By Brian Truitt, USA TODAY
Anna Torv has to wonder how she went from an Australian TV drama with a bunch of twentysomethings sitting around talking about their relationships over beer to an American sci-fi show like Fox’s Fringe, where she is regularly doing action sequences in alternate universes.
“Sometimes at 3 in the morning when we’re still shooting outside in the rain, running around and blowing things up, I want that scene where I’m on the couch with a cup of cocoa, going, ‘Sure, if you just call him, he’ll …’ But really, only at 3 in the morning,” says the Australian actress, laughing during a break while on the Vancouver set of Fringe.
orv, 32, is bubbly and makes herself chuckle a lot, unlike the serious nature of her character, Olivia Dunham, an FBI agent who works in the organization’s Fringe Division to solve strange problems of science that threaten mankind. Her role became a tad more complicated last year in the show’s second season, which revealed a whole new and different universe and a whole new and different Olivia.
Now in Season 3, Torv is playing both Olivia and her alternate-Earth self. Original-recipe Olivia is buttoned-up and blond, and Alt-Olivia’s more cocky and redheaded, but Olivia is stuck in the other universe and has to pose as Alt-Olivia to survive, while Alt-Olivia has infiltrated Olivia’s team — who think she’s the Olivia they know and love — as a double agent in the regular reality.
Don’t worry if you’re a little hazy on all that. So is Torv. “It gets kind of confusing keeping track,” she says, her Aussie accent giving way to the more American tones of Olivia every so often.
Asked what an alternate-universe Anna Torv would be like, the actress pauses. “That’s a good question. Oh yeah, I’d want her to be braver than me,” she says. “I think I am brave, but really it’s just in the privacy of my home. It’s where I have all the good ideas I never put into action.”
Though Torv carries a lot of geek cred in the sci-fi community, she’s not often a target of tabloids and gossip columnists. Her wedding to Human Target star Mark Valley in December of 2008 wasn’t held under the normal celebrity microscope, nor was their split this year.
Torv enjoys the bubble of Fringe that allows her a personal life. At the same time, though, “I don’t really do a lot,” she says with a laugh. “It’s not a joke: You hear actors always saying, ‘My favorite night is just to go home and sit in front of the TV.’ You stay out of trouble that way.”
Her character yearns to have a family aspect in her life, and Torv wants to start a family one day, too.
“I think that there will be children in my life,” she says, adding, “I don’t know when and I don’t know how, but I’m not thinking about that at the moment.”
Perhaps Fringe will discover another parallel universe where fans find out Olivia is a mom. Stranger things have happened, as Torv knows, since she’s a long way from that couch and cocoa.
“We’ll just keep going,” she says. “Each season, we just keep discovering more and more Olivias, and they just keep getting more and more different until I end up playing this Southern belle who reads palms.”