Shirley Manson, pictured second from the left.
Following Saturday’s TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES panel at the 2008 San Diego Comic Con, the TV Addict [alongside a few other fellow media types] were lucky enough to be given the opportunity to interview some of the cast and creative team from the show.
First up, Shirley Manson, who joins the cast this season as Catherine Weaver. A high-powered CEO of a major technology company that we’re pretty sure has something to do with the rise of the machines and that little future war Sarah Connor and Co. seem so intent on stopping.
The first question, a no-brainer. How on earth does the lead singer of GARBAGE end up on TERMINATOR: THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES?
Shirley Manson: While I wasn’t looking to officially get into acting, it’s something I have always wanted to do. Then one day, Josh Friedman [TERMINATOR’S Executive Producer] called me up and asked if I’d be interested in auditioning for the show. I got the part before I understood the full implications of what I had gotten myself into! I feel very fortunate though, because this role came at a really great time in my life, when I really felt that I needed to shake things up.
What can you tell us about the character you’re playing.
Her name is Catherine Weaver and she’s the CEO of a corporation that develops certain technologies. She’s very self-empowered, assured, singular. It’s a very cool character to play.
Should fans expect any Sarah Connor/Catherine Weaver girl fights?
Not that I know of, unless you know something I don’t. They send you the scripts in little installments, so really, I have no idea where the arc of the character goes at all. Which is very exciting I think.
Have you enjoying making the jump from singing to acting?
I’m so overwhelmed having never professionally acted. But it all seems so cool to me, like I’m six years old again playing in a sandbox. Some of my scenes are with an ensemble, while some are with Richard [Richard T. Jones who plays Agent Ellison]. In fact, I do quite a lot of scenes with Richard. Who is such a great actor that I sit their thinking how good he is, only to realize I’m supposed to be acting.
Are you finding episodic television a grind?
It doesn’t bother me. I’m not Lena [Headey] who is on set every single day. It’s a light load for me in some respects and the hours that I do work are very similar to musicians hours which I’m used to.
Winning a role of this magnitude on your first audition must be a pretty sweet way to start your acting career.
I’ll say, it’s crazy. I can’t believe it happened. It just seems so insane. My little sister said to me that it’s not fair. You get to be a rock star and then you get to be a TV star! It was funny, I feel lucky.
Does this role change the focus of your career? Should fans expect more acting and less singing from here on in? Or vice-versa.
I would like to do more acting. I certainly love the experience of it. It’s exciting and new for me. But hopefully I’ll always do music. Music has been my whole life since I was fifteen. Whether or not I do it in a public forum remains to be seen. But I don’t want to close any doors. I’m just waiting to see what happens and roll with it.
Any possibilities of doing music for the show?
No, I haven’t been approached.
How did you find your first Comic Con experience?
I loved being here and have heard about Comic Con for years. I love the whole subterranean aspect of Comic Con and identify with it. So to actually come here was really exciting for me. Before coming on stage, I actually had a nervous pit in my stomach, like I was getting ready for a gig.
Were you a fan of the films?
TERMINATOR 2 was my movie. I felt that Linda Hamilton was so intense and powerful and I just responded to that and identified with her. I was young, disenfranchised, I wanted to be Linda Hamilton. I wanted to be empowered. I wanted to be able to kick ass. I wanted to push back against the people who I felt weren’t treating me right.
How does the Catherine Weaver character fit into the story?
I don’t konw how much I’m supposed to say to be honest.
You can trust us, really, we won’t tell a soul!
I’m just keeping mum until September.
Thanks so much for your time and best of luck with the role.