Brazilian actress Morena Baccarin (Serenity, Firefly) called me up last night to give me the juicy details on her new ABC show, V, a reimagining of the 1983 miniseries by Kenneth Johnson, premiering Nov. 3 at 8 p.m. Like the original, V is about aliens (known as “The Visitors”) who try to gain control of planet Earth. Morena, 30, plays Anna, the leader of the V's. The actress spoke with Vivo Por Tivo about her Brazilian background, what it's like playing an alien seeking world domination, and explains why Anna may not be as evil as everyone is making her out to be. Plus, she dishes on her short new haircut, and tells us why her character can relate to Barack Obama.
Are you 100% percent Brazilian?
Yes I am. As much as anybody can be 100 percent anything these days. [Laughs]
Were you born and raised in Brazil?
I was born in Rio, and I lived there for the first seven years of my life. Then I moved to N.Y.
Your mother, Vera Setta, is a famous Brazilian actress in her own right. What was it like growing up in an artistic family?
It was something that I thought was normal, but I guess turned out not to be. I always expected that I would be a doctor or a lawyer, but I guess I had “the calling.” My mom was incredibly supportive when she found out that I wanted to be an actress and that certainly made things easier and more fun.
We’re so excited for the premiere of V next week. What’s it like playing Anna, the leader of the Visitors?
It’s a really fun part to play! She’s definitely not what she seems. And I would shy away from calling her bad or evil, because she does walk a fine line between good and evil. And it is a very interesting multi-faceted character. There’s some really cool stuff coming up on the series, relationships that she forms with people, and some cool gadget-y type things that the V’s use that will be really fun to look out for and stuff like that.
It seems to me that Anna's actions are influenced by her desire to help out her own kind.
Exactly. I mean, depends who you ask. But I think some people might think she’s really great!
I know that your character and Scott Wolf’s character (Chad Decker) are enemies on the show (at least in the pilot, it seems). But is there any shot they could become a couple?
Well, there’s always a chance. We’ll see what happens. Our relationship definitely changes a little bit and there’s a little power shift back and forth. They are interested in each other in many ways—politically, because of his career obviously. There’s a lot of room there to play, so hopefully something interesting will happen.
If Anna wants to deceive humans, why does she choose Chad Decker as the journalist who will interview her? He's a tough journalist. Wouldn't she pick someone she could walk all over?
At the point in which I choose him he does make it easier for me. He kind of defends me a little bit in front of some people. So I think that I can manipulate him, and as our relationship progresses you start to see that there’s a little bit more to him than that.
What planet are the “V's” from?
I don’t know what it’s called, actually. We haven’t really gone into that, I don’t even know that.
Are the “V's” smarter than humans?
I’m going to get in trouble for saying yes. I think not necessarily smarter, but they do consider themselves more advanced because they have more advanced technologies and their medicine is more advanced. And they do believe they’re supreme and they’ve conquered emotions a little more than humans have. So maybe. Yes.
What age group do you feel will enjoy this show the most?
I would certainly watch it. It’s a really fun, fun show with elements of suspense and action and relationship stuff. So I would say it’s for everybody, but my peers probably would enjoy it the most.
Some die-hard fans of the original miniseries are making a big to-do about your haircut. They either love it or hate it. Do you like it?
I feel that it’s a haircut. And I’m enjoying it right now. I’ve had long hair, I’ve had short hair, and I’ve had in between hair…and its all good.
In a recent interview, you said that terrorism and health care are themes of this new updated version of V. If the show was made in Brazil, what do you think the themes/issues of the show would be? How would they be different from this American show?
Oh wow! Brazil has a lot of issues that are similar to a lot of countries in Latin America, but the dominant issue Brazil is dealing with is poverty and political corruption. And I imagine that those would be big themes.
As you know, ABC has announced that they will be airing V in pod form. That is, airing 4 episodes in November, and then benching the show until March when it will return with a new episode. Are you excited about the decision to air the show as a television event?
I’m very excited. I think It’s a good opportunity to have a television event! How often do you see those? It’ll be fun—it will hype the show up and get people excited to see the rest of the episodes.
What politician, living or dead, would you compare to your character, Ana?
Oh God, that is definitely going to get me in trouble. To be honest, I just sort of modeled her after a politician, period. Like, not a specific person, but just, having grown up watching political debates and having been part of this last election that a lot of people were involved in, I sort of made her out to be somebody that people would trust and would want to come in and change everything. So you can say Obama in the sense that he’s trying to change things to better humanity. Now, I’m definitely not comparing Anna to Obama, or calling Obama an alien in any way. [Laughs.]