In Fox Network’s SECOND CHANCE, Fridays at 9 PM, 75-year-old former sheriff Jimmy Pritchard has been brought back to life in his thirty-something form (Rob Kazinsky). Jimmy is using this opportunity to investigate his own murder and reconnect with his grown son (Tim DeKay). However, the reasons for Jimmy’s resurrection have nothing to do with his own needs, and everything to do with techno billionaire Otto Goodwin (Alhir Kalyan) keeping his sister Mary (Dilshad Vadsaria) alive with Jimmy’s rare cells.
Vanessa Lengies plays Mary’s assistant Alexa, who turns out to have her own interest in Otto’s successful human experiment. Lengies, a native of Montreal, has been a professional actress since childhood, with series regular roles in ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?, RADIO ACTIVE, AMERICAN DREAMS, HAWTHORNE and MIXOLOGY, but she’s perhaps best known so far for her work as Quinn/Sugar Motta on GLEE.
AX: Your character Alexa was kind of reconceived before you came onto SECOND CHANCE. Are you in the pilot?
VANESSA LENGIES: I was just in one scene – they shot it and then re-entered it in the pilot, where I say [to Mary], “It’s time to tell the press about your cancer.” You’ll see a lot more of me as the show continues.
AX: With her ulterior motive, is it fair to say that Alexa thinks that Otto’s experiment is pretty awesome?
LENGIES: Mary tells Alexa, my character, everything. But Alexa knows Mary’s hiding this from her. And then you find out that Alexa, for a completely different reason, wants the code that they’ve created, this genetic code that brings Pritchard back to life, Alexa needs to get it, and I don’t know if her opinion about is that it’s awesome, I think it’s kind of thrown her life upside-down and made her do things that she in her heart never thought herself capable of doing.
AX: Did you have to learn anything for the character like how to be a good assistant and take quick notes?
LENGIES: I had to learn how to kick butt in high heels. I mean, at the end of the season, I am running around, and throwing people, and my feet are so bruised, because we just wrapped [in January], so I had to learn a couple of fun stunts in heels, which I’d never done before. As far as being a good assistant, those tablets that you see that look really cool, they do all of that in CGI and make us look like we’re really, really smart and fast. So all I did was touch a blank plastic rectangle, and then when you watch the pilot, you’re like, “Wow, she’s the best assistant ever.”
AX: Does Alexa actually have affection for Mary, or does she just see Mary as a means to an end?
LENGIES: No, she loves Mary very deeply. I think there’s one other person in Alexa’s life who means the world to her, but after that, Mary’s the only reason for Alexa to even keep going in her life. She loves her, she looks up to her, she thinks the world of her and she wants to protect her. And I think that’s what makes the character interesting to play for me – it causes her so much stress.
AX: And what is Alexa’s attitude towards Otto, because Otto’s a little bit peculiar?
LENGIES: I think the wonderful thing about the relationship between Alexa and Otto is, it shows how intelligent Alexa is. Because Otto is mathematically and scientifically so beyond the normal human capacity of intelligence, but Alexa can manipulate Otto, and that shows that she understands the working of his social brain and intelligence and I think that their relationship is always like a chess game, if that makes sense.
AX: What would you most like people to know about SECOND CHANCE?
LENGIES: I would like them to know it’s an amazing show about family and the heart and love that exists in all families, despite the problems and the tension that shows on the surface.
This interview was conducted at Fox Network’s portion of the Television Critics Association press tour in Pasadena, CA.
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Article: SECOND CHANCE: Vanessa Lengies on Fox’s new series – exclusive interview