Rachel Nichols talks jeopardizing the future in season 2 of ‘Continuum’

by W. Andrew Powell
Rachel Nichols

The future can be a murky place when you start messing around in the past, but at what point to you jeopardize your own existence, or the existence of everyone you love to make a better future? That’s the question that everyone is still wondering as the second season of Continuum returns to Showcase this Sunday, April 21 at 9:00 PM (ET/PT).

As the new season begins, Kiera, played by Rachel Nichols, has formed a partnership with 2013 Detective Carlos Fonnegra (Victor Webster), but she is still trying to figure out why she has even been sent back in time to begin with.

At the same time, the young Alec (Erik Knudsen) needs to understand what his future self is trying to tell him, and the Liber8 terrorists are fighting even harder to keep the terrible future from becoming a reality.

During a conference call with Rachel last week, the actress talked about the latest season of the Vancouver-based series, and what will be coming up in season two.

Journalist: I recall chatting with you last season about how Kiera came from a point where everything was very black and white, and good and bad, and we saw that change in the first season. And we see that in the second season it gets off to that start where nothing is clear cut for Kiera. How much more of that are we going to see in this upcoming season and how will that carry over to the rest of her life, not just in everything with Liber8?

Rachel Nichols: “Right, great question. We spoke about it before many times but you know, in 2077 she knows who she is. She knows what she’s doing. She knows that she’s on the right side of the law. She’s the good fighting the bad. It’s very cut and dry. She comes back in time and in 2013 over the first season there’s a blatant recognition of the idea of the gray area so it’s not so black and white.”

“Season 2 obviously yes, she still wants to get home. It’s a primary goal, nothing has changed there. Season 2 is very much about responsibility and when I say responsibility I mean the end of Season 1, Kagame gives a speech and we used some of his speech as sort of a tagline for Season 2, which is you know, if you drop a pebble in the ocean on one side of the world, does it become a tsunami on the other?”

“So season 2 is very much about the things that Kiera is doing well here in this time. Her acknowledgement of the responsibility that she holds and so does everybody else, how they affect the future and how they affect where she’s from and how maybe the decisions she’s making here in this time are actively sacrificing the future that she’s so trying desperately to get home to and because she’s here fighting the good fight and doing what she was doing in 2077 anyway.”

“Is she actually jeopardizing her family, her husband, her son. Could she possibly do something that can cause her to never be born, in the future? And so yes, it’s the black and white is not so cut and dry this season and there are a lot of questions she have to ask herself. At the end of last season, if she had prevented that building from blowing up, what would that have meant for the future? And these are questions that are very prevalent in season 2.”

Journalist: If I could just talk about your career a little bit, you’ve been drawn to some very interesting roles… I think that it’s sort of near the law and order your character Kiera is trying to emulate on Continuum; Alias to the G.I. Joe movie, to a lot of fan favorites as well. Can you talk about [that]? Are you drawn to some of those sort of roles or are people drawn to you for those kinds of roles? What’s your impression of that and what do you think of those roles?

Rachel: “You know, I consider myself extremely fortunate because having been established in the physical roles for law enforcement, people who know my work, who know what I’ve done, they believe me in these roles. To get–to be believable–especially when it comes to the physicality and the fight scenes and the weaponry and all that–when people really see–especially for a woman when they identify you with a character like that–it’s kind of the best gift going because for me, once I establish myself as someone who you know, I can kick butt and take names and solve the crimes. I’m believable in that role–in that element–so then I don’t have to worry about proving it to people anymore and that’s… I don’t necessarily seek them, out but if they didn’t–if I don’t seek them out, but I would if they weren’t coming to me because this is what I love to do, so it’s definitely a form of flattery for me.”

“I’m definitely flattered that people like to see me in these roles and if they find me believable in these roles, because it is really what I like to do. I love–it’s a blast. I love the action aspect, I like the guns. I love–you know, and it’s very rewarding when someone says hey, we believe you in this type of role so then I can get hired in that type of role and nobody–and I don’t feel like I have to prove that I can do it.”

“So it’s actually very nice and I would pursue that on my own if it didn’t sort of fall on me. But it’s kind of half and half. I pursue it, it pursues me. We get along really well, that kind of thing.”

Cast of Continuum season 2

Cast of Continuum season 2

Journalist: One thing I was kind of curious about is just going through the first season of a show. Obviously it’s a new experience and you feel the new cast, new career, new personality. So how has that changed your preparation going into this new season? What was the environment like? Was it kind of like a family reunion, sort of going back and meeting old friends, seeing some new faces along the way?

Rachel: “Yes. I–you know, between when I was on the inside and when I did Alias, when I did Criminal Minds, I’ve never done a season two of a show and coming back to do this show, to have a second season, was obviously such a gift and I was so pleased and honored and thrilled the show was received so well. And we were given the opportunity to come back and play again for another 13 episodes. It’s the best gift, showing up on set and coming into town.”

“I was supposed to come into town on January 20, but the Patriots were playing the Baltimore Ravens and I wanted to watch it in L.A., so I came on January 21 instead even though the Patriots lost, which was horrifying. And immediately landed on January 21, spent whatever amount of time at the airport getting my work visa approved and then came to a cast dinner. Got picked up and driven directly to a cast dinner to read the first two episodes… coming home to this great family and everybody that was back and the crew is the same way when I show up for day one of shooting and 90% of our crew is back this year.”

“It feels great. It feels great because you know that they wanted to come back. They could’ve said no, but everybody has that shorthand already and you can really hit the ground running which frankly–given the time we started shooting this year and the turnaround for episode one airing on Showcase–we really needed to already have that shorthand going and we really needed to have those relationships already forged. And it was so nice to just come back and say, ‘Hey family. What’s up? This is great. Let’s do season 2, you know, let’s start now.'”

“I can’t say enough good things about it actually. It’s really something that I hold very near and dear.”

Journalist: Besides on Continuum, what’s been your favorite role so far?

Rachel: “Good question. I’ve been really lucky and I’ve had some pretty cool–I mean, shooting Gaila in Star Trek was not super fun because I was covered in green sticky paint, but the end result was obviously very iconic and very cool to be a part of that franchise. You know, like I said, I’ve been extremely lucky. I’ve had the opportunity to play a bunch of different characters.”

“On the first G.I. Joe we had a blast. That was so much fun to shoot. We were in L.A. and then we were in Prague and had such a great time, had such a great cast on that show. And then, you know, I did this horror movie years ago with Wes Bentley called P2, which sort of came and went. It was a very quiet kind of movie but now it’s [had] a resurgence. There’s a sort of almost fan-based kind of following to it and then it’s been playing on TV a lot and then I go on Twitter and I see people like, ‘My gosh, that was really so good. I loved you as Angela. You were a total ass kicker.'”

“So yes, I don’t think I can really call out one as being my favorite, but I can say that I’ve been blessed with very good work experiences. You know, in Charlie Wilson’s War, I was basically a glorified extra, but I got sent [for] a month with Mike Nichols and Tom Hanks and Philip Seymour Hoffman and that was heaven. So yes I can’t–like I said–I can’t really pinpoint one that’s my favorite. I’ve just been fortunate enough to have a lot of great experiences.”

W. Andrew Powell: There’s a lot of science fiction around right now, and it feels like there’s been a move towards darker science fiction even. Can you say maybe how you think the show represents some of the mood of today?

Rachel: “You know, the Sci-Fi genre is enchanting and Sci-Fi fans are also equally enchanting. I love the genre because in Sci-Fi you can get away with maybe being a little bit political, maybe having a bit of special commentary, all of these things that were very prevalent in the first season, and you can get away with them on a certain level where your show is not a political show, it’s a Sci-Fi show, but you have these aspects to it. And yes, I think for Continuum to have been purchased by the number of countries that it was purchased in, on Syfy in the U.S., Syfy in the UK and on Showcase here.”

“Yes, there’s a fascination. There’s still the desire to escape when you watch TV or when you watch a movie, I think, for the general population. But yes, feeling a little bit darker or a little bit more mysterious… it’s definitely prevalent and we have a lot of that in the show, where we talk about corporations in 2077 [and how they] own and run the government. They own and run the police forces.”

“There’s no crime in 2077. There’s all this technology. It’s painting a picture of what might become reality and painting a not-so-great picture of what might become reality, and then, in effect, obviously invites change in the present. But yes, there’s a fascination with the darker underbelly of what may come and we obviously did this a lot on our show. Sci-Fi is a great genre to do that; to speculate about the future.”

“And the best outcome of that is when fans, whether it’s on Twitter or any other medium sort of start to participate and ask questions and want to have this dialogue about this dark future that may happen. That’s ideally what we want; people who continue to be fascinated with it and I think our show handles it very well.”

Journalist: You’ve spoken a lot before about the duality of Kiera as a character, the cop and the mother. Going into the second season, are these two sides of her still pretty much equal or do they clash at all, if you can tell us?

Rachel: “You know what? That’s a great question because they do clash more because in the second season there is–the more prevalent idea in the second season is everything Kiera does now in the present is costing her something potentially in the future. So she is a cop here, a protector in the future.”

“She’s a mother in the future. She has a son that she wants to get home to and a husband that she wants to get home to. But while she’s here in this time period she wants to do everything she can to uphold the law, do what’s right by the people. So there is that question and it’s very prevalent in the season.”

“The longer Kiera spends in the present, the more quickly the future starts slipping away and it’s a risk that she kind of doesn’t really have a choice. It’s not as though she’s going to say all right, well then I’m done fighting crime in 2013 and I’m just going to go home and knit for a while until someone gets me on a time travel machine back to the future. It’s not really an option, so she has to interact with the people of today. She has to make decisions. She has to be proactive. She causes change. And she knows she’s causing change but it’s a very difficult choice for her because of the fact that she is very aware of the idea that changing things in the present day may be potentially deleting her family from the future or maybe even her herself.”

“Maybe some of the stuff she’s doing in 2013 is going to prevent her from ever being born in 20–whatever year she was born–sorry my math is not going to work right now–but yes, that psychotomy. The pull is still there and it’s even stronger because it’s a reality that she may be sacrificing everything that she’s fighting to get back for by fighting for the common good in this time.”

Rachel Nichols as Kiera Cameron and Victor Webster as Carlos Fonnegra

Rachel Nichols as Kiera Cameron and Victor Webster as Carlos Fonnegra

Journalist: Hi this is a complete nerd question here. Some of the sci-fi series are connected. They have the same universe almost like ‘Warehouse 13’ and ‘Alphas’ and ‘Eureka’. I’m wondering is there a crossover possible in the future for ‘Continuum’?

Rachel: “I would love that. I think that would be fantastic.” Obviously the show is very complicated and a lot of sci-fi shows are. I’m on a need to know basis and I asked for this from the first season, from the first episode of the first season.”

“I’m on a need to know basis and if I need to know something for performance wise–you know, Darth Vader is my father–if I needed to know that then Simon Barry who created the show would tell me that but I’m pretty much left in the dark when it comes to the rest of the stuff because I like the new episodes and I like to read the scripts and I like to be surprised and I like my jaw to drop when I take the twists and turns the audience will eventually take when the show is on TV.”

“So crossover, I’d love it. Do I have any knowledge of it ever possibly happening? I don’t. That’s a question for Simon Barry but I would definitely support it for sure.”

Journalist: Kiera’s tech, specifically the stuff in her head, was shown to be a potential danger to her last season and her attitude towards it to seemed to be changing. Can we expect more of that or does she still rely pretty heavily on it?

Rachel: “Yes we can expect more of that for sure. The tech is kind of a double edged sword because yes it’s very powerful and useful and it does help her solve crimes and get where she needs to be. We have to be careful about the amount of tech that we use on the show and obviously her suit’s still with her.”

“Alec fixed it in the first season. She’s got her multitool. She’s got her gun but she also needs to be human and I think the writers do a very good job of keeping her human by limiting the amount of power that the tech has. In season one, Carlos at one point says, “You know, you have to rely on your instincts.” And in season one, when we did the flash forward to the future, when they say, ‘Don’t rely on your instincts. Trust the tech. The tech will never let you down.'”

“Kiera has to really adapt to 2013 and yes she’s gotta use her instincts and she’s got to rely on things other than the tech because that’s how it works in this period of time, so there is the ongoing debate about this too and the multitool and all that. But yes, season two, she’s definitely learning how to operate without them. I know it sounds really vague but if I said certain things they might kill me.”

Journalist: I don’t know if you talked about this already but Kiera seems somewhat hesitant to get too close to her allies in our time; Carlos and Alec. Will that change at all or is she still going to kind of keep her distance a bit?

Rachel: “No it changes. Season two–Alec is Kiera’s lifeline. He is her best friend. He knows everything. He’s also her eye in the sky. He’s the guy in her head. Their relationship is I think for–and this is just me talking–the most important relationship on the show and she relies very heavily on Alec. And at the end of season one Alec receives a message from his future self and he’s really not sure if he likes who he becomes.”

“And so there’s the idea for Alec of changing his own path and Kiera, she needs him on a certain level to become who he becomes, because she wants to get home. And so their relationship is very strained. She’s very much a lone wolf at the beginning of season two.”

“Her relationship with Carlos goes through an extraordinary change, happening through season two, and she’s kind of relegated to the fact that she’s here. She’s here for a purpose. She’s got to make the best of it and these are her two dearest friends and those relationships need to be respected and protected. She does what she can but it’s increasingly difficult in season two.”

Rachel: “I would just like to add that we are very proud that we shoot our show in Vancouver and when it’s on the air we say that it’s set in Vancouver because that doesn’t always happen a lot and I’m a big fan of the city, I’ve got to be honest. I had never been here until I moved here to shoot the show last year and all I can say is I’m looking to buy an apartment here now because that’s how much I like it.”

“I think it’s really important. I think it’s really nice. And I think it’s really refreshing that we’re giving credit where credit is due and very happily shooting and set in Vancouver for the show. I just want to get that across because it’s sunny and I’m looking out my window and it’s a great city and I don’t think everybody knows that that’s not here. So that’s all I would add but I’ll answer any question you guys want.”

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