‘The Event’: What does Laura Innes know?

Oct. 07, 2010 | 6:31 p.m.

Irene Lacher sat down for a  Q & A with actress Laura Innes, one of the central figures in NBC’s mysterious “The Event,” for the Los Angeles Times. Here’s an excerpt…

innes The Event: What does Laura Innes know?Laura Innes became familiar to TV audiences as the accomplished but abrasive Dr. Kerry Weaver in her 14-year run on the hit medical drama “ER,” which also launched her directing career. Last month, she returned to NBC in its new high-profile sci-fi conspiracy drama, “The Event.” She plays Sophia Maguire, the leader of a group detained in a remote Alaskan prison.

I.L.: So what can you tell us about your mysterious character?

L.I.: This is the problem with the show, isn’t it? It’s very hard to talk about. She is someone who’s very passionate about what she’s doing, and she’s very ethical, but what makes her interesting is, when push comes to shove she’ll do whatever she has to do to protect the people she has to protect and achieve her goals. It’s a character that you don’t know necessarily whether she’s quote unquote good or bad — when do you go beyond what’s considered acceptable behavior to achieve your goals? It’s interesting as she proceeds through the series and you see her break out and become more expressive in various ways. It’s kind of frustating to talk about. I can’t tell you guys anything.

I.L.: By the time this runs, the second episode will have aired.

L.I.: By then you find out she is an alien, extraterrestrial. And what I like about how the show handles that is they don’t make such a big deal about it. It’s her definition as the Other — she could just as easily be a terrorist or Middle Eastern. The show is pretty much based on being a conspiracy thriller rather than a sci-fi show, and that helps us stay grounded in the material.

I.L.: Do you know what the event is?

L.I.: [In a second meeting with the producers] I said, “So what’s the real deal with the show?” And they told me all this stuff and I just kept going, “For real?” They told me this stuff, and when each of us was hired, we got a little bible about our character that we weren’t supposed to share with each other. We all have different information depending on our character’s relationship to what goes on in the show, how much they don’t know. That’s kind of fun, and I know at that point they went into quite a bit of detail about what the event is, and it was very compelling to me.

I.L.: Does anyone else in the cast know what the event is?

L.I.: I don’t really know.

I.L.: Why are they keeping secrets from you guys?

L.I.: I think part of it, way back when we did the pilot, had something to do with keeping the story under wraps. Tell as few people as possible and you diminish the chance it’s going to get out. And I will also say I think there’s the psychology of having your character secret. “We created this little world just for you, and don’t tell anyone — it’s just yours.” I don’t know whether they intended this, but as an actor it makes you feel special or you feel recognized and your own imagination can go off on these different tangents.


— Irene Lacher


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