Aisha Hinds on playing half of a lesbian couple on “Under the Dome”


If you haven’t been watching Under the Dome, there’s still time for you to catch up. The CBS show, adapted from a Stephen King novel of the same name, follows the people of Chester’s Mill as some are trapped under a mysterious dome and unable to communicate with the outside world, including family members and friends they were separated from without warning. The series, which was just picked up for a second season, has an interesting cast of characters including a lesbian couple and their teenage daughter. Alice (Samantha Mathis) and Carolyn (Aisha Hinds) were driving through Chester’s Mill while on their way from Los Angeles to take their daughter Norrie (Mackenzie Lintz) to reform school. Although the character of Norrie was in the book, she did not have lesbian moms, so those parts were created specifically for the series.

Under The Dome

We’re only six episodes in since the show premiered this summer, but we’ve seen that Alice and Carolyn’s relationship is strained by Norrie’s rebellious nature, but they want to help her however they can. When the dome comes down, things get more stressful as Norrie begins to have seizures and Alice is revealed to have diabetes with limited access to insulin. However she is able to help out in the hospital during a deadly flu epidemic which has both she and her wife jumping into action to help everyone in need.

We grabbed Aisha Hinds at a TCA party where she told us she loves to see tweets from AfterEllen reader about the show and answered our questions about playing the role of Carolyn. What did you know about the character when you first got the script?

Aisha Hinds: I didn’t know about the casting of the characters. I did know it was going to be an interracial couple. I didn’t know who was going to play the daughter. I didn’t know much about the background of the characters. Once we got there and we learned about sort of their upbringing and their daughter’s issues, I was like “Wow this is really incredible material.” Once I saw who was playing my wife and and who was playing my daughter, we just sat down in the room for a moment and took each other in. Like “this is going to be amazing.” Because just looking at us without us even saying a word is a statement unto itself. So I just thought that that was really wonderful creating of characters and then casting of characters because it was such a strong statement about accepting family and accepting love no matter what the package it comes in and so I loved being a part of voicing that message. I’m just happy to continue that.

Under the Dome

AE: It’s great because it’s not something you see on network television a lot. And it wasn’t even in the original book!

AH: It’s not a heavy-handed message, it’s just there. It’s an extension of the kind of work that Stephen King does. Even though on the surface there’s a lot of gore and and a lot of spectacle and blood and guts, but there’s also a lot of strong social commentary that he’s making in everything, and so I think that sort of fell in line with it. It’s just brilliant to me. have the best time, me and Samantha, she’s wonderful. I love Mackenzie Lintz, who plays our daughter.

AE: The show is so heavy most of the time. Do you have any humorous moments? How do you decompress?

AH: In between takes we do, and so much that they’re like “Bring it in! Bring it in.” It becomes—it almost becomes comical how intense it becomes. There were times when we have to be looking at the dome or looking at something and its really really intense and we’re naming the dome, we’re dressing the dome—it is pretty intense. That’s the nature of the situation, too! If you’re put in a situation you have no control over, you kind of have to figure it out.

AE: We were just introduced to Norrie’s biological father. Will that storyline come up again?

AH: It didn’t for the rest of the season, this season. I imagine it’s something we’re going to have to revisit, obviously, since we introduced it. Even when that came up I was, that was a surprise for me. Samantha and I got together and we’re like “How do you think we created this? Did we have a surrogate? Did we adopt?” So we came up with a story about her and then they introduce this dad and I’m like—I was almost offended. Why did you have to bring this heterosexual to the situation!? So that came about and I was like “Alright!” So we’ll definitely have to revisit which I think is again another opportunity to bring some kind of discussion or to illuminate that topic and that whole situation because at the end of the day, ultimately, she does have a biological father but her mothers raised her so they are her parents. Period.

Under the Dome

AE: The family has had some negative things said about them by people in the town. Will that continue or is it going to fall away because you’re all in the same situation?

AH: When you find yourself in a situation that levels everybody on the same playing field, all of those prejudices fall away, which is probably what the world should be doing. Sometimes you have to have these situations that are bigger than Earth itself. We have all these natural disasters, and sometimes what these things do is it stops everybody and we’re able to hear that we have the same heartbeat, we all are human. It does—everybody’s leveled off and so it doesn’t become of a commentary anymore.

 AE: We saw that Alice was able to help in the hospital a few episodes back. Will we find out more about Carolyn in a future episode?

AH: There is an episode where you get that I come from a background of law and we’ve already gotten that Samantha comes from a background of medicine. It’s not as literal for the rest of the season, but it will come out even more.

AE: What about the physicality of your relationship? Will we see any romance?

AH: There are some tender moments coming. We deeply love each other.

AE: I have to say that as a fan of shows that are about dire world circumstances like The Walking Dead, most of them don’t have LGBT characters, so I’m so happy Under the Dome has your relationship. 

AH:  I love that they’re competent and you can see that they’re competent. They’re not like stereotypical idea of what lesbians are. They’re two women they love each other. It’s just a matter of fact almost.

CW, CBS And Showtime 2013 Summer TCA Party - Arrivals

AE: And it was announced that the show has been renewed. Are you in Season 2?

AH: I am!

AE: I’m so glad to hear you survive!

Under the Dome airs Monday nights on CBS.

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