What’s luck got to do with it? When it comes to the trajectory of Rebecca Mader’s career — who will follow up succumbing to the most notable nosebleed in the history of the television with a three episode guest stint on NO ORDINARY FAMILY starting night — very little. Or at least that’s what we took away following a fantastically candid conversation with the actress who touched upon everything from what brought her to America, her mysterious new role on NO ORDINARY FAMILY, and of course, what it’s like to be associated with the remarkable legacy that is LOST.
Despite the fact we promised ourselves we wouldn’t start off this interview with a LOST-related question, something recently happened that we simply must get your reaction to: The LOST lottery numbers…
Rebecca Mader: Were they all the exact same numbers?
They were two off!
I’m so pissed off I didn’t play those numbers! It did cross my mind and then I was in such a rush because I was on the set of NO ORDINARY FAMILY on Tuesday and we were all like, “Come on, we have to wrap and go get lottery tickets.” So me and Michael Chiklis were plowing through the scene, I ran to 7-11 and I didn’t have time. I thought about the LOST numbers that morning but I didn’t have time so I said, “Sod it,” and did a 20 dollar quick pick, which of course didn’t have anything that was remotely close to what the numbers were, and then I saw it on twitter the next day and was like, “$#*! that crossed my mind!” Oh well, I guess I’ll just have to make my own millions!
The one question we’re always most fascinated about when it comes to talking to actors from across the pond is, what brought you to America when UK actors have so many amazing projects at their disposal?
It’s really hard to get into the business in England. Harder still when you’re 18 or 19, living in London and working as a model. I wanted to be an actor, but I couldn’t afford to go to drama school. So I kept saying to my modelling agency, “You’ve got to help me try and get a meeting with an acting agent.” But in England, the business is so separate that you’d just be laughed out the door by a serious actor agency. If you haven’t been to a posh drama school you just didn’t get a look in. So I said “Sod it! I can just go to America,” which I really felt was the land of opportunity where the people would be more willing to give me a shot. So I came here back in 1998 with £200 to my name and I’ve been hear for 12 years, never went back.
As someone who has often thought about ditching my hometown for Los Angeles, one can’t help but be impressed. What was the impetus to take such a terrifying plunge at such a young age?
I remember spending my first Christmas by myself in a crappy apartment and New York City saying to myself, “What am I doing?” But I just knew it, you know what it was, it would have been worse than not doing it because then I would have had to live with the regret for the rest of my life. That’s sort of what fuelled me.
Assuming your imdb profile is accurate, it took a good seven years until you got your big break, which was FOX’s legal procedural JUSTICE.
That really was it and it’s so funny because when you’re on a big show like LOST or something, the public, for them, you’ve appeared out of nowhere. Like this overnight success just fell in my bloody lap! But I struggled for seven years in New York modelling, acting, doing voice overs, and then having huge dry spells where I couldn’t even afford to buy groceries and I had to walk everywhere because I couldn’t afford the subway. So when I got JUSTICE it was like fall to your knees crying like, “Oh My God, Thank God,” because I was about to be homeless.
Unfortunately, as is the case with most TV shows, FOX cruelly canceled the series after just 13 episodes. Do you remember where you were when you got that phone call?
That was devastating because at the time I was finally able to quit modelling. I was so excited because I didn’t enjoy it and I was like, “Now I’m just an actress, this is it!” Then of course I’ll never forget when the producers called to say we didn’t get picked up for a back nine, I was driving and I nearly crashed. I pulled over and probably burst into tears. There I was, living in LA, didn’t know anybody because I had just moved from New York and was like, “What am I going to do?” But five months later I’m in Hawaii… blessing in disguise.
Blessing in disguise may in fact be the understatement of the year! What is it like having LOST as part of your legacy?
It’s amazing. Let’s face it, there will never be another LOST and it feels really special to have been apart of it. People come up to me and say, “I’m so sorry to talk about it, you must be so sick about it,” but I’m really not. I’m not one of those actors that are like, “Oh don’t talk to me!” I love talking to strangers and getting into conversations about the show. I became a huge fan of the show and it’s actually nice to talk to people that really enjoy it.
Is the ability to converse with fans part of what attracted you to twitter?
I’m addicted to it, it’s a problem.
In your case it’s not, because your tweets seem to come from a very genuine place.
I feel like it keeps my finger on the pulse. People can get overwhelmed and think, “My life is so boring, what have I got to say?” But it’s not about what you say, it’s about who you follow and the kind of links that people tweet. I end up getting navigated through the internet in a way that I would never do by myself. Twitter has totally opened up the world wide web for me, it’s brilliant.
It also probably doesn’t hurt that it can help fans keep abreast of your career, which is my not-at-all clunky segway to your latest project, NO ORDINARY FAMILY. What can you tell us about your character which premieres in tonight’s episode?
My character is called Victoria Morrow and in my first episode which is “No Ordinary Brother,” I get hired as the Global Tech VP of human resources for Dr. King (Stephen Collins) where I actually give Autumn Reeser’s character (Katie Andrews) a promotion. Basically Victoria’s very mysterious, intriguing and there’s most certainly more to her than meets the eye. So it’s a really fun character to play, I’m really enjoying it.
This being a show about heroes and villains would it be safe to say that your character is up to no good on the show?
That’s up to you, you’ll have to watch and see.
As an actress, do you enjoy getting to play in the sci-fi, fantasy, superhero sandbox?
Yeah, I’m a huge geek so I love anything in that comic book realm. I love that stuff and I’m really excited to be a part of something like NO ORDINARY FAMILY.
Without tipping your hat as to where Victoria’s allegiances lie, care to share if you have a superpower?
I can’t tell you that!
Fair enough. [Note: This is the part of the interview that would probably have gone far better had we had Daphne Powell's mind-reading abilities!] What was it like working with Michael Chicklis?
I love Chiki, he’s hilarious. I was on set the whole day with him the other day and he’s definitely on my wavelength. We have a lot of fun together, I love him.
Have you gotten to partake in any stunts?
I can’t talk about them, but I’ve definitely been doing some exciting fun stuff.
And finally, having signed on for three episodes, does your character’s arc leave the door open for a return?
Never say never!
NO ORDINARY FAMILY airs Tuesday nights at 8PM on ABC (CTV in Canada)