Helix preview: “Survivor Zero”, plus Jeri Ryan talks about her character and more
by Doc on Feb.12, 2014, under Television
This Friday’s episode of Helix features the arrival of Constance Sutton, played by Jeri Ryan! Find out what happens when she arrives to help on Day 7…plus check out the latest “Inside Helix” and the “What the hell?” moments from Day 6. And as a special bonus, we have excerpts of a press call with Jeri and executive producer/showrunner Steve Maeda talking about her character and being on Helix….
Inside Helix – Episode 6
‘What the Hell?’ Moments – Episode 6
Jeri Ryan/Steve Maeda press call
WARNING – May contain spoilers!!!
Q: Can you talk about playing the more cold calculated side? Like is there anyone particularly a character you got inspiration for? Or how did become her?
Jeri: She was just fun. This was a really fun role to play because she’s kind of out there. You know, she’s not subtle, which I love. So it was fun to just sort of let go and just really play and let her go to those places. That was a treat as an actor.
Steve: Sutton for us was someone who put on a very sort of benign and corporate face, which is why she does a lot of corporate speak, but then underneath there’s obviously a lot more going on, and Jeri just ate it up. It was fantastic.
Jeri: Are you implying scenery chewing?
Steve: No. No. It’s just awesome.
Jeri: Scenery nibbling perhaps.
Steve: A little nibbling.
Q: So what first attracted you to [the role]?
Jeri: You know, it was fun – well the concept of the show to begin with was sort of intriguing to me. I hadn’t seen any of it at that point because it was just being shot. And, I loved you know the people that were involved in it. So that was all really cool. And then when I sort of was hearing a little bit more about the character and I was seeing how she was written, then it was fun.
You know what? It’s fun. This is my sort of first foray back into sci-fi in a number of years, so it was nice. It was a lot of fun to get back into it.
Q: How secretive were they about what was going to happen with your character?
Jeri: Oh, they were extremely secretive. I was asking really direct questions about what the hell am I and who am I, and they were like, “Oh, I don’t know. It’s really cool. You’ll have to wait.” I was like, “Come on.”
Steve: Yes. We played a little close to the vest. And some of it we’re just trying to kind of keep the mysteries in obviously, and we’re trying to help the actors as much as we can while still not revealing everything at the end of the day. And part of it is, you know it’s a work in progress. That’s the thing about a series is you don’t have everything figured out from – you know, even the half way point. We’re still working through things.
And you know, we knew where her character was going, but you know other things came up in the breaking of the show, so we tried to give as much direction as we possibly could.
Q: Are you completely done with Season 1? Have you finished it in it’s totally out of your hands now?
Steve: Not totally. We are locking our last episode, Episode 13, today, and then we are actually on the mix stage right now. We are watching a playback – a sound playback of Episode 8, which is the second episode that Jeri is in, and we’re working through those. So that’ll be going on almost until – you know, a couple weeks before we air this last episode.
Q: Are you waiting to finalize this finale until after you hear about a Season 2 pickup?
Steve: You know what? We’re locked into our finale. We don’t have the luxury. So we are cautiously optimistic on a Season 2 pickup and 13 is going to lock today, so we’re crossing our fingers and toes.
Q: How would you best describe Constance and what motivates her?
Jeri: She’s kind of a ball-buster.
Q: What was it like to work on a series that’s sometimes kind of gory and gross?
Jeri: Oh, I love the gore. Are you kidding me? Oh, God, more gore. I love it. The goo and the guts, and all of it. I love it. So much fun. Come on. I observed autopsies when I was on Body of Proof. I love this stuff. I love the science of it. I love the gore. I love all of it.
[About co-star Hiroyuki Sanada, who plays Dr. Hitake]
Jeri: I have to brag about Hiro for a minute. That man is unbelievable. I was in awe of him. I still am in awe of him. He’s – the man is a ninja. The scene where I had to throw the book at his head, and I have to throw it directly at his face, and there – you know, it’s on me. I can’t like pretend to throw it. I have to wail it at him and he’s standing like six feet away from me.
And I was a wreck shooting the scene. I was so nervous. I was like, “Dude, I have no aim. I can’t.” He was like, “Just throw it. Just do it. Just right at my face. Just go.” And there’s cameras set up right behind him, and so he has to knock the book away, and we’re worried about hitting the lens and all this expensive equipment. He never even blinked. Never flinched. Never breathed heavy. Nothing. Every take, he just batted it out of the way like it was nothing in the exact spot that it was supposed to land so it didn’t hit any equipment. He is amazing. He is amazing.
No, honest to God, I am such a fan girl about him. I just like follow him a round. I’m like, “Oh, my God, you’re so cool. You’re so cool.”
Steve: I’ll tell you a little Hiro story. The first time he did – he does that thing with the gun where he hands the gun over butt first and he does this little flip with it. The first time I saw that, because that was not scripted, he just did it, and I was like, “What did he just do?” And I went back and I liked watched it three times because it was so cool, and then sent him an email and said how bad ass that was.
Q: [Having joined the cast late] Did you bond with or become especially good friends with any particular members of the cast or crew during your time on Helix?
Jeri: You know what, everybody was great, but I absolutely fell in love with Kyra Zagorsky. She is amazing, and we didn’t get that many scenes together. Actually, we sort of bonded before we even got to technically work together. She’s amazing, amazing, amazing. So talented. I’m so excited for people to see her in this and discover her, and she’s just the coolest lady in real life as well, so that’s been really fun.
Q: Hey, have either of you picked up like an unnatural fear of needles as a result of working on this show?
Jeri: Oh, I’ve always been needle-phobic. Hideously needle-phobic. That’s the one thing that I have a hard time with.
Steve: No, not so much. Although, you know, it certainly – the show does make you think twice about you know any time there’s a – you know, a new flu strain or anything like that. But no, not overtly I would say, but no; it’s not my favorite thing.
Q: What has been your favorite experience working on Helix?
Jeri: Well I think again working with Hiro Sanada, he’s just – he’s incredible. This man is such – I mean everybody, the entire cast is fantastic, but he’s just – he’s in another world. He’s not even human. It’s crazy. Seriously, he is such a professional and he’s so dedicated, and he’s so – he’s just so good, and so connected, and so right there with you in any kind of scene. And whatever you have to do, you just – he’s amazing to act with. You just feel so supported as an actor to work with him.
Steve: Also I think, unlike the Hatake character, when – you know, in person.
Jeri: Yes. Exactly. He couldn’t be more the antithesis of Hatake in real life.