Alphas' Azita Ghanizada on Rachel's Awakening, Kissing Nina and Her Once Princess Dream
Dr. Rosen’s band of Alphas is back together — but will the reunion be a lasting, happy one? Or did the time apart create rifts that will be difficult to repair? As the Syfy drama continues Season 2 this Monday at 10/9c, Azita Ghanizada gave TVLine a look down the windy road ahead, which will find Rachel on the scent of a very special man, put her powers “on steroids” and push Rosen’s obsession with mega-Alpha Stanton Parrish to a “scary” place. Also: The brunette beauty throws her tiara into the ring to play a certain Once Upon a Time princess.
TVLINE | You experienced your first Comic-Con earlier this month. Did it meet expectations?
There are billboards for our show everywhere and there’s so much marketing, but we’re [in Toronto] filming in this little “bubble,” so we don’t really know what’s going on. [Laughs] So it was nice to get that fan interaction, because our show is the kind that needs it. Our first million fans are these insane, intense, brilliant, awesome creatures that will love us like they loved Firefly or Buffy, so it’s nice to be with them.
TVLINE | Is there a theme of sorts for Season 2?
The show this season kind of has a one-minded agenda. The Alphas are after Stanton Parrish (played by Brothers & Sisters‘ John Pyper-Ferguson) and it becomes really personal to Dr. Rosen (David Strathairn) – in a way that becomes all-consuming at times, even a bit scary. The rest of the team is kind of struggling to keep up, so there are these little break-off things that happen, especially in the middle of the season, as we introduce the big guest stars who are coming back to lead us to this explosion that’s happening towards the end.
TVLINE | Wait, a literal explosion or an emotional one?
Hmm…. I will say that in Episode 9 there is emotional explosion that completely changes what happens for the Alphas; it’s really shocking, and devastating. It kind of just blows your mind a bit, because you’re like, “What the f—k?”
TVLINE | What is coming up in the more immediate future?
In [Episodes] 2 through 5, we’ve got to get back to work, but everything’s different. Rachel, for one, is like, “Listen, I have been a mess for eight months. I’ve been codependent on all of you for too long, so I’m going to come back here and risk my life knowing that’s what I’m doing. So stop babying me.” She’s really interested in leadership, and she’s really interested in discovery. Rachel has to go after Nina (Laura Mennell) in Episode 2, because Nina disappears, and in Episode 4, Nina goes off the deep end — legitimately off the deep end – and she is Rachel’s “big sister,” so to have her fall apart is devastating. Rachel’s goals are to get Nina back into play and keep the team glued together, but she kind of gets distracted by the smell of a boy (played by Steve Byers, Against the Wall) in Episode 3. Everything about him stimulates something in her that hasn’t really ever been stimulated.
TVLINE | Did you mean that like it sounded….?
[Coyly] I think I did…. It’s literal. She is very sensitive to things, and as a character you want to see her get past not knowing how to have a boyfriend. So in the first few episodes, after 3, a lot of what Rachel does is learn how to become a woman. That’s her journey this year. And in Episode 4, Rachel gets betrayed by somebody on the team. It’s scary and it’s sexy and it’s sad. Oh, and there is a kiss between Rachel and Nina. It’s intense, but it’s not at all what you think.
TVLINE | In what new ways will we see Rachel’s ability exhibited?
When we go to find Skylar, played by Summer Glau (Firefly), in Episode 6, Rachel’s abilities change. There is something she shouldn’t have been exposed to that literally shifts the way that her ability is stimulated and almost puts it “on steroids.” That’s something that will hopefully play in the finale.
TVLINE | But how much more amplified can her abilities get?
Well, A) she’s going to learn how to control them better, and B), where she used to be able to only see a certain distance, she can see further. Her senses become so sharp, and she knows now to distinguish them. It’s not unlike [X-Men's] Rogue, who eventually had to learn how to control her power in order to function as a person. Also, the special effects for her are different, cooler and more visually exciting!
TVLINE | Tell me about one of the new Alphas the team encounters this season.
In Episode 2 you have a guy who is aging rapidly – and he doesn’t want to, so it’s driving him crazy. He’s played by C. Thomas Howell, so it’s almost incredible to have him come on board and play this 20-year-old Alpha who should be “Ponyboy,” but he’s aging into an old man’s body.
TVLINE | And lastly, Eric at IGN and I got the word out about you wanting to guest-star as Jasmine on Once Upon a Time. Think you’ll get a phone call at some point?
I hope so! It depends on whether or not they ever cast her. But if they do, I mean, who else could be Princess Jasmine? Now, I’d like to know: Who would Aladdin be?
TVLINE | Well, that’s easy — Sendhil Ramamurthy (Heroes).
And we’ve already played fiancés on Psych! So it’s perfect. Sendhil and I should be Jasmine and Aladdin.