EXCLUSIVE: Amanda Righetti (COLONY, THE MENTALIST) Interview @ MCM COMIC CON

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Hollywood News Source got the chance to sit down for a talk with Amanda Righetti about the first season of Sci-Fi Drama Colony at MCM London Comic Con.

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The USA Network show starring Josh Holloway, Sarah Wayne Callies, Peter Jacobson and Amanda Righetti has been renewed for a second season. The interview contains a great deal of spoilers from the first season so wait to read this until you’ve finished the season.

QUESTION Just tell us a little about your character Madeline, she’s very strong. In the four episodes I feel like the audience wasn’t quite sure what to make of her, as for those episodes she was somewhat in the background. Once she met her old friend George that served as an origin and from there we see her be a total badass.
Amanda It is the reveal to her character arc, it’s pretty apparent, there is a very docile point of her in the beginning and that anxiety of whether she can get the insulin for Hudson and trying to find a different way to get what she needs for her child to survive and I think the only way she can do that is to get into the Green Zone.

 

You see that when she bribes the woman to get into the Green Zone to start working with the Art at the Burgess’ household. I think that is the turning point for Maddie where she has nothing to lose at this point because if she doesn’t do this then she will not be able to help her son and without his insulin she is not going to survive, so at this point she’s willing to risk being sent to the factory in order to get what she needs because otherwise Hudson might as well be dead.

 

So I think it is a turning point for Maddie and then you sort of see her colours come through towards the end of the season and now that she’s kind of found her footing and seen what she is capable of doing. I think it leads to a lot of potential in the second season which I don’t know they’re going to do yet but there is great potential for her to keep going in a really strong position.

QUESTION I think something that wasn’t evident in the beginning of the show’s marketing, when the trailers were rolling out, when the cast was announced, there was perhaps a feeling that the show would be action based. However by the end of the season in my view it is about two incredibly strong sisters and the lengths that they will go to in order to protect their family.
Amanda That’s what I really love about the show. It is about the family dynamics, it is a human story, a survival story. It really revolves around to what lengths these people go when they are pushed into a corner and when they’re backed into a corner what decisions are you going to make when push comes to shove? How are you going to survive, how are you going to get out and how are you going to get your family out? We get a glimpse of what’s behind the walls towards the end of the season and it is very bleak, and so it becomes a point of whether we deal with the devil we do know or the devil we don’t. I just think it is really fascinating because the onus is not really on the Sci-Fi element, it is on the human relationships and that makes it a very transcendent show.
QUESTION Do you have any insight about Season 2? I noticed that as the two sisters of the show you have almost NO scenes with each other, the only one I can remember is at the house and a quick, “Can you take the kids?” and then Katie (Sarah Wayne Callies) is gone. You were talking about relationships and the one between Katie and Broussard. He’s the most frightening man I have ever seen brought to life on television, yet he just blindly trusts her. He looks to her as if she is constant, as if she is immovable. Even her husband doubts her before learning the truth. Yet for all that there is never a hint of romance between the two of them.
Amanda Yeah you’re right, that’s what is really strange about it. What is driving that trust?
QUESTION Maybe he sees something in her?
Amanda He does and there is obviously some kind of history that is driving that kind of loyalty and I’m curious to see if they explore it in the second season because they never touch on it at all in the first season.
QUESTION The show goes through pains to describe how Broussard was brought up, how horrible his life was and how he is only alive and only functioning because he trusts no one then within an episode…
Amanda He’s questioning all of that. It is wild, it is such a smart show. I think Carlton (Cuse) has done an amazing job of keeping the audience on our toes. It is a show that you can’t mindlessly tune into because there are so many nuances that if you miss something then it is like you missed the whole point of an episode. I don’t think there is enough smart TV like that and that is what I really appreciate about the show, it is so character driven, meanwhile the plots are also really in depth and juicy so it is a really great balance.

 

I think Tory Kittles’ character (Broussard), he’s got such a meaty role, he is such a layered character. I mean they really all are very layered characters. I wish I could give any spoilers for season 2 but they are still assembling the writers’ room and we don’t start filming until the end of June, so I don’t know. I have not met anyone yet with Carlton or Ryan or the writers to find out what they have in mind for the second season. From what I understand they are trying to make each season standalone so that it is not predicated on watching the first season to know what is going on in the second.

QUESTION You just said there is not enough smart writing, do you feel like the level of writing has changed in the last few years because television has kind of become the new cinema?
Amanda It is and I think that’s what pushing the envelope, content is king and because there is so much content out there that I think in order to stand out from the pack you really have to have something unique. And when you have good content people will find it by word of mouth, it will somehow find its feet and I think with Colony we are in an interesting position. USA Network is going through some changes and they are revamping the profile of the network and they are rebooting it with a different, through different eyes I think. So they are looking for stuff that is a lot more edgy and pushes the envelope. I think Mr. Robot was a great example of them revamping the network and I think Colony is close behind and they have another show coming out called Queen of the South that looks fantastic and it is also a very edgy show. I think USA are definitely in a new era of television.
QUESTION Is edgier better in many ways?
Amanda I think edgier competes with the Showtimes, the HBOs, the Netflix, the Hulus, Amazons of the world because they are really pushing the envelope, their parameters are not as boxed in as prime time network television. So in order to compete with those other aspects of TV, you have to be able to push the envelope so it is almost forcing TV to up their game.
QUESTION I feel like some writers and directors get ‘edgy’ confused with ‘gritty’ is that something you feel as well?
Amanda Sometimes it can be. It becomes muddy but I don’t know, when I think of edgy I think of raw emotional character…
QUESTION It is not Superman V Batman necessarily.
Amanda Exactly. I think of it as you’re really digging into the depths of character and the human spirit and pushing people’s limits. That’s what I think, and I think Colony definitely has that. There’s some really explosive scenes and just some really raw scenes and it is all human based, it has nothing to do with these mysterious creatures that are forcing all of this to happen. It is about the human relationships.
QUESTION Do you have any other projects coming up that we should be aware about?
Amanda Not currently. I’ve been dealing with home renovations and stuff like that, so on my hiatus I was dealing with domestic stuff so I didn’t work on the in between but there is a film that is being shopped right now that might end up being aired here (in the UK) at some point called ‘La Femme Fatale.’ It has been sold to a few foreign markets in the last few weeks, so we’ll see.
QUESTION If we can switch and talk about The Mentalist do you keep in touch with the rest of the cast?
Amanda I do. I saw Owain (Yeoman – Wayne Rigsby) for his daughter’s first birthday. It has been about six months since I’ve seen Tim (Kang – Kimball Cho) and I saw Robin (Tunney – Teresa Lisbon) like two weeks ago. Simon is in Australia now, but hey we keep in touch.
QUESTION What was it like working on the Mentalist? The show came from nowhere, then after the first season anyone looking at it thought it was an automatic renewal, so what was it like for you?
Amanda It was such crazy timing because it was one of the only shows that came out of the writer’s strike. The writer’s strike was pretty heavy duty, and by the time it ended we were sort of half-way through Pilot season so it was a mad scramble to get something put together, and I think in some ways it was a bit of a shot in the dark, but because it is such a quirky show and CBS really has the procedural aspects of their crime shows down it was just quirky enough to be different but still procedural enough to fit into their programming.

 

I think when all of us signed on for it, I think it exceeded all of our expectations. We didn’t think it was initially going to go for seven seasons but it was a really great run and I think people really responded to it because it wrapped everything up in one episode. You didn’t have to tune in every week to see what was happening with these characters and there’s something really simplistic about it where everyone could tune in as they saw fit and they wouldn’t be lost in the series and would not know what was happening.