There is a very good reason we relish every opportunity to talk with actress Blair Brown. Unlike Nina Sharp, the notoriously ambiguous character she plays on the increasingly addictive Fox show FRINGE, Brown loves to talk. A LOT. As you’ll soon see in this one-on-one we conducted on our recent set visit in which the actress was only to happy to drop some fairly big bombshells about the upcoming third season on FRINGE. See for yourself after the jump.
Looking back for a moment on last May’s finale, are we correct in recalling that we have yet to meet Nina’s alternate universe counterpart?
Blair Brown: And we still haven’t! At this point she is conspicuously absent from the other side and I assume there is a reason for that. The first and third episodes of the season are about the other side while the second and fourth are about this side because there is an awful lot of business we have to deal with now that William [Bell] gone.
Is there a possibility that our Nina doesn’t have an alternate? Could she be dead?
I’m not sure and I don’t know. You see, I’m not a person who asks the writers those kinds of questions.
Really? As an actor one would think that you’d be interest, at the very least for job security!
[Laughs] We’ve signed contracts, I’m not worried. I just like being surprised by things. For instance, this scene that Josh [Jackson] and I just played where he’s saying, “So, how do you feel about Walter taking over Massive Dynamic?” Nina responds with, “My personal feelings are not the important part. But I think he’s really smart.” Now ask yourself, is that the truth? I think the thing that’s fun about playing Nina is that whatever is on the page you play the opposite because we know in particular that Peter and Nina are fairly duplicitous characters on this side of the world.
How does Walter inheriting Massive Dynamic from William Bell impact Nina, who up until this point has pretty much run the show while Bell was trapped in the alternate universe?
That’s what I think is so interesting. Does Nina want Walter to succeed or fail? And what’s Peter’s participation? Is he sort of saying that this is a crazy set up or is he actually interested because he could now possibly have access to the keys to the kingdom. We know Peter has a darker side to him, so what will that be like?
Has it been fun getting to shoot more scenes between Nina and Peter this season?
Yeah I like that, because going back to the first season where we see them in a riding ring and I say to him, “We used to spend a lot of time here.”
There certainly has been a lot hinted about when it comes to the relationship between the two characters.
Presumably I’m somebody’s mother, but whose, and on what side!
Another relationship fans have been anxious to learn more about is Nina’s relationship with Olivia. One imagines that she would be the first to suspect that there is a little something “off” with “Olivia” upon her “return” from the alternate universe!
We haven’t had a scene together yet, which is interesting, because it’s always been about Nina looking out for Olivia, protecting her, inviting her to work at Massive Dymamic. Yet [four episodes into shooting] this season, we have yet to have a scene together.
Have you had any scenes with Broyles where perhaps you’ve had the opportunity to re-address that kiss way back from last season’s premiere?
No and it’s very funny because someone asked us at [San Diego] Comic Con something about that and I just made a joke that Jasika’s character [Astrid] is Broyles and Nina’s love child! And the respone was, “Is she, Is she?”
One question you definitely do have an answer to is your reaction to discovering the truth about what happened to your arm in last May’s finale.
I always knew that was bogus! I kept bringing it up to the writers, I wasn’t buying the “cancer” excuse. But again, we have yet to explore that history with Walter and Nina, there was a night they both remember!
What kind of reaction do you get from fan encounters on the street?
Because the show is so complicated, the best part is that when people come up to you on the street it’s less about “I love the show,” and more about “Can you tell me why…” Which is why I really have to keep up. Even the episodes I’m not in I always read them. People often ask, “Can you follow the show?” Well, yeah because we have the benefit of each-other. I just heard somebody on the crew asking somebody else about the new script, “What is this thing about the ‘red pill’?” We have each-other and I guess fans have blogs. It’s nice to have something to puzzle out because most things are so simplistic.
Do you sit down with the writers at the beginning of each season and talk about the direction of your character?
Some people do, but I don’t because I actually just trust these guys and I know they are trying to make the most interesting thing. Nina is a kind of grace not that weaves through and tends to come in and complicate the plot. So that’s very fun to be that person who comes in and complicates these things.
When you finally do get to encounter your alternate version of your character [assuming one exists!], what do you hope she’s like?
What I would hope is that she’s neither good nor bad because then we’d know what she was on this side. But given that on this side she’s very controlling, ordered, in control and not really into letting people know what she thinks, I’d love on the other side if she was out of control and just like this kind of mad thing. Or just someone who’s out there in some way. It would be too sad to make it just good and evil.
The ambiguously of her character is more fun to play.
In particular in Nina’s case, it’s more useful plot wise, for her not to be one thing or the other.
You can catch the season premiere of FRINGE on Thursday September 23 at 9PM on FOX following BONES (CityTV in Canada)