My favorite Gina Torres role was on Alias. As Sydney’s nemesis, Anna Espinosa, Torres wasn’t on many episodes, but the kick-ass fights between Anna and Syd definitely were worth remembering.
Now before you Firefly fans stir up the fire to flame me, let me quickly add this: Zoë Washburne had more balls than any of the men with whom she served on Serenity. And Zoë certainly was one of Torres’ favorite roles.
But even though she seems to pop up everywhere — and always makes an impression — she hasn’t found a real home since Serenity took its final cruise. At least not until Huge. But the success of the ABC Family dramedy means that Torres may be able to dig in to the role in a way she hasn’t had a chance to do since she played Zoë.
The New York Post’s “Pop Wrap” talked to Torres about playing Dr. Dorothy Rand, leader of Camp Victory, and she shared her thoughts about Huge and some of her other roles.
On returning to weekly television:
I’m always looking to get on a show that actually has a life. I’m developing a twitch from being on all these fabulous critically acclaimed shows that never see the light of day.
I was struck by how smart Huge was. How funny it was without being precious, which was refreshing.
On the character of Dr. Rand:
The creators said "we have plans for her — she’s ultimately the voice of the show." As she’s evolved, they’ve stayed true to their word.
I just love that she’s a flesh and bone realization of: if you don’t handle your stuff early, it won’t go away. And it’s not just about losing the weight, it’s about what’s going on inside.
On her relationship with Will (Nikki Blonsky):
Rand and Will mirror one another in a very interesting way. Because Rand can be quite pissy too. [Laughs] I suspect that as much as Rand is the director and in charge, she has a tremendous amount of respect for Will’s ability to be loud in the face of everyone telling you "You’re wrong."
On getting the acting bug:
I knew I could sing and then I got a chance to be in a school play, that’s when I got bitten. "Applause? Ooh, how can I get me some of that all the time?" [Laughs]
On lessons learned from the Firefly/Serenity saga:
It just really teaches you to value and enjoy the work when it comes your way and to be in the moment. You can’t rely on the fickle nature of the industry or the audience. So I always try to just enjoy what I’m doing and go balls to the walls — commit fully and love the people I’m with.
On where Zoë is, now that Wash has died:
I will tell you my fantasy: Zoë was pregnant when all that went down [her husband died] and she’s got this little beige, curly red headed baby running around the ship. Jayne’s trying to teach him about Vera [Laughs] and he and I fight because I think the kid should learn about guns from me. Kaylie & Simon are very happy. It’s a better-verse. And Mal, well, Mal’s still just a little twisted. His communication skills have not improved. But he’s a good uncle Mal and I just think we’re all still flying. I’m by his side. That’s Zoë.
On whether all actors create fan fiction like that for their characters:
We absolutely do. When you live for a while in someone else’s skin — which is the gift of television — there’s quite a mourning process [after a show ends]. I’ve often thought that if [Firefly had] gone another season, or two, we were so human and so beautifully flawed that all of these things were possible.
How could we not love a woman who writes fan fiction for herself? Check out the rest of the interview and let’s keep our fingers crossed that Huge is the kind of, well, huge hit that will give Gina Torres a chance to shine.
What’s your favorite Gina Torres role? Are you watching and loving Huge?