A&E’s The Returned is a supernatural thriller about a small town where dead people don’t always stay dead. Officer Nikki Banks, played by the lovely Agnes Bruckner, is a tough cop trying to keep the peace during the town’s crisis, while also protecting her ex-girlfriend, Julie. Agnes was gracious enough to answer some questions about The Returned, Once Upon a Time, and making out with ladies.
AfterEllen.com: Thank you, first of all, for taking some time to talk—I appreciate it. And I’m really enjoying The Returned so far!
Agnes Bruckner: Of course, thanks! I’m glad you’re enjoying it.
AE: I know that the show is really closely based on a French series of the same name (Les Revenants), did you watch that at all to prepare for your role?
AB: Yeah, I did. I didn’t see it before I auditioned, but then after I got [the part of Nikki] I watched the French version. I think I watched the whole thing in, like, two days or something. I binge watched it, because it’s so good. But, yes, I watched it before we started working.
AE: I know [The Returned] is such a different take on the traditional zombie story, but I was wondering if you looked to that genre at all for inspiration?
AB: We kind of did our own thing, because it’s not really a zombie-type show for me. It’s a lot more—you have to think outside the box as to what happened or where [the returned] are coming from. So I just did my own take on it.
AE: So, Episode 6 just aired this week, and we saw Nikki and Julie starting to reconnect a little bit. Can you give us any hints as to what’s in store for them next?
AB: They definitely have a past. I think people are going to be able to see inside Nikki’s character more. She’s kind of this tough cop, you know- she’s interrogating people and she’s really hard core, but then when it comes to Julie she’s a lot more vulnerable, she’s a lot more sensitive. She cares about Julie a lot, so she’s really trying to look out for her. I think it’s important to see that shift of the tough cop who’s still doing her job, but she’s looking out for Julie, and worried about her situation.
AE: So, I actually have a theory, and I don’t know if you can confirm or deny anything—or if it’s going to come up later—but, in my head, Nikki didn’t become a cop until after Julie’s attack, like she did it because of Julie’s attack. So now she’s this tough as nails cop, but she’s got a heart of gold and she doesn’t know how to express it. Is that true at all? [Author’s note: I think I just really like describing people as having a heart of gold.]
AB: Mmmm, I mean, that’s a good idea, but no.
AE: [defeated] Ah, okay. Darn.
AE: So, anyway, speaking of Julie—Sandrine Holt was on The L Word back in the day, so, obviously, we love her at AfterEllen. What’s it like to work with her?
AB: Oh, man. You’re always, as an actor, hoping that you’re going to get an acting partner, or even just cast members in general, that you can work with well, but also have fun with off-set—and on-set! And Sandrine is one of those actresses who loves what we do, but also has a sense of humor, so we would laugh all the time. [laughs] I remember the first time—I think it was Episode 3, Episode “Victor,” when we were in the Halloween costumes, and it was the first time I had to kiss her. And I was really nervous, because you always get nervous before a kissing scene. I just remember being so nervous, because I want to be respectful when I kiss her- like sexy, but also be respectful. And I was like, “Ok, Agnes, you got this!” We did the first take and I kissed her, and it was really sweet, but Charles [our director] just comes over and he’s like—he’s English—he’s just like, [in English accent] “You know, Agnes, she’s wearing this beautiful leather suit—do you wanna touch it? I think you should touch it.” And I was thinking, “Oh my god, is he telling me to feel Sandrine up right now? It’s gonna be so uncomfortable.” So, we did the next take and I don’t even remember what I did, I completely blacked out I was so nervous, but Sandrine was such a good sport about it. She was fine, she was just like, “Yeah, you can do whatever—it’s cool.”
AE: Well, she was on The L Word, so she was probably used to it.
AB: Yeah, and you know—I did Breaking The Girls, so I’ve made out with Madeline Zima, but it’s still nerve wracking. It doesn’t matter if you’re kissing a girl, guy, whatever- I was still nervous, but she was a really good sport about it. She was like that the whole time we were working together, and we’re still good friends.