Anna Torv’s Life on the “Fringe”
By Luke Y. Thompson on September 28, 2012
With Fringe about to enter its final season tonight, we find ourselves wishing for an alternate reality in which good things never end. Alas, in this one, no great sci-fi series lasts forever, but if we gotta let it go, doing so while talking to the lovely Anna Torv, who plays Olivia, is not a bad way to go.
Nerdist: So what can we expect from Olivia on this last season of Fringe?
Anna Torv: (laughing) That’s a tough question to answer without getting my wrists slapped! What we can expect from Fringe is that we are entering a brand-new kind of world. The writers sort of do that at the beginning of our seasons; we sort of end up with a massive reboot which sort of injects the show with a whole new energy and a bunch of new faces. So we are in the future, in an Observer-ruled world.
N: This may be a premature question, but once the series ends is there talk of doing a movie, or is there going to be a real finality to the season, as far as you know?
AT: I think that this is the end. I think that all of the creative guys who are writing it and who have invested so much of their time and imagination are very determined to end it, as well. I think that’s fair to the audience, too.
N: Do you have any input into the spin-off comic books, as far as how your character goes?
AT: No! We’re so in the dark with all that sort of stuff. I didn’t even know there were comic books until someone asked me to sign one, and I said “Oh my goodness, what is this?” No, we don’t have any input. I think Josh wrote one, but I think that was during season 3 or 4 when he was sort of doing half-duty.
N: What was it like when you were playing multiple versions of Olivia? Was it confusing to do that, or did having a different hairstyle help you keep it straight?
AT: It would have helped except when we first met them, one was pretending to be the other and the other thought she was the other, so it didn’t really matter what hair I was in, I was not really that character. I think that when you’re really focused and you have to keep things really neat in your mind, you tend to be a lot more engaged. I loved all of that!
N: Did you have any idea when you started this show that it was going to get as weird as it was going to get later on?
AT: No. (laughs) I don’t think they did either. It’s like an evolution for us all.
N: How has that been, that process of getting stranger and stranger? Does it feel good, or is it more of “Oh, God! Here’s another thing that I have to remember that’s going to be difficult!”
AT: We keep sort of flipping; we flip timelines and now I think, “I don’t really know what cases we’ve solved and what ones Walter knows about.” At some point you just have to take a leap of faith.
AT: That’s John [Noble]’s domain, really, and he’s really good at it, too! He’ll check it all out and make sure he knows exactly where something is coming from. I have the luxury of being the character who doesn’t really understand all of that stuff, so I get to ask questions, genuinely.
N: How close is John to his character in real life?
AT: I think there are elements of us all in our characters, simply because we’re in them all day. But John’s not crazy. (laughs)
N: When you are in your character all day, do you slip in and out of your natural accent between scenes?
AT: For me, you slip in-and-out, in-and-out. In 5 years, you’re working with people who have an accent and you’re speaking in it all the time, so what happened is my “natural” accent is a mish-mash; all over the place. I should have been more disciplined about slipping right in and right out. I wish it had stayed, but now it’s very neutralized, trans-Atlantic kind of thing. You do a role long enough and you slip in and out of character, too. We’re all pretty loose.
N: With Fringe and Heavenly Sword and even ITV’s Frankenstein, you’re gaining a real geek culture pedigree. Do you see yourself as part of the geek culture? Is there a part of you that relates to that, or is it kind of strange to you?
AT: I can’t believe you referenced Frankenstein! That was one of my first jobs, I had just moved to London, I was so excited to have one little job! I said, “This way, please!” I don’t even know how to answer that. With this show, particularly, we’ve been so loved and supported by our fans, and without them we wouldn’t be on air. The only sort of massive interaction that we get with them is going to Comic-Con, and it’s always just a really lovely bunch, so I’m happy. Thank you!
N: So is the interaction with the fans always good, or do they ask you really high-level questions that you can’t answer, because they’ve memorized the show so well?
AT: Sometimes, yeah. But it’s always been like that with Fringe. If anybody ever stops you on the street, they always want to know about the show. It’s been lovely to be in a show where the show is the star. It’s always Fringe-centric, and sometimes I can answer, and sometimes I can’t. (laughs)
N: What sort of projects are you looking to in your future? Is it going to be genre stuff that our nerdy crowd would be into, or are you looking for more traditional drama?
AT: I think that Fringe IS traditional drama, except maybe a little science-fictiony. I still think it’s rooted in reality and I think all those genre shows have to be in order for the audience to buy it, too. I think we have a lot of drama in our show. I don’t know. We’re only half-way through shooting the final season, and it’s been a really long time, so I’m just focused on wanting to finish. I don’t know what comes next; I really don’t know. I’m not tunnel-visioned, one way or the other.
N: Are you looking forward to trying new things, or is it scary to have this come to an end and not knowing what to do next?
AT: I think it will be both. I think it will be invigorating to get into somebody else’s skin. But in the same breath, there’s something that happens when you work with the same people for years and years, playing the same character. You’re so relaxed, you’re not nervous anymore. You learn a lot more stuff, especially technically, because you’re able to take more on, you’re not so nervous and focused on what you’re doing. I don’t know; it’ll be nerve-wracking but fun. Again, that’s the next chapter, and I don’t want to think about it too much because I’m still in this.
N: Final question for you: Aside from Fringe, what TV shows do you personally enjoy and get excited about?
AT: I have to watch TV on my breaks, so I’m not watching anything at the moment because we work all the time. I really did love Game of Thrones because it’s so magical. I haven’t seen the second season yet; I’ve only seen the first. I’ve promised to watch it with some friends, so I’m holding off on that. I’m excited to see that though.
Fringe‘s final season premieres tonight at 9 p.m. on Fox.