Wednesday, February 11, 2009

TwoCents and Five Questions With...

...Summer Glau, Actor, and Josh Friedman, Creator

Cameron is a Terminator sent from the future to protect John Connor and his family. Summer Glau is a classically trained ballerina who can kick some major butt on screen. Josh Friedman is the genius who brought the two together in Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. TheTwoCents had the opportunity to sit down with Summer and Josh to chat about the character of Cameron, the fate of the show, and how dang hard it is to play a Terminator.

Question: Josh, what was it that you all initially saw in Summer that made you all go, “Yes, yes, she’s the right Cameron."

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  1. Q: Josh, what was it that you all initially saw in Summer that made you all go, “Yes, yes, she’s the right Cameron.”

    JF: Well I sort of wrote the part for her. Well I had seen Summer a few years earlier, she came in and auditioned for another show, but then she went off and did the Serenity movie and I walked around carrying her audition tape for a few weeks, kind of lamenting the loss of Summer. So when I was working on the show, working on developing it and I realized I wanted to do a character like this, she as about the only one that I felt like I knew could do this. And I think it’s just something just... you know she has a quality. One it’s her physicality and her dance training and all sorts of things, I think she has a particular kind of — she’s really the only people I know who can kind of be completely still and still be fascinating to watch act. She’s got it.

    She’s … she is almost a robot at this point, she can do it. I mean the great thing about Summer is that she makes decisions and I think we noticed it back on the pilot, I was sitting with James Middleton on the set and it was probably day two or three of shooting and we didn’t know Summer that well, or know what her take on the character was and we talked about it, and I remember there was a point where she did something in a scene that was so sort of clever and very sophisticated and we thought, did she do that on purpose, we don’t know. If she did that on purpose, it was so cool and we hadn’t talked about it. And we waited for the next take and then she did it again, and we were like, she is doing it on purpose and it was awesome.

    I think at that point he and I both looked at each other and high-fived and we were like okay, there’s somebody here who we can entrust with this, who is going to be able to do this and doesn’t need her hand held all the time. She understands the character, I think, better than I do.

    Q: Summer, you have been able to use your extensive dance training in The Sarah Connor Chronicles, specifically in the episode where Cameron shakes down a ballet instructor. But besides actual dancing, how else do you feel your dance background has helped you in the role of Cameron?

    SG: I’ve been really fortunate to have been cast in some roles where I’ve been able to incorporate movement. I think that Cameron is isolated in a way and isn’t really able to relate to the other characters on a human level and I feel that movement is a way for me to express that. I feel that sometimes her movement is awkward or her movement is unpredictable. And it is a way for me to help tell her story, if that makes sense.

    JF: And I think you guys just — and I’ve said this before, but I always like to say it when Summer is on the phone, you guys have no idea how hard it is to play this part and I think that one of the curses of Summer is that she makes it look easy. I mean it’s one of the reasons why we did do “Allison from Palmdale” and things like that, to let people know this is a real actress who is not just walking on the set and walking around like a robot. We’ve had a lot of good actors have a really hard time playing Terminators. And luckily we’ve got three really good ones right now. But she makes it look easy and it’s really hard.

    Q: I’m really trying to figure out Cameron, it seems like she’s obviously very robotic, but then at times she’s very human, and the relationship that she is developing with John Connor... Summer, as far as your understanding of the character, what do you think her end game is?

    SG: Well I just got a hold of our season finale script and I am shocked. So I’m not going to give it away, but I’m excited and I’m a little bit sad, but more excited and just really proud of what Josh has done. I mean it’s the most beautiful character and I love playing her and she’s done above and beyond what I ever thought I could do in two seasons on TV and that’s been a huge blessing for me. But Cameron is so complicated I couldn’t possibly imagine this storyline. I’m glad that Josh is the writer and I’m the actress.

    JF: Again, the Allison from Palmdale episode is one of my favorite episodes and writer, Tony Graphia did a great job with it and Summer was just phenomenal in it. And I think that none of us really knew when we were working on the episode kind of what we were going to end up with and it ended being something, I mean again it is one of my favorite episodes. So I certainly would like to revisit the Allison character at some point.

    It’s interesting, I mean Allison and Cameron are two complete — you know they are different characters and I think that one does inform the other, but they are different characters and I think that it’s important to be able to differentiate them and Summer does a great job doing that. But I’m sure we’ll see Allison some day.

    Q: Do you ever sort of get tired of playing deceptively strong ass-kickers and would you ever want to play an ingénue?

    SG: No and No. Well I feel that in certain moments Cameron has been able to be the damsel in distress. I know that sounds crazy and I think there’s a moment where she’s been able to be the princess and she’s been able to do ballet and “Allison from Palmdale,” I got to play four different characters. I mean I really cannot complain. I’ve really been — it’s great to be on TV, on a TV show and get to play a complicated girl. And for that I’m very, very grateful.

    Q: What have been some of your favorite scenes to shoot so far in the series?

    SG: In this series, oh gosh, I loved everything about Samson and Delilah. I think about so many of those scenes and just how beautiful they were and how meaningful they were for my character and Thomas’ character. Another one of my favorite scenes from this season was my scene with Thomas in the car; you know where I’m trying to make him believe that I can feel; that was really important to my character. And I’m really excited about the season finale; I have a lot of really great stuff to do.

    Don’t forget to tune into the 2009 premiere of Terminator: the Sarah Connor Chronicles on Friday, February 13th at 8/7 Central on FOX... and then come right back here to the TwoCents to get our take on the episode!


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