interview with

(as Claire Redfield

How did you become part of this project? What attracted you?

I had just finished shooting the pilot for Heroes and we didn’t know if the show was going to go or not. The script was sent over and my first reaction to it was that Claire was a strong female character and I am always drawn to women that speak their mind, and have an interior strength to them. The filming fit into this little amount of time that the show would allow me to leave and I said let’s go for it.

What was your reaction to the storyline?

I thought it referenced The Birds. I feel like they were trying to do a little bit of a kick back to it, with an homage to The Birds and there’s not that many genres that allow you to have two strong women in the movie. I thought that was interesting. This character, Claire Redfield, was from the videogame. I’d never played the videogame and as I read it, I thought she really serves a purpose in each of these people’s lives that she’s with. She’s part of this traveling convoy across the Nevada desert and there’s all different ages of people that she’s traveling with and for one of them she kind of serves as a mother and for one of them she serves like a best friend, for one of them she serves for a teacher, so she plays all these different roles depending on what that person needs and I thought that was interesting also.

How did the convoy come together?

They’re just the last people surviving. It’s a post apocalyptic world.

What are they trying to accomplish?


Why do you think Claire has taken on this position?

Again, I think it’s survival of the fittest. I don’t think that people choose certain roles in that situation. I think they’re almost chosen for them.

Was this role physically demanding for you?

It was some of the most extraordinary heat I’ve ever experienced in my life. It was about 128 degrees and it was just brutally hot. There’s a level of realism in the movie that we could have never accomplished if we had shot on a stage.

Did you have to take any special precautions because of the heat?

Well, no. There’s not many precautions you can take, you drink Gatorade, you have little wet rags you put around your neck, you try to eat bananas for the potassium to try to hold on to some of the water, but you just go for it.

What was it like working with Russell Mulcahy?

Russell was fantastic. He has got the enthusiasm of a boy and he had a lot of great ideas. It was great working with him.

Was it helpful having Paul Anderson on set?

Absolutely. He created it. He was the one who took it from the videogame and made it into the movies that they are. I think he’s got a great sense of what works in these kinds of movies. It was great to have the chance to bounce ideas off of him.

There are great special effects in this movie. Did that interfere with your acting at all?

It doesn’t interfere, you just have to use your imagination because you don’t know what it’s going to look like so you just imagine it and then you’re playing against nothing.

I know you mentioned it earlier, but can you tell me how this fit into the schedule for Heroes?

In the TV world you shoot a pilot and there is an amount of time before you realize it’s going to be picked up. Then there’s another couple months from when it gets picked up to when you actually start shooting the series. So I got this movie before we knew that we got picked up but you have to be sure, just in case you’re picked up, that you’re done shooting by a certain time.

Have you noticed any change in your life from Heroes being as successful as it is?

It’s just been extraordinary. I don’t go into things looking at the outcome, but it’s amazing to be a part of a project that has struck a cord in people. We’re about to embark on an Asian world tour for the show and the fact that we’re in 175 territories and it’s reached so many people, that to me has just been extraordinary.

Do you have a preference between film and television?

I hope to do it all, including theater. There are definitely plusses and minusses to all those different mediums. I like the pace of television. I don’t ever feel rushed on our show. Especially with the emotional stuff I have to do, I prefer to not have hours between for the lighting set ups. Versus film where I prefer having a beginning, middle and an end. I like being able to build an arc out for a character. I like having the time to prepare, especially if I have to learn different stunts or just different hobbies that the character would have. I like having that time for preparation. Then with theater there’s just a freshness every night, a chance of recreation on a daily basis that I really respond to.

What theater projects have you worked on?

“The Vagina Monologues,” which I absolute adored. It was a special time for me, I was in New York. I look forward to doing different things. It’s not going to work into the schedule for the next couple years but there will definitely be a time in my life where I look forward to doing it again.

You started out as a model, traveling the world at a young age. In what way did that experience prepare you for an acting career?

I don’t think it prepared me. I didn’t know I wanted to be an actor at that point. I had an opportunity to travel around the world and to experience different cultures, so for me it was an incredible opportunity. When I got into the acting world, I had deferred from NYU for the year. I was supposed to go to NYU to be a news broadcaster and I had come out to Los Angeles for a job. I ended up checking out an acting class and it was the first time I saw that you can place emotions and the experiences and the feelings that you have about life and relationships and actually put that into something.

What role do you consider your break out role?

There’s been many different ebs and flows in my career. I think that’s with anyone in any industry. If you look back on it, I think Varsity Blues was the first thing that kind of thrust me to the next place of my life. The Final Destinations were another kind of thrust and then I would say Heroes, again has kind of taken me to the next place.

Aside from Heroes, do you have any upcoming projects?

Marigold is open now and going into wide release in September. It’s a romantic comedy that I shot in India about an American actress who gets into a Bollywood musical. Then we have the second season of Heroes launching.

What was it like working with Milla?

She was amazing. She’s so gracious. She’s got a wicked sense of humor. I don’t think it’s easy for anyone to walk onto a trilogy when these people have been working together. It’s truly her trilogy so walking on you never know how people are going to react. She was so welcoming, so gracious, very spirited, fun to be around, positive and I think she’s a true entrepreneur in every sense. I have nothing but respect for her and her entire career and all the facets of it.

What do you like about the horror/thriller genre?

I like that you can have strong dynamic women. For me, that’s why I’m drawn to it.

Do you see a difference in the types of roles available to women? It seems like we’re seeing more and more of these strong woman roles.

I think it’s great, the more the better. I don’t look at it on that level of comparing it to other times within the industry. I feel lucky to play great characters and I hope there’s many more in my future.