Continuum returns to Showcase today for a second season. TV, eh?‘s Martha Marcin spoke to star Rachel Nichols about algorithms, corporatocracies and other fun
Martha Marcin: I took a look at your resume and it looks like you did a double major in math and economics, then took up modelling, then acting, so I have to ask, did you envision yourself as the bad ass futuristic cop on Continuum while you were studying algorithms at Columbia?
Rachel Nichols: Oh heck no! My first year at Columbia I had visions of Wall Street and power suits and briefcases, I really had these grandiose ideas about I would go do. Everybody was reading Liars Poker, watching the movie Wall Street and it all seems pretty glamorous So when I told my parents, three weeks into Columbia, that I was going to graduate school they went, “Good for you but we’re going to be out of money so you’re going to have to pay for that yourself,” and I legitimately started modelling to pay for graduate school and then ended up … well, here. (Laugh).
That’s interesting that you were enraptured by that Wall Street culture and now you are star in TV series that is rather ambiguous about whether or not the corporatocracy is good or bad. But I’m getting ahead of myself, we’ll get to that later.
Of course I’m ahead, I’m from the future, remember?! (Laugh).
So what drew you to the character of Kiera initially?
You know I started reading the script and I was about 10 pages in and I thought, “Holy cow! I have to play this role,” because there was everything: she’s smart, she’s got a family, she’s travelling in time, she’s doing fight scenes, she’s forging her way 65 years into the past. There were so many elements to the script and I just thought, “Wow man, there are not a lot of female characters like this on TV.” There are not a lot of female characters like this in general.
You’re right, there is a definite lack of good strong female characters on TV now, and when I find one I tend to latch onto the show.
We see Kiera’s journey from the hard ass “Protector” of the futuristic corporate government, defending them against the alleged “Terrorists”, to someone conflicted about her beliefs and what side she should fight for. Can you could give us a little sneak peak; does she pick a side in season two?
You know season one was very much about, “I got to get home. I got to get home. I’ll team up with the bad guys, I don’t care. I have to get home.” Season two is very centred around the idea of responsibility and at the end of season one Kagami had this speech where he asks, “If you drop a pebble in the ocean does it create a tsunami on the other side of the world?” That ripple effect, and it’s the idea of what I do now changing the future entirely, and it’s very much about responsibility. So yeah, Kiera this season doesn’t necessarily choose a side but really has to identify the ramifications of her interactions in 2012/13 might be.
There is an inherent ambiguity in the philosophical leanings of Continuum. Is the show pro-capitalism, right wing, left wing, who is the terrorist, who is the freedom fighter? A lot of that is left up to the viewer to fill in. Do you agree and if so why does this help or hinder the story?
You know I love the scifi genre because you can get away with a lot, you know what I mean? You can make some “social commentary statements” and some “sorta-kinda political statements,” and yeah it is a very important part of the show.
Scifi fans are very intelligent and they are very articulate, and if you do something well they will love you forever. If you do it half assed they will have your head on the end of a stick and I completely support that. It’s like inquiring minds want to know, they have ideas, they have thoughts, and on Twitter after every episode you got people being like, “Oh it’s so capitalistic!” or “It’s such a leftist show!” or “That is so political!” and they are saying all of these different things, and that’s what we want.
Ideally you want people to be interactive and ask questions and have opinions about your show. I don’t think we are one way or the other, we’re just making people ask all the right questions and maybe apply it to what is happening in the world today. And if you can do that with a show I’m all for it.
I think you’re absolutely right, that having the conversation started, even if people are disagreeing, and especially if they are disagreeing passionately, it shows that you’ve done something right.
As a Vancouverite it is not a novelty to watch a show filmed in my city, but it is a novelty to watch one where the story is based in Vancouver as well. Do you like our city? Fair warning, before you answer, that we still haven’t forgiven David Duchovny for complaining about the rain.
Listen, I LOVE it here. I have a realtor here. I’m looking to BUY here! I can’t say enough good things, I love the people, I love the restaurants. My parents were so excited when the show got picked up for a second season so that they could come back. The first weekend they were here I walked 14 miles with them.
I’m in love with Vancouver, it’s an unbelievable city!