MEDIUM revolves not only around the fact that Allison Dubois (Patricia Arquette) is psychic, but that she has a family. For seven seasons, the audience has watched the Dubois daughters – sensitive Ariel, forthright Bridget and little Marie – grow up on camera. Likewise, actresses Sofia Vassilieva (Ariel), now eighteen, Maria Lark (Bridget), now thirteen, and identical twins Madison and Miranda Carabello (sharing the role of Marie), now eight, have spent a significant portion of their lives acting in the Dubois household.
The long-running MEDIUM airs its final new episode tonight on CBS. This interview was conducted while it was not known whether there would be an eighth season. Here’s what they had to say.
ASSIGNMENT X: Have you been surprised by any aspects of your characters’ development over the years?
SOFIA VASSILIEVA: Of course, of course. I think that’s what’s so phenomenal about our show, is that the writing never ceases to surprise the audience or us. And we’ve seen her grow up into a young woman, we’ve seen her wield her psychic abilities and sort of use them for the good, but they do [sometimes work differently] than she intends. So there have been some crazy episodes – going back to the Eighties, being possessed by a dead stripper, aging thirty years in one episode – so the constant surprise has been great, but it’s also allowed us as actors to develop our characters in ways that we never expected. So to see my character thirty years from now was incredibly fulfilling, because we’re never going to know what Ariel will be like in thirty years, but for me as an actor and as the character, I got to see that, I got to create that, I got to sort of close off [one possible version of] her story.
MARIA LARK: I am very proud about what they’ve done with Bridget. I mean, they’ve kept her herself – they haven’t tried to manipulate her or change her in any way, but she’s changing.
AX: When you came onto the show, did you know that Bridget was going to have supernatural gifts?
LARK: When you’re like six years old, you don’t do focus on [where the script might be going]. You just do your job and then you go home. But nowadays, I’m glad that they do allow Bridget to have all these powers, because Bridget can do many different things with them in the way that she acts and in the way that she is, and it’s great. When I was little, I never even really knew until I got my first psychic script, that Bridget was supposed to be psychic.
AX: Did you know until the episode with the glasses that Marie was psychic?
MADISON CARABELLO: I really didn’t know.
AX: A few years ago, it was said that one of you [Carabello twins] preferred working with Jake Weber and the other one preferred working with Patricia Arquette. Is that still true?
MADISON CARABELLO: No. We enjoy working. It’s really fun. But we work on our turn. If we work with Jake Weber, then we’ll work with Jake Weber. If we work with Patricia Arquette, then we will work with her.
AX: Do you have favorite scenes or episodes that you’ve done?
MIRANDA CARABELLO: I have to say the [school] play one, where we all did the play with the fruits and vegetables.
LARK: The one where she was a pea.
MADISON CARABELLO: Yeah. And I have some other ones. I have one where Jake was going off to a business trip.
AX: Was your favorite episode to do the one where you aged thirty years?
VASSILIEVA: That one and the one earlier in the [sixth] season, being possessed by a dead stripper. That was fun [laughs].
AX: There was also the NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD one …
VASSILIEVA: That was a great one, right? A show with zombies, of course. As I said, our writing has been great and I think that’s one of the main reasons our show has been so successful.
AX: You’ve also done some feature films. Do you have a preference between film acting and TV acting?
VASSILIEVA: Both have their strengths and both have their weaknesses. As long as you’re able to identify both and work with both, you’re fine. I think any experience is great and I think that the experience in film and television – how you grow as a person really is [due to] the material and the people that you work with. From working with Cameron Diaz on MY SISTER’S KEEPER to Patricia Arquette on our show, those are two incredibly strong, independent women with a great sense of self, as well as of their profession. As long as you’re working with great people, you’re in great shape.
AX: In an episode during Season Six, Allison had an episode-long dream where Ariel rejected her. Was that painful to play?
VASSILIEVA: Yes, it definitely was, but I think it kind of played into the experience of college, that how at some point we have to let go and start leading our own lives and I think it’s a really great, very powerful storyline that can [be related to] by mothers and children and kids going off to college. It was very difficult for Ariel and for Allison, of course, but I think basically it set Ariel up as her own individual.
AX: You’re going to college on the East Coast in real life now, so you have limited appearances in Season Seven. What’s your major?
VASSILIEVA: Business Econ.
AX: Are you looking to stop acting and do something else?
VASSILIEVA: I don’t know. I think, especially in this day and age, the more you know, the better-off you are, quite frankly. So I think it’s a great time and a great opportunity to go learn, to go experience, to sort of hold my own ground for awhile. And I’ll be coming back during the season to do some episodes. With the Business Econ, I feel like, once you know that, you can kind of [investigate] all the fields you may want to go into later in life. I think everybody on our show had known from the very beginning that academics and my studies were, and continue to be, one of the major [priorities]. So they all knew and have been incredibly supportive of it.
AX: Maria, some of your adult colleagues have said they think you might go into directing when you’re older. Do you have interest in that?
LARK: The way I do it with Bridget is that I direct her and that’s really what acting is. But then when you’re actually directing others, it’s different. As far as directing goes for me … maybe.
AX: With Sofia/Ariel going off to college, does that mean that Bridget and Marie have gotten more to do in Season Seven?
LARK: Yes, actually.
AX: As you’ve gotten older, have they let you work more?
LARK: No matter how old we are, it’s just what we can handle. When you’re younger, it’s harder to learn so many lines and it’s harder to be there for so many hours, but as you get older, your scenes do become more complex and there are just more layers into it.
AX: Every year that MEDIUM has been on, there has always been a question of whether it will be renewed. Do you wonder, “What is life going to be like when this is done?”
LARK: You know, [being on a series] always has that fear, because it is a show. You know what I mean? We’ve been on for a very long time, but there is always that fear. And right now, everyone is starting to really worry, because the economy is so bad. The show is like a family. So of course, other things come along and life goes on, but it’s a family. It just is very close-knit. When you do something for so long, you really start to miss it when it’s gone.
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CLICK HERE for ASSIGNMENT X’s exclusive interview with Jake Weber
CLICK HERE for ASSIGNMENT X’s review of the MEDIUM Series Finale