What's shakin', bacon?
Anna Torv is helping make the Fox series 'Fringe' a mainstream hit
NEW YORK — As if taking a cue from the Australian homeland of two of its stars, "Fringe" is a platypus of a TV series.
This Fox drama borrows ideas from a sprawl of program genres. It's an unlikely mash-up for sure. And it's working like a charm.
"Fringe" started strong last September and has only gotten stronger creatively. It won a robust audience, too, even before "American Idol" became its lead-in (it airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. EST).
By now, the series seems totally cool with its ambitious mix of action, intrigue, souped-up science, simmering evil, plus all the right doses of humour, romance and blood-and-guts.
Befitting a series that counts J.J. Abrams ("Lost") among the creators, "Fringe" glories in its freewheeling style and its giddy universe of characters who, at any given moment, may or may not be who they seem. But even with its teeming uncertainties, "Fringe" keeps one thing constant for the viewer: its trio of ill-assorted heroes, busy battling a sinister force that threatens the world with "fringe" science (way-out stuff such as mind control, teleportation, astral projection and genetic engineering).
The trusty threesome: Dr. Walter Bishop, a pleasantly mad genius; his cocky caretaker son, Peter; and FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham, who initially enlisted them to help find the truth about her slain FBI partner and lover (whose loyalties have kept viewers guessing while they wonder just how dead he really is).
As Peter, Joshua Jackson ("Dawson's Creek") strikes the right sardonic tone. John Noble ("The Lord of the Rings") is brilliantly addled as Dr. Bishop. And Noble's fellow Aussie, Anna Torv, shines as Olivia.
Olivia is the soul of the show - two-fisted and defiant, yet vulnerable. Torv knows how to convey authenticity, even in the midst of an outrageous scene. And sporting sensible pantsuits and just a hint of makeup, she makes Olivia a plausibly gorgeous pro, not a crime-busting tootsie.
"We didn't want the coifed hair and the red lipstick," says Torv with a laugh. "And I LIKE the pantsuits. It feels like you're putting a uniform on."
The 29-year-old actress is a native of Melbourne, who snagged her role on "Fringe" armed with training at Australia's prestigious National Institute of Dramatic Arts, where she was accepted at age 17.
Then, after graduation, "I sort of jobbed about," she says. "I did plays, film and voiceovers," as well as two popular Australian TV series, "The Secret Life of Us" and "Young Lions."
"I wasn't a star, anyone you'd recognize on the street," she says, "but I managed to earn a living."
Then she moved to London, where she landed the part of sexy animated warrior Nariko in the video game "Heavenly Sword." She performed the game's epic story with her fellow actors in a New Zealand studio where they were dotted with tiny sensors to digitally capture their movements.
"No bothering with costumes, no waiting for lighting setups!" Torv recalls. "We had such a ball!"
It's a different story with "Fringe." Shot in New York (which subs for the show's Boston setting), "Fringe" often places its actors in bleak, out-of-the-way corners of the city (vacant lots, warehouses, subterranean tunnels), during all kinds of weather.
"We don't shoot in any fancy locations," says Torv, who is nursing a cold. "We're not shooting 'Lipstick Jungle."'
Adding to her challenge, of course, is that little thing about Olivia's American accent.
"Some words I still can't get," Torv confesses. "'Anything': Whenever I have 'anything' in a script, I see if I can change it to 'something' or 'a lot of things.'
"But no one on the show is doing a Boston accent," she muses, "which I would have thought would be fun."
A recent episode of "Fringe" found Olivia abducted - why and by whom she had no idea. But thanks to remarkable shrewdness and fisticuffs, she overpowered two guards and gained her escape.
She also had a knockdown, drag-out fight with the wife of a double agent who was trying to kill her.
"We had so much fun!" says Torv, referring to the actress with whom she shared the brawl. "That's probably my favourite sequence in the show thus far."
Not quite so much fun: sharing a scene in Dr. Bishop's lab with an all-too-realistic-looking body part or gooey mutant organism. "Fringe" knows fringe science should have an ick factor.
"It really can be quite revolting. But people get a thrill out of it, you know," says Torv. She pauses for a throaty chuckle. "I was always more into 'Anne of Green Gables.' "
source the Canadian Press
Cracking the Equation
Thanks for posting this!
Anna Torv sounds like such a cool person. I love reading her interviews.
That is a good picture of her in your sig, OliviaIsMyHero
Cracking the Equation
I Control Your Mind!
I glad Anna Torv was chosen, because she certainly plays Olivia well! For a newcomer, she is receiving much praise for her role, and I think most people agree with the press. I hope as the show goes on, she gets better and better!
By the way, I do think your signature portrays the trio very well, OliviaIsMyHero!
That was very nice to read! Last Labor Day, while a hurricane was coming into the Gulf Coast and we were in a very sturdy hotel, on another website we had a blast with Americanisms/Britishisms/Australian/Canadian- isms with posters doing input from the four respective areas.
Like last week. I was musing where "If I'd had my druthers." came from. I'm from Texas, we have our own -isms separate from The Deep South.
"Anything", huh. No doubt they do whatever that program is where the actors re-prounce certain words in the straight American Midwest accent (the most common accent you hear the newscasters use).
Anyway, she was talking about words she still has to get her accent around, and it reminded me of that. Craig Ferguson reminded a guest who had visited Scotland and was marveling about the language, "We're still speaking English, you know."
Thanks for the article. There should be more complimentary articles about "Fringe" and "it's trio of ill assorted heros busy battling a sinister force that threatens the world with Fringe science." JJ Abrams and company are doing a fine job with a unique show on tv right now.