‘V’: Morena Baccarin talks about Anna, the Visitors’ plan and lizard anatomy
We were just starting to get a clearer understanding of why the Visitors arrived on Earth and what their plan was when ABC’s sci-fi drama “V” went on hiatus in November. Since then, the show has seen some behind-the-scenes shake-ups, with Scott Rosenbaum (“Chuck”) coming on as executive producer and show runner, and it will return to the lineup on Tuesday evening, in a new 10 p.m. time slot behind “Lost.”
We spoke with Morena Baccarin (“Firefly”), who plays Anna, the Visitors’ Machiavellian leader with a killer wardrobe and a plan for the human race that doesn’t involve peaceful co-existence, despite her message of peace.
“I don’t know that the humans would necessarily feel sympathy for her,” said Baccarin of the coolly ruthless Anna, whom she said is trying to do what’s best for her people.
In the following one-on-one interview, Baccarin discusses what viewers should expect from the next eight episodes of “V,” Anna’s upcoming arc, what it’s like playing a mother to someone just a few years younger, snacking on rodents, why Anna doesn’t want to get her shoes dirty and more.
Warning: minor spoilers ahead.
How are these next eight episodes of “V" different from the ones that aired in the fall?
I think the fall [episodes] were more about setting up the story and figuring out what the show was about. These eight episodes get deeper into the character development. There are a lot of reveals about the Vs, who they are and how they operate. I think a lot of people are going to be shocked.
How accessible will these new episodes be for viewers who may not have caught the first four episodes?
If nothing else, it’s a very exciting story, and we sort of jump right in. ABC has been doing some great recaps… I think people have had a chance to catch up a bit. For new viewers? I think people are going to be grabbed immediately, and they are going to want to know exactly what those first four episodes were, so they might want to go back and check it out. But I don’t think people are going to be lost, if they’re tuning in for the first time.
The humans seem to paint Anna as the villain of the piece. Do you think she’s evil?
It’s relative. I don’t think Anna is evil at all. I just think she is the leader of her people, and she's doing whatever it takes, very admirably, to ensure their survival. I think it also depends who you ask. (Laughs.) But I would say she’s doing a very noble thing for her people.
Do these next episodes delve into the ethos of the Visitors and why they are implementing this plan?
Yes, you get into a little bit more of the why and the how. You get a little bit more of just anatomically who they are, their physical being, and why they do the things that they do. There are some really fun little reveals.
One of the big reveals in the first four episodes was Anna’s maternal relationship to Lisa (Laura Vandervoort). Did that take you by surprise?
Yes, it did. Obviously, age-wise. But it was a really great reveal that gives you this weird feeling that these beings are not who we think they are. Who knows how old they are or how they live? It was a good and interesting way to remind the viewers that there is endless possibility in this world.
Is it strange at all playing a mother to someone who is just a few years younger than you?
(Laughs.) Yeah, it’s weird but now it’s just become part of the character, so I don’t think about it as much. It’s fine and it’s interesting to have that dynamic with someone so young.
How much of Anna’s plan are you privy to? Has this plan changed at all since new show runner Scott Rosenbaum came on board?
I know a bit about Anna’s plan. They’re very sneaky, those writers. I don’t think they want us to spill the beans, so they don’t tell us a lot. I don’t think much has changed, necessarily. I just think all of the characters have a stronger drive and more specific story. I think the mythology of the world has been explored a little bit more, just by the sheer fact that we’ve had 12 episodes versus just four. It’s all just gotten deeper. Anna is the same character; none of these characters have changed, but it was just about making it more specific and deepening their journeys.
What aspect of Anna’s character is your favorite to play?
I love how calm and controlled she is but underneath there’s just so much going on, and I have a really fun time just playing all of the nuances of that character and what it means to entice humans and to know just how to lure them in, knowing you have other plans.
When I spoke to Scott Rosenbaum recently, he gave me two words that have intrigued and disturbed me equally: “rodent desire.” What was it like paying testament to this pivotal and iconic scene from the original “V”?
(Laughs.) Well, you’ll have to stay tuned because it’s not in the form that you think it is. I thought that it was really, really fun, the way that the writers did it, and I think people are going to be very surprised by how it happens. I’ll just give you a little hint by saying that I wasn’t too grossed out.
Should we expect to see an eventual showdown between Erica and Anna before the season is over?
Yes, absolutely. It’s coming pretty quickly. Anna gets very involved with Tyler, and that’s a huge blow to Erica. They are definitely coming to a head.
Any chance of Anna being involved in a fight sequence?
Ooh, that’s interesting! Not as far as I know, as we haven’t shot anything like that yet. But it’s quite possible. Although, Anna seems like the type that she would let other people do the dirty work and she would just come in and kick dirt on somebody’s face.
She’s got too much of a nice wardrobe to get dirty.
I agree, man! I don’t want to get those shoes dirty. (Laughs.)
Can you give us a tease about what’s coming up for Anna?
There are some reveals about her, physically, and how she does certain things that humans would recognize: eating, sleeping, sex. Just normal things, but you get to see the way that Anna does them, which is very interesting. There’s some interesting relationship developments with Chad Decker and with Tyler and Lisa. Really fun stuff.
Where would you like to see the writers take Anna in the future?
It’s really interesting to keep her pursuing this relationship with Chad Decker, to see where that goes. There’s a lot of really interesting power dynamics there. I would love to see her having some conflict with caring for someone that she didn’t think she would or that she should, some inner turmoil, and having to make some really difficult decisions that will influence the survival of her race.
If you could sum up Anna’s journey over the next eight episodes in one word, what would it be?
-- Jace Lacob (Follow my musings on television, food and more television on Twitter at @televisionary)
Photo: Morena Baccarin's Anna finds herself drawn to journalist Chad Decker (Scott Wolf) on ABC's "V." Credit: Jack Rowand / Warner Bros. Entertainment
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