What kind of mother willingly abandons her children when the world has fallen apart? In the NBC drama series REVOLUTION, Elizabeth Mitchell plays the bad-ass Rachel Matheson, who 15 years ago walked way from her family. What happened to Rachel after that, we are dying to find out. We only know that the last 4 years have been as a prisoner of Col. Sebastian Monroe (David Lyons) as he has tried to coerce her into turning the power back on. Alas, after he succeed in killing her husband and abducting her son, Rachel was finally forced to capitulate to Monroe’s diabolical plan. Yet as we have seen, never get between a mother and her children for Rachel will do literally anything to protect them. At the WB Mondo International Press Tour, star Elizabeth Mitchell talked about the complex relationships of Rachel, Monroe and Miles (Billy Burke) in REVOLUTION and how Rachel compares to her former bad-ass role on LOST.
So what exactly going on with Rachel and Miles? There’s got to be something going on.
ELIZABETH: Oh, we’ve always thought there is. But I’m thinking about it, though, and it’s going to be awesome when I figure it out.
There seems like there’s a vibe with Monroe too.
ELIZABETH: Probably has to do with the fact that it’s David Lyons. It’s another epic character‑driven story, so that’s how I feel like it compares. In many ways, that’s some of where it stops for me, except for the format which is the flashbacks. But I feel like to gain more insight, you have the situation where every episode, a different person becomes the protagonist, which I also love, because I feel like it’s wonderful to have the shades of gray. If we just see these things from one perspective and it’s black and white, that’s not interesting to me. And the setting, the fact is the beauty that surrounds us becomes another character maybe not as much as LOST, with the smoke monster and the fact that it looked like everything was coming to life, but chemistry and tension with another character, that’s interesting.
How are you most like your character Rachel and what are the biggest challenges for you?
ELIZABETH: Most like, well, she’s a mother and she’ll do anything for her kids. I feel that way. I would do anything for my son. Absolutely have done.
So what are some of the major differences? What are the things that pop out?
ELIZABETH: Well, the major differences to me — I have to imagine, because it’s the role that I play — but someone who’s been tortured for four years, what that would do to somebody, especially an intensely intelligent and creative mind. So that’s really fascinating to me and not something that I’ve really had to go through, because I haven’t been tortured for four years.
So did you do lots of research for the role of Rachel?
ELIZABETH: I did. I thought a lot about Stockholm Syndrome. I thought a lot about what happens when you don’t have any other source of information. Because we’re all creatures based on community. That’s what gossip is. To me, that’s what all of that is, it is kind of keeping ourselves all in line as to the way we are “supposed to be,” and every culture is different. To be in a culture where you are a hostage, you are a prisoner, what does that do to you after four years? I just thought it was fascinating. It’s been really, really fun and interesting to see. The Monroe character was great for that because he becomes something of a savior even though it’s kind of twisted. Not just kind of twisted, which I also like, so that was fun to play, and we’re on the same page when we started doing that and that was good too.
You have had some interesting roles that make you out to be pretty badass.
ELIZABETH: I know, and it always ends up being me. I don’t know what it is. I’m such a pacifist. But I do seem to have a great time with it. The only hard thing is that when I kill somebody, they’re not on the show anymore. So when I find out, I’m like, “When do I get to tell them?” It’s hard to be that person. But invariably, it’s fun. And the people that I do kill get to have these spectacular deaths, and a spectacular death is very good for an actor’s career, so I feel like that’s the positive.
What do you think these directors see in you if they’re giving you these kinds of roles? There’s such an interesting dichotomy. We look at you; you’re beautiful, slim, feminine. Yet it seems they’re making you this badass character who can take a life without hesitation?
ELIZABETH: I think it’s fun. It’s fun to have one thing that you see and have it mean something completely different. When I see that, I always feel like its really interesting casting. You know what I mean? Like Giancarlo on BREAKING BAD. Here’s this beautiful man with these soulful eyes, and yet he’s a cold‑blooded killer, with his mild manner, with his gentle way. I just feel like when it’s cast that way, your casting director has done something that helps you tremendously, because you don’t expect it. And the unexpected is fun for us as a television viewing audience.
What do you like to watch on TV?
ELIZABETH: Well, I haven’t had a chance to watch anything, but my favorites have been BREAKING BAD and TRUE BLOOD, I should probably say.
Do you watch those on DVD?
ELIZABETH: I do, or Hulu or DirecTV. Yeah, whatever I can. And then my TV at home has a DVR and I plug them in there quite nicely.
LOST is one of those shows that a lot of people didn’t catch live but are watching on DVD. What do you think of the idea that people watch TV in that way, and are you a fan of watching things by the season on the DVD?
ELIZABETH: Yeah. I’m a huge fan of it. That’s how I watch TV. I probably shouldn’t say that, because a lot of money is made with advertisers. But I always get the DVD. I always watch things in a row. I like it because I like to be immersed. It’s an escape for me. I like other people to entertain me and show me things. I think that’s wonderful. And I’m such a geek. If I can have ten hours of that over two, awesome. I’ll take it.
And the special features and all that, do you watch them or just the show?
ELIZABETH: I watch the outtakes because I love to watch the way the actors mess up. And I also really like to watch actors slightly lose it, but nobody really knows, like when they get a little bit frustrated, because you kind of see who they really are. I love that, especially when it’s me.
It must have been hard to find something to do after LOST. You were so spoiled.
ELIZABETH: Oh, I was so spoiled, of course. But I don’t mind that kind of being spoiled. I can get over it. I can deal with it. I loved Juliet so much that I just felt so protective of her. I didn’t want anything to kind of spoil that. But I really do love to work. I love the process of it. So, for me, new things are fun and I have a new challenge and a way of developing something that’s interesting to me. That’s been my whole career. It’s all just about what excites me. I’m like, “I’m fine. I’ll do that.”
To further uncover the secrets that lie between Rachel and Miles in REVOLUTION, be sure to tune in for all new episodes Monday nights, starting March 25th at 10:00 p.m. on NBC.
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