Lost alumni are finding much work this TV season, with Terry O’Quinn joining Daniel Dae Kim on Hawaii Five-0, Michael Emerson fronting Person of Interest, Nestor Carbonell chasing Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Ringer, and Jorge Garcia in the midseason drama Alcatraz. Add to those ranks Rebecca Mader, who last spring hunted No Ordinary Family, just had a Covert affair with CIA agent Auggie, and this Monday makes an “appearance” on Alphas (Syfy, 10/9c).
TVLine spoke with the British beauty about her proclivity for genre-TV fare – including her Fringe fan girl status – her fond memories of snogging Sawyer, and her gender-bending midseason ABC comedy.
TVLINE | On No Ordinary Family you shifted shapes, Covert Affairs paired you with a blind guy, and on Alphas your character is so stealth she’s veritably invisible. Do you sense a theme here? It’s as if producers don’t want you to be seen or something.
I know! Maybe I need plastic surgery or something. I’m starting to get a little paranoid, and most actors are insecure to begin with.
TVLINE | What should we make of the Alphas picture where you’re wielding a butterfly knife. What’s your beef?
When you showed that to me, I was like, “Good god, I look murderous.” This character is pretty pissed off and pretty intense, and she’s been sent there on a mission to “take care of” people. It’s one of those great TV drama episodes where everybody is in the whole thing, all the way along, on this arc together, so it feels like a mini-movie. I come in and scare the living crap out of everybody.
TVLINE | What’s the coolest thing you got to do in the role?
I love doing stunts, and I did get bruised up doing one thing. Warren Christie (who plays Cameron) kind of beats me up, and I have to go flying, so I just flung myself through the air, because I’m very much a tomboy like that. For my first day on Lost, Benjamin Linus shot me in the chest, so I had to fly straight back, and they had this whole thing rigged around my body, four men yanking on a cable, a massive mat to fall on…. It wasn’t looking natural, so I was like, “F–k it, take everything off and I’ll just really make it look like I got shot.” So the gun goes off and I threw myself back through the air and landed on the floor. I couldn’t walk very well the next day, but it looked really good. [Laughs]
TVLINE | Is Lost something people still flag you down on the street for? “Hey, Charlotte! Give us a nose bleed!”
I do still get recognized for it, and I think I always will. I get tweets from peeps saying, “Oh my god, I just this” on DVD or whatever. When I was in Istanbul for Covert Affairs, I didn’t realize how big Lost was in Turkey until Chris Gorham and I were walking around and people were like, “Charlotte! Charlotte!!” I got recognized more in Turkey than I do in the U.S or the UK. I was like, “I’m moving here if I ever get depressed.”
TVLINE | Was it special to be a part of Lost‘s final season?
Yeah, I’m really glad I got to go back, and in the capacity that I did.
TVLINE | Right, you were glamorous in the “sideways” world, not all dingy.
I didn’t wear any makeup or do anything with my hair in Seasons 4 and 5, so to go back with makeup and a dress and have sex with Sawyer…. You can’t get a better comeback than that. I couldn’t have written it better myself.
TVLINE | Is it that you gravitate toward genre-TV roles, or do those casting directors gravitate towards you?
The latter. When I got Lost, I was about to not be able to live, so it was a fall-to-the-knees, burst-into-tears, “I’m saved by this great role” moment. Then No Ordinary Family came to me because one of the executive producers was a huge Lost fan. Covert was an offer, and Alphas was an offer…. As an actor, getting offered a part period is amazing, when you’ve suffered for so long. For people to come to you and say, “Would you like to be a part of our show ” after years of “Please tell me I’m good enough”…. I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels.
TVLINE | You are well-known to be a Fringe superfan. What’s your theory on what happened to Peter and how he’s going to come back into the fold?
Well annoyingly, I actually know…. I wish I didn’t…. [Laughs] So I can’t really answer that.
TVLINE | Is it anything you would have guessed?
No…. No. This show just blows my socks off. When I meet people who haven’t seen it, I’m like, “What’s the matter with you?” Or people say to me on Twitter, “I’m a huge Lost fan, is there anything you can recommend? Nothing’s the same.” How can you love Lost and not know about Fringe?! It’s just so good.
TVLINE | What would you like to do on Fringe, if the opportunity arises? FBI agent, romantic interest for Peter, romantic interest for Olivia… invisible mutant…?
There have definitely been some requests online – “You should play Olivia’s new love interest!” Obviously those come from boys. I just want to be on it, because who doesn’t want to be on something you geek out about? I’m such a fan girl when it comes to movies, TV and sci-fi, sometimes I can’t believe I actually get to be in them. All I do is watch TV and films, and when I’m not doing that I’m making them. I need a hobby!
TVLINE | You’re a few weeks into taping the ABC midseason comedy Work It. You do realize you have a very hard sell ahead of you, dressing up the likes of Amaury Nolasco as a woman?
I think the opposite – who doesn’t want to see someone really hot and intense from Prison Break in a f–king dress? You’re gonna have to watch it to see how that turns out. The fact that it’s a hard sell is what’s going to make people go, “Dude, I’ve got to see this.” [Amaury] is so believable as a woman it freaks me out. He and Ben [Koldyke, How I Met Your Mother] get really lost in what they’re doing. They’re clearly dudes in a dress, but the hilarity of the show is that we all blindly buy it, and that makes it very British in that regard. It’s very farcical, Benny Hill-type humor.
TVLINE | Do you play a frosty Brit or “the Donna Dixon role”?
I’m definitely frosty, mmmm. My character is a little bit snotty, shall we say – but that’s so fun to play.
TVLINE | As a woman, have you given any advice to the guys?
Yes, about walking in heels, or to run your hands through your hair and touch it a lot….
TVLINE | So what is the secret to walking in heels, for any guys out there who are about to try for first time?
You can’t walk with a wide gait. You need to bring your legs together. That’s the secret.