Monday, September 29, 2014

Michelle Fairley, 50, comes back to life

(Sept. 29, PDI Entertainment)
By Oliver M. Pulumbarit

“I’m a working actor—at this point in my life, I’m employed, and to me, that is a success,” said “Resurrection” actor Michelle Fairley during a recent teleconference with Asian writers.

“I’m very fortunate,” added Fairley, 50. “As women get older, they don’t always find work… I don’t take any of this for granted. I work very hard, and I respect the people I work with.”

Perhaps best known as the beleaguered widow and mother Catelyn Stark in the fantasy-drama series “Game of Thrones,” the Northern Irish thespian subsequently appeared in similarly popular shows “Suits” and “24.”

In the second season of “Resurrection,” she plays Margaret Langston, recently revived after being dead for decades.

Excerpts from Fairley’s replies to the Inquirer:

What attracted you to “Resurrection”?
 I would say the complex nature of Margaret Langston, actually. [And the conversations] I had with the writer and the producers, about how they wanted the character to progress. Also, when I was sent the DVDs, watching the production values of the show, the quality of it, and working with the actors here in Atlanta—they’re wonderful.

How do you feel about previously playing powerful women who died violently in “Game of Thrones” and “24,” and now someone who has resurrected, for a change?
(Laughs) Well, actually, it’s a lovely change! Usually, when you get killed, that’s you out of the series. So the lovely flip side to this is that, [Margaret] may have died, but she’s had a chance to come back again. And I absolutely love it… It’s the quality of the writing and the quality of the character that you, as an actor, go for. It doesn’t matter if they live, die, become reincarnated or resurrected again. You [have to] have love and an enjoyment about what you’re given to work with. She’s in a second round here, so it’s fantastic.

How do you feel about being part of mostly American-produced projects?
I feel incredibly privileged to be here working. There are so many actors in the world, why does one person get a job over another person? Nobody knows… I know there are many actors in my position who can do this part. But thankfully, I was the one who got it. And I want to make it work.

Do you have a dream role, and if you do, what is it?
I don’t have a dream role. The dream role, I think, is the one that pushes you… the one that makes you work and think… I don’t want anything to be easy, I want to work hard for what I do, and if that means walking for hours, talking to myself, trying to work my mind into the mind of what this person is doing—I want to know that, I want to get there. I want to understand it. So anything that pushes me, that keeps my interest… and teaches me something, I want to learn as well.

Who influenced you, growing up, and who are the actors you admire now?
Theater was a very big inspiration for me, growing up. That’s where I first had my first experience of going, “Oh my gosh, this is wonderful! What are these people doing?” [And] getting lost in the battlefield of it, in the story of it.
And then of course, as I got older, [there was] cinema as well. I completely loved movies like “Sophie’s Choice” and “Deer Hunter,” and there are so many wonderful old black-and-white movies… of Joan Crawford, Bette Davis. I just loved all of that! Wonderful, proper, old-fashioned storytelling, characters, strong women…
Meryl Streep is still going; if anything, she’s even stronger today than she was in the days of “Sophie’s Choice.” Jennifer Lawrence is incredible. And there are so many… actors, filmmakers, and directors [now] who are amazing.

(“Resurrection” airs Monday night and subsequent Mondays, 10 p.m., on Lifetime.)

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