Anna Torv is a graduate of the National Institute of Dramatic Art, Australia's most prestigious acting college. Since graduating, she has performed with the esteemed Sydney Theatre Company and had regular roles on several of Australia's acclaimed television dramas, including "The Secret Life of Us" and "Young Lions." She has also appeared in the highly popular "McLeod's Daughters."
We talk with Anna about her role on the fan favorite show FRINGE, now in it's third season...
SHAKEFIRE: Could you tell us what you were working on today that was so frantic and hectic?
ANNA TORV: We’re at a train station. We’ve got a hostage situation today. So, we’ve got police cars. That’s the terrible thing, there’s always flashing lights, ambulances, and police cars. I was driving home from work the other day and there’s flashing lights and ambulances and police cars and I’m like, “Oh, well, I’ll keep going.” It wasn’t until I got two blocks down that I went, “Oh, my gosh! That was an enormous accident that I just totally didn’t think was real.” That’s not funny; that’s terrible.
SF: Now, when you first signed on to the series, did you have any idea of how deep Fringe would go in terms of some of the options with the alternate universe?
AT: No, I really didn’t. I didn’t really know what to expect. It has exceeded my expectations and has done for a long time. I really didn’t know. I also didn’t think, “Oh, it’s sci-fi.” I don’t really know what I expected, but I’ve been thrilled.
SF: Was there any particular episode or scene that came off more challenging to you than usual in either character or mindset?
AT: There’s been a few, but more often than not, it’s the scenes that you wouldn’t expect to be challenging. It’s the ones where they’re doing the same thing. It’s like them ... up dual crime scenes, like how does Olivia handle it versus how does Bolivia handle it, or they’re sitting around and gathering information. They’re the bits that I go, “Oh, what are they both thinking? What’s the difference in their thoughts?” Not so much the bigger stuff, which is a little bit more padded, I guess.
SF: Overall, what is it about Fringe that you like?
AT: I like that it’s just so broad. It doesn’t fit in any particular genre. I think it’s scary. I think it’s kind of mystical. I think there’s sometimes we’ve had episodes that I think are really quite magic. I think there are parts of it that are really heightened. There’s parts of it that are really kind of down and dirty. It’s got humor and a little bit of romance. The fact that it’s so broad in its spectrum and in its stories and that it’s unafraid to go, “Let’s just take this leap, shall we?” We all go, “Yes! Let’s!”
SF: Are there any particular topics that have fascinated you that you guys have covered?
AT: Really early on—I think even the second episode or something—there was a case where Walter was talking about his research with William Bell where they were working at developing soldiers, seeing how quickly they could grow these—genetically engineer these soldiers. There’s been other ones since then, too, but any of that kind of like that real ethical fine line, it always gets me interested because I’m interested in that ethical and moral divide between humanity and science and how far can you take things for the greater good, and what is the greater good and what isn’t. Those bits always pique my interest.
SF: I know that you did a lot of Shakespeare earlier in your career. You toured with the Shakespeare Company and I think you toured as Ophelia at one point, early on. How does doing Shakespeare prepare you for a story like this where there’s a lot of doubling and mistaken identities and all that sort of thing?
AT: I don’t know. I always think of— I don’t know. I think I guess maybe in the sense that when you’re doing— I don’t know. I guess it's all about kind of like big themes. All , Shakespeare stuff is all just big themes, like the most amazing, love your life, or the most scary war, all of this. Fringe is like— I mean, I am constantly, essentially, saving the world. So, I think you just have to buy it or you just have to go, “I really am.” When you say those lines, “The shape-shifters are going to destroy our universe,” you have to say it with a straight face. That’s so interesting you say that because I’ve thought for a long time the similarities between our beautiful, beautiful Walter and Shakespeare’s fool is probably—
SF: Shakespeare’s fool, you said?
AT: Yes, Shakespeare’s fool.
SF: Not Lear?
AT: No. I don’t think so. I think the fools. That is what Walter kind of is. I think that the fools in Shakespeare’s plays are always wisest and yet always making a joke of it. Yet, you get them down, they’re often the saddest. Yes, absolutely the fools, particularly Lear’s fool.
SF: Do you think that Altivia has any qualities that Olivia might wish she had?
AT: Yes. They both do, in fact. Yes. Olivia would— Well, I don’t know since Olivia is ... to me, but Olivia has ... qualities. I’m trying to think specifically. I think that Olivia’s main struggle is fundamentally the fact that she feels so responsible for everything and for everyone. I think that she would like to be able to leave her work at work and go home and put the weight of the world on somebody else’s shoulders for a minute and not feel like if she doesn’t do it, nobody will. That’s the biggest thing. That’s probably Olivia’s ..., but then, I don’t know if people change. I don’t know if you’re capable of changing such a fundamental, core belief, but I think that’s what she would like. I think that would enable her to breathe deeply and see the world in a bit ... fashion.
SF: I really love all the differences we’re seeing in the alternate universe, like “Dogs” on Broadway instead of “Cats.” I’m just wondering if you have a particular favorite of those little Easter egg things.
AT: That’s one’s my favorite. That was my favorite because I didn’t notice it the first day. No one said anything. Then, I went in and then I looked. That really cracked me up. I think that was my favorite.