It turns out that evil reptilian aliens who invade Earth are so unpredictable that they can surprise even the actors who play them. At least, Morena Baccarin says, this is the case with Anna, the ruthless Visitor leader she portrays on V, which has its second season finale tonight on ABC at 9.
This season, Brazilian-born Baccarin (a heroine to fans of FIREFLY and SERENITY for portraying Inara Serra as well as a veteran of STARGATE SG-1 as the dangerous Adria) killed a fellow visitor with her tail and ingested a rodent, not to mention dealing with her mother Diana, played by original ‘80s V villainess Jane Badler – none of which she was expecting.
ASSIGNMENT X: Prior to the Season Two premiere, did you know that Anna had a lethal tail?
MORENA BACCARIN: I didn’t [laughs]. I remember that conversation very well. “You’re going to get a tail this season.” “What?” It was really fun. It was one of the hardest scenes actually to act, because I’ve never had a tail in my life, so I wasn’t sure how to move my body to make it not look stupid, but I thought they did a phenomenal job with special effects.
AX: Is the tail the most difficult thing you’ve had to deal with so far?
BACCARIN: [laughs] Oh, no. It just gets worse. There was a little rat-eating, there’s stuff that I couldn’t believe I had to do.
AX: Do you like rodents normally?
BACCARIN: No [laughs]. Who does? I showed up to work and they were like, “You’re going to have to hold this mouse, is that okay?” I said, “Sure, whatever.” They bring out this huge white rat and it was like this big [hands apart to indicate Ratzilla]. I had to dangle it over my face and I was petrified.
AX: Was the rat upset, too?
BACCARIN: Yes, actually, the rat was kind of squeaking and wanted to crawl back on my hand and pee on my hand and it was kind of gross.
AX: Now, is everything in the Visitor world still CGI or have they given you a little more physical stuff to work with this year?
BACCARIN: I had a couple of physical things, which is really fun. I got to go down to Earth a few times. That was really nice, but I am on the mothership quite a bit.
AX: This season on V, the plot has been somewhat like THE LION IN WINTER, or at least THE LIZARD IN WINTER, with Anna’s mother Diana and her daughter Lisa conspiring against her.
BACCARIN: Yes, it’s very Shakespearean, the three V generations of women fighting for the throne.
AX: Are you drawing on your stage background at all to play what’s going on there?
BACCARIN: I think for this role in general, yes. I think it’s very Shakespearean and I think it’s really larger than life.
AX: There’s a running plot thread with how DNA and human skin possibly cause Visitors to have human-like emotions. Do you have to play different levels of, Anna’s really being affected by this, but she’s pretending she’s not affected?
BACCARIN: Yes. It’s interesting, the journey that Anna goes on. She gets affected more by the human skin, and this hybrid baby poses a really interesting dilemma for her. She starts to feel like its mother and starts to feel attached to it, but she can’t let that show, so there’s the constant bringing [the emotion] back.
AX: How do you feel Anna is evolving as a character? Is Anna evolving in her own eyes, or would that be something she’d be upset about?
BACCARIN: I think it’s something she would be upset about, but in true Anna style, she’s going to find a positive in it and find a way to make it work for her.
AX: In the original V series, there was a hybrid baby who went through a major growth spurt which is happening on this series too. So might this baby team up with Lisa, or will she be teaming up with Anna?
BACCARIN: Yes, somewhat. She plays a pivotal role in the last episode in helping me with my plans.
AX: Are you optimistic that there will be a Season Three of V?
BACCARIN: I am. I think you never know with television. I feel very proud of this season. I feel like we’re finally giving the audience what they want. I think it’s really exciting. I just feel really grateful and happy to be able to play this role. I think it’s so much fun.
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