Continuum Star Rachel Nichols Talks Time Trippiness, Her Spacesuit's Not-So-Sexy Side
The sci-fi drama — which already aired its freshman run in Canada — stars Rachel Nichols (Alias) as Kiera Cameron, a “Protector” from the year 2077 who, through a whirlwind chain of events, travels with a band of terrorists to Vancouver circa 2012. There, she struggles to a find a way back to when she belongs, all while trying to nip in the bud a future threat to humanity.
TVLine invited Nichols to prep U.S. viewers for her time-trippy venture, which has already been renewed for Season 2 (to air simultaneously up north and here).
TVLINE | You’ve got a season of Continuum behind you, since it already aired in Canada. What’s the best way you’ve heard it described? Like, “Back to the Future meets 12 Monkeys” or…?
That’s actually a really good question. People ask me and I always say, “OK. I’m going to start with the short version and then I can get into the longer version.” But the short version is I’m a cop from the future fighting criminals from the future in the present day. And then you go into the details about the execution and how they assembled a time-travel device while they were there and I try to intercept it and I get taken back in time with them… and that always leads to more questions which leads to more questions which leads to more questions. That’s the good thing about the show, because it does make you ask so many questions. And it’s very relevant as well.
TVLINE | What is Kiera’s first order of business once she realizes when she is?
Getting home. Through various mechanisms and apparati and people, I realize where I am and my first mission is to get home to my husband and my son. Then, once the first attempt is foiled, I quickly sort of realize that my second order of business is: “If I’m here, I hope that I’m here for a reason.”
TVLINE | Talk about the “relationship” Kiera comes to have with Alec (Jericho‘s Erik Knudsen), the “guy in her ear”….
In the year 2077, the government is run by corporations — even more blatantly than today, if you want to take it into the social commentary zone – and even law enforcement officials are run by “tech,” by special sort of electronic devices. And the man who created all of this tech, Alec Sadler, basically runs the free world in 2077. When I accidentally travel back in time, I of course take the tech with me to 2012, where it’s on an experimental frequency that’s run by a 17-year-old Alec. He’s sort of my “eyes and ears,” and the only one who really knows the whole truth about everything.
TVLINE | That’s kind of tricky for her then, because she needs to work with this person whose destiny she is completely aware of.
One of the really interesting things for Alec, and Kiera as well, is, as the season progresses, he starts wondering, “Do I turn into a good guy or a bad guy?” — and she can’t tell him because of the Back to the Future thinking, that if you touch something now in the past, is it going to mess up the future?
TVLINE | Almost straight away, Kiera embeds herself within the Vancouver Police Department. Is it going to be a recurring thing where she worries that her cover will be blown?
Absolutely. Another very interesting mechanism about the show is that she’s had to integrate herself into this society, into 2012 Vancouver, into the Vancouver Police Department…. She’s had to make friends and, like I said, worm her way in so she can battle this group from the future that nobody has ever heard of in the present day. [Police detective] Carlos (Castle‘s Victor Webster) is her friend in the present day and doesn’t know the whole story, so there is that guilt factor that comes in once they become close and she’s lying to him every day. That becomes very difficult morally, and it becomes very suspect in the season finale.
TVLINE | I assume things will get a little flirty between the two of them…?
You know, I think they’re going to avoid that. Of course I’ve got my husband and my son back home, but also as the season progresses you understand a couple of things about her life in the future…. If Kiera going to have a romance, I can guarantee you it will not be with Carlos.
TVLINE | Out of everything you got to “play” with in the first season, what was your favorite piece of tech?
Oh my gosh…. That’s another super-cool thing. I love all of the tech, but there’s that “multi-tool” that I come back with that will do anything. Going invisible is pretty awesome, too, when I have the suit on, but that multi-tool can pretty much solve any problem I ever need to. I always joke, “I could make Carlos pregnant if I wanted to with that multi-tool, it’s so small and compact.” I wish I had one of those in real life.
TVLINE | The uniform Kiera wears in 2077: Having been in and out of it for a season now, what are the pros and cons?
On Twitter, everybody always says, “Oh, that’s suit’s so sexy,” and I always say, “Yes” — when I am zipped in it and sewed into it and pushed up and pulled out and tucked in, it is hot. It is sexy. Getting me into and out of that suit? Not so sexy. Also, the copper one is a two-piece suit, so there’s this huge sort of granny band sort of stretchy… It’s an elastic-waistband pant, actually. And I say to people, “And when it’s cold, that suit is freezing — it doesn’t retain any heat. And when it’s hot, you sweat to death.” “Form before function” as far as I’m concerned. As long as it looks good, I will tough it through!