V: Morena Baccarin Visits OTB

Just as had we abandoned all hope of seeing another alien as bootilicious as the one that went on a killing spree in Species, then one arrives on the SciFi Channel in the form of Morena Baccarin.

The new series of V – a remake of the classic alien drama from the 80s – kicked off last week and we caught up with the lady who plays Anna, the leader of the Visitors.

Morena will be familiar to sci-fi fans as she was a regular in both Stargate SG-1, Firefly and Serenity.

You’re a staple of many sci-fi series now. (Firefly, Serenity, Stargate SG-1). Would you consider yourself…to be a little bit of a geek?

A little bit of a geek, but not in a sci-fi way. I’m a geek in that I enjoy books and I’d rather stay in and read a book than go out partying. But I’m not really a sci-fi person necessarily, I just gravitate to really good roles and a lot of it has tended to be in sci-fi. I think that the amount of sci-fi versus the amount of other things that I’ve done is actually quite small, but the sci-fi world tends to pay attention to its own, that’s what they notice.

Ah, so what you’re saying is that, because sci-fi fans are fanatical nutters…

Yes! They think I’ve only done that. But I have done a lot of independent films and theatre that most people haven’t seen.

Talking about the new series of V which you’re starring in. Did you watch the original series when it was on in the 80s?

I did, with my brother when I was very little and I remember being petrified by it. But I haven’t rewatched it since I’ve been in the new series.

I can only remember vague…lizard…

Yes, that’s exactly what I remember and that’s creepy enough!

So, were you conscious of that when you were creating your character?

Not really. It’s a whole new series. It’s obviously based on the original and the whole basic concept, but we’ve really updated it and made it completely different, the characters have different names and everything, so I wasn’t really basing it off that.

What’s the reaction been from your fan base? Have your fans from Firefly and Serenity come with you to V now?

Yes, I’ve seen a lot of people especially lately, who have said that they’re a big fan of Firefly and that V‘s a great show.

Do you enjoy playing calm and calculated characters with something going on behind their eyes? Is that something that appeals to your personality?

Um…not necessarily. I think I am calm I think but I can be very animated too. I come from a theatre background, so I’ve played big characters as well. I guess Anna is calm and calculating but I feel my other characters have a certain warmness to them. I hope they’re different and not all the same and I think I’ve played some crazy characters as well, like in American shows How I Met Your Mother and Kitchen Confidential, I played this crazy New York Italian lady. So I think they’re all different and I think Anna is the most calculated of them all.

Is there an appeal to playing evil characters?

Yes, absolutely, I think it’s really fun. I think there’s a big spectrum where you decide how evil you want to be at different times and where you want to go on that spectrum. It’s a character with a lot of boundaries because she’d as you said, very calculating and very precise, but I think within that, there’s a lot of room to play with.

You don’t spend hours in front of the mirror cackling to yourself then?

I try not to…

The world in V is really at a point where it needs saving in terms of the economy or war…

Basically where we are now. I think what makes the show so relevant is that we’re painting an accurate picture of the world we live in today and it’s very timely for that reason. I think it’s very interesting that we get vulnerable, aliens coming down and giving us exactly what we wanted and they may be threatening us…

There’ve been quite a few comparisons to Nazi Germany, where people’s minds are in a quite a desperate, malleable state and can be pushed in any direction.

Yeah, I think the original 80s version of V was a little more of the Nazi Germany comment than our version. Our version is a little more geared to what we’re dealing with now in terms of terrorism and sleeper cells and not trusting your neighbours.

Did you have any political figures you had in mind when you were developing your character?

Not a specific person but I was, we were all very much influenced by the last Presidential election. I was watching all the debates and it was very interesting to me to hear all the candidates speak to vulnerabilities in the American public, so I stole that a little bit. And also the way that Anna is written. She knows exactly what to say to get to people.

The show’s been a big hit in the States, do you feel…relieved?

Well yes, it’s always nice to know that you have a job! But I feel very strongly that the show is so relevant to our time. There are so many possibilities and so many places we can go with it and I’m really enjoying it so much and really loving it, that I’m really happy people are giving it a chance and are really excited by it.

Did you think people would write it off just like that?

You never know. We live in a very difficult time and I think people’s attention spans are getting smaller and smaller. And for people to sit down and watch TV, I think these days, takes a lot. Everything’s online and you know. But there’s still something about being entertained in your own home and being touched. Having an experience that related to your daily life when you walk out the door is really important and I’m really happy that we’re doing that with the show.

Have you got a favourite sci-fi movie, something that you keep watching?

I do. I don’t know whether it’s really considered sci-fi or fantasy, but The Labyrinth.

It’s more fantasy, but it is awesome.

Labyrinth and The Never Ending Story – those are to things I grew up with still from time to time I want to rewatch and relive those moments of watching it with my brother and being really so excited about it.

David Bowie with the best mullet ever…

Ohh! That’s when I discovered David Bowie. I think I was like six and thought, “I love that manâ€?.

Do you believe in aliens?

I do believe in life outside of earth, I don’t know if they’re aliens or beings, but I believe in something out there.

So how would you react if we suddenly had a visitation?

Hide under that bed right there! . I think I would be curious like everyone else, but I would be very afraid.