up in my hotel room. My curtains were drawn. I'd watch it in bed, from the bathtub, with room service. I couldn't stop watching it. I was completely hooked, and in complete awe of the storyline.
I'm such a sucker for sci fi because my Dad and I bonded over them growing up. Whenever sci fi is at its best, it makes you examine morality, ethics and the human condition: it really brings to light great questions and theoreticals about mankind and behavior. In the case of Fringe, I was really struck by this notion of how one man's mistakes affect two universes and the people in them. The way the writers explored these questions while still maintaining a procedural show was impressive to me. And then to top it off, the calibre of acting on the show was so striking. I felt like I had won the lottery to be invited onto the show.
What are some of your favorite memories and experiences from working on Fringe?
Some of my favorite moments include getting my face scanned for the digital effects and seeing a 3D version of my face on the computer. And I loved my character's name "Seven" because it's just a badass name.
I loved playing with the guns. I took that very seriously. I felt that a shapeshifter would move differently than humans and I wanted to be completely collected when I was operating firearms. I practiced rolling around on the floor and shooting, which I never did in the show, and the firearms expert even told me while I was doing it, “they probably won’t ask you to do that,” but I’d just keep on rolling around on the floor. Basically, any time I got to kick ass, I was giddy with excitement because Seven has superhuman abilities and you just don't get a chance to play characters like that very often. I was a little jealous whenever I had to shapeshift into another human being though, because another actor played that part. But it was also really awesome to see how they lined up my face with the other actress Lori Triolo's face so they could shift our faces together. It was odd how our features were actually very similar on camera. Who would have guessed I'd have Italian features?
Doing the shapeshifting in and out of characters was more challenging than I expected because it had to be subtle and it’s mostly digital effects so your face is like a canvas. The first time I did it, I just went crazy and after my first take the director Joe Chapelle just said, "Uh, make it smaller." That made me laugh, because I think I may have gone a little overboard with it. All the other shapeshifters made it look so painful, so I thought I was doing exactly what I'd seen on the show, but I was mistaken. There's a great scene where Seven is injecting herself with the formula to correct her genetic mutation that's preventing her from shapeshifting on command. I loved shooting in that bathroom because it was a small little space and any kind of transformation scene like that for an actor is really fun to do.
I also loved seeing Gene the cow. I wish I had taken a photo with her now… Can you tell that I had a blast shooting this show?
Read Michelle's entire TVOvermind interview here.
fo note:And the coolest thing about this article? Michelle herself tweeted the link on Twitter.