This season on Fringe, Anna Torv’s been playing two Olivia Dunhams stretched to their limit. But she told a conference call just now that both Olivias are about to face their greatest challenge of all. Spoilers ahead!
That challenge? Going home. Torv hinted strongly that both Olivias will have to deal with going back to their old lives after having had a bigger taste of life on the “other side.” And with both Olivias getting to know the alternate-universe people who are technically their enemies — and gaining sympathy once they realize that people on both sides are good people, who are just trying to save their worlds — their loyalties will face a new test when they have to go back to their original groups, she said.
She also mentioned in passing that the show’s current structure, of alternating between episodes set in “our” universe and “over there,” is just in the early part of the season. “I’m looking forward to playing them as they are in their own world,” she says of both Olivias.
Torv said it would have been fun to play a version of Olivia who’s totally different than the Olivia we know — but in fact, the differences between the two Olivias are mostly pretty subtle. But getting to see Olivia through another Olivia’s eyes has given Torv a new perspective on her character — “I am seeing her clearly,” said Torv. “You don’t get to do that too often.” She also says that playing in two different universes has been fun, because each universe has its own energy, and she gets to enjoy playing off two slightly different casts — Charlie and Lincoln in one universe, Peter in the other.
She also hinted that seducing Peter is “just an assignment” for Fauxlivia, “but Peter’s a charmer, and I don’t know what she’s going to do when they’ve been together for a little bit.”
We asked Torv how her Shakespearean background helps her play a story with so much doubling and mistaken identities, and she said that Shakespeare mostly helps her play big operatic scenes with conviction. And when you have to say something like, “the shapeshifters are trying to destroy our universe,” it’s important to say it with a straight face. But she did say that she thinks “our” Walter Noble, the mad scientist, is just like one of Shakespeare’s fools, in the sense of being wiser than everybody else as well as having moments of dreadful pathos.
And Torv said she sort of missed playing the more repressed version of Olivia, as opposed to two versions who are both more open and emotional. She likes the role-reversal of having a woman be more cool and emotionally contained, while the two male leads constantly stand around the laboratory — which is basically like their kitchen — talking about their feelings and how they stand with each other. “I think so often, you have the guys that are the quiet, slient type, who do the tough stuff. And you have the girls who are working out and chatting and talking about their relationships,” said Torv. “Fringe turns that on its head.” Perversely, she found playing a more repressed character quite liberating.