SCIFI.radio correspondent Gareth von Kallenbach recently spoke with Ashley Romans about her career and work on the hit show NOS4A2 playing Detective Tabitha Hutter.
Set in blue-collar New England, NOS4A2 follows the coming of age of Vic McQueen (Ashleigh Cummings) who discovers she has the power to find lost things. Her gift sets her on a collision course with Charlie Manx (Zachary Quinto), a supernatural villain who abducts children in his mysterious Rolls Royce Wraith.
How did you get into acting? Why did you want to pursue it?
I would say my career started when I trained at University for theater arts. To me, acting is a great opportunity to be seen and disappear at the same time. On one hand I want people to see parts of me at my most vulnerable and intimate that I would never have the courage to let them see in real life. And on the other hand I want people to not see me but see themselves in me. Some of the greatest performances I ever saw triggered various thoughts such as “Oh my gosh that person is so me and I love it!” or “That person is so me and I can barely stand to look at it.” and even “That is so not me and I sure wish it was.” I also love the team aspect of creativity. Especially when I was in high school and university, work in theater productions was my main social outlet and set life is more of the same. Now being in TV production, to see the finished product and be able to share it on such a large scale is incredibly gratifying.
What do you look for when you consider a part?
One question I ask myself in considering a role is “why is this story, or this moment important and worth telling? What part of myself can I learn about or expand on through committing to this character?” And there is always something. Always. Especially if the writing is good. There is always a bigger lesson about the human condition hidden in even the most seemingly mundane stories.
How did you prepare for the role?
Detective Tabitha Hutter is an especially interesting character because she’s a bit of an anomaly among her occupation and colleagues because being a detective for her isn’t just an occupation but a calling. Her commitment to greater good goes above and beyond the average officer of the law. First season we see she is willing and able to make a leap of faith in the world of thought that many of her colleagues would not have been able to do. So in preparation I spent a lot of time journaling, making memories and creating backstory informing myself as to why Hutter is so uncommonly motivated in the pursuit of the greater good. One motivation I can always personalize in my own life is the need to make amends. The feeling and pressure to make right perceived past wrongs can drive anyone to act far beyond expectations.
What can you tell us about your character in Season 2 and how she has evolved from Season 1?
Well as we saw in Season 2 episode 1, 8 years after season 1, Hutter has graduated as an FBI agent which is a very exclusive echelon of law enforcement. She’s in a loving relationship with her partner Maggie and Hutter is more loving and trusting than ever. However, with the return of Charlie Manx, Tabitha is realizing the actual limits of the bureaucracy she is part of and she is forced to trust the world of thought even more.
Will we learn more about her backstory?
Watch and find out ?
How did the jump ahead in time change your approach to the character?
My approach did not change all too much because she is still the same person just with more time and experience. With experience and time, especially a near decade, comes a quiet centering. Tabitha is more sure about herself and knows what she wants out of life which is awesome. I think now she has more to lose, such as her career, her relationship with Maggie, her self worth.
What would you say is the biggest differences in the show this season compared to season one?
Christmasland for sure. We see more of Christmasland this season, which is certainly more or less its own character and the demon kids run that spot.
What was working with the cast like? Do you have any special moments from filming you can share?
Without exceptions I can say we have an amazing cast and crew. Across the board. I’ve worked on a couple of productions where there were at least 1 or 2 exceptions but nope not this time! Zach, Ashleigh, Jahkara, Darri, Jonathan, Virginia, Ebon, Mattea and Jason are all as talented as they are kind and that is a rarity in this business. One special night, a few cast members, crew, and stunt people drove 3 hours to Long Island and we saw Elton John in concert and we all crashed for the night in a hotel room. Pretty special stuff.
What do you like to do in your free time and how are you handling the confinement?
I love journaling, drawing, listening to podcasts and watching great movies and films. At first confinement was difficult because it was such a drastic and quick change in routine but I am grateful for the time I have to take personal inventory. These days I’m also attending BLM protests across Los Angeles.
What else do you have coming that we should look forward to?
Projects, goals, classes and scripts but at the moment I’m most excited to welcome my new nephew into the world any day now.
Gareth is the mastermind behind the popular pop media site Skewed and Reviewed. He lives in Arizona with his wife Em McBride.