Has the mystery surrounding who killed Rosie Larson left you scratching your head? Well, rest assured, you’re not alone. Michelle Forbes, the talented, and if we may be so bold, Emmy-worthy actress, who plays grieving mother Mitch Larson on AMC’s meticulously crafted and beautifully-shot freshman series, THE KILLING, is too. Or at least that’s the distinct impression the affable actress left us with during a recent one-on-one in which Forbes took the time to discuss the year’s most addictive new series, the toll playing television’s most honest portrait of grief takes on a person, and why the resolution of spring’s most talked-about mystery may just leave viewers with more questions than answers!
Who killed Rosie Larson?!
Michelle Forbes: I have no bloody idea!
On a slightly more serious note, having finished shooting the season would it be safe to assume that you know the answer to that question?
Or not. We’re all sort of in a blur, none of us know.
How integral was it to your performance throughout the first season to — like your character — be kept completely in the dark as to who killed Rosie?
In this particular project I really choose to stay in the dark because Mitch [Forbes’ character] was in the dark and there was nothing that I needed to know. If I need to know something to execute the story then I would want to know, but other than that I wanted to stay in the dark because Mitch was in the dark in a sense.
When discussing THE KILLING dark really is the operative word here. Outside of the obvious “it’s your job,” how big of a challenge was it to play a character who is experiencing the pain and anguish that comes with loosing a child?
You know honestly, as you said, as an actor that’s your job to tap into these things and these circumstances. In this one it was a heightened circumstance, that’s just a part of your job and it’s a devastating place to be. Let me tell you, especially to have to stay their for five months, it’s a devastating place to be. But it’s what you have to do to complete your job.
Knowing how emotionally draining an experience like THE KILLING might be, what attracted you to the project initially?
Well I didn’t know! I didn’t know what the structure of the show was going to be or how long it was going to be. I didn’t. I think that in my mind I figured that it would be one crime per season, which I thought that would be good to tap into for one season. What I didn’t understand at that point that it was actually one episode per day. That was only revealed to me much later as we were shooting.
Although “funny” probably isn’t the right word, I can’t help but chuckle as I picture you receiving script after script only to slowly realize how slowly the show would move!
Yeah exactly and then I realized that I didn’t really have the luxury on the show to speed up a few weeks or months into healing and I was quite unaware that it would be five straight months of grief. We would shoot for one week and that was one day, the next week was another day and it was quite gruelling in that regard.
Picking up on something you alluded to earlier — that THE KILLING may not just be one crime per season — is it possible the mystery of who killed Rosie Larson may not be wrapped up by the end of the first season?
Possibly. I have no idea. None of us have any idea.
And knowing full well that actors are usually the last to know, it’s probably safe to assume that you have yet to hear about a second season?
No, nobody’s heard anything. Crazy right?
After a show like THE KILLING should fans expect to see you pop up in a light hearted comedy?
I’m looking for something that is outside of the world of grief without a doubt. I haven’t had so much time to think about thing, but I think it’s time for a comedy. I’ve been dealing with so much grief between THE KILLING and DURHAM COUNTY which was also about the grief of a child. Something like TRUE BLOOD which was in between and totally fun something like that afterward.
According to your imdb profile, you moved to New York at the tender age of 16 to be an actress. Is that true?
Actually that is true, but most of what is on imdb is completely untrue. I believe there is something on there that says I was in Oklahoma in the early 90’s which is completely untrue. I don’t know who prints these things.
Was your plan always to be an actress?
I was at a preforming arts high school in Houston Texas of all places. in a bizarre set of circumstances I wound up in New York where I met my agent in the first two weeks that I was there, so it was sort of an odd-fated trajectory.
What advice would you give to a high schooler with aspirations of being an actor?
Don’t do what I did! It’s just by luck that it turned out well, but I wouldn’t suggest it to anyone. I didn’t go to New York to pursue acting, I went to visit my sister who was living there and over the course of a few weeks, just in happenstance met someone who catapulted me into the world.
Having gotten your big break on GUIDING LIGHT, what’s been your reaction to the slow death of the soap opera genre?
It’s a strange thing. I mean everything has its cycle. For me it was a strange torch to carry because I remember being very frustrated. I was working on the job there was a lot of stuff that you couldn’t touch on just due to the schedule. The amount of work you had to do in such a short amount of time. At the same time it also taught me that I could be a marathon runner and handle enormous rewrites at the last minute and enormous amounts of dialogue.
And finally, if given the chance to revisit one of your many iconic roles, which character’s shoes would you like to step into again.
Probably IN TREATMENT or TRUE BLOOD. And I bring those up only because the people I was working with and what beautiful memories I have from those two shows.
THE KILLING airs Sunday nights at 10PM on AMC. Catch up with the entire series for free courtesy of AMC by clicking here.