For an actress who has made a name for herself Stateside in such high profile roles on the likes of ROME and BONES, actress Indira Varma has spent surprisingly little time shooting in the actual United States. HBO’s ROME was shot in Italy, her stint on BONES in the UK, and her latest role, that of Billionaire Philanthropist Ilsa Pucci on HUMAN TARGET shoots in Vancouver, British Columbia! Which is where we had the opportunity to catch up with the actress to chat about what’s in store for her character in the second season of HUMAN TARGET, the perils of procedurals and why UK actors are so obsessed with making it in America.
Ilsa Pucci is giving Chance and his team unlimited means to do with what they will, does she know what she’s getting into?
Indira Varma: Yes, I think so. Of course, when you’re giving someone your money, lots of money, you kind of want to know how it’s being spent. Especially because these guys have a tendency to break the law and pretend they’re above it. Ilsa Pucci is not a lawbreaker, she’s more conventional in that respect and will most definitely be keeping a watchful eye.
What’s her relationship going to be like with Chance in particular?
She is going to be learning about who he is as a person and I think that will be quite fun. It’s hot and cold with them, one minute she’ll think, “Wow he’s done some great stuff here,” only to quickly change her mind when he does something that lets her down. It isn’t going to be a simple relationship. She’ll question him and get him to confront some issues he probably doesn’t want to confront just as he does the same for her. I really think that it’s a match made in heaven. Two strong-willed people who are intelligent, trying to learn about each other and are trying to change each other, despite the fact that you can’t really change someone, can you?
Since TV Audiences love their “will-they-or-won’t-they,” we have to ask the obvious… will they?
Well, it’s TV isn’t it! I think if you’ve got two evenly matched — in different ways — people… a man and a woman who are single, come on… of course it’s going to cross their minds. But I think it’s going to be difficult, she is not a bimbo, like most of the girls last season! No, I’m joking. But Ilsa Pucci is not going to be like that, she’s not a walk over. She’s going to make him work for it, if he wants it that is, I don’t even know if he’ll want it. But if he does, there’s going to be a lot of sparring.
HUMAN TARGET is so much more action oriented than what you’re known for. Was that part of what drew you to the role?
The appeal was that it wasn’t a procedural. If it was, I’d be going out of my nut. I told my agent, please don’t put me on a procedural, because it’s not really acting. I have done it in England and I just personally find it hard. I have huge respect for actors who can do it, can make it interesting and can do it well. But I think sometimes, if you’re playing a cop or a doctor and you have to learn technical jargon, it’s difficult. I want an emotional journey, a psychological one, something to play.
With so many fantastic shows being produced in the UK, what exactly is the appeal for a British actress to come to America?
You get paid better here, that’s really what it comes down to. We have less money to spend on making new drama and new writers and all that and as a result, we don’t quite take the risks, although it probably doesn’t seem like that because you get to see the good stuff that comes over. Obviously, we have great drama, but there is less money and it’s a smaller pool. We look at American TV and think we all want to do THE WIRE and these amazing shows that you have here. That said, my fantasy is to have a transatlantic career and I think that’s everyone’s fantasy. I do like variety and I think you come here and get that. Also, I’m a mixed raced actress and in America I’ve noticed there’s more openness and more opportunity for me on TV. But I’m really lucky to be working. A successful actor is one who can afford to live off acting.
HUMAN TARGET airs Wednesday night at 8PM on FOX (CTV in Canada)