Friday, April 24, 2015

Zuleikha Robinson: It's "Refreshing" to Be on The Following

Zuleikha Robinson, courtesy Fox
If you’ve been following “The Following,” then you know it is an intense, roller-coaster ride of serial-killer madness — and it’s one of the most addictive shows on television. Starring Kevin Bacon, James Purefoy and Zuleikha Robinson, “The Following” is now airing its third crazy season on Monday nights at 9/8c on Fox. I spoke with Zuleikha recently, and she shared with me some insider secrets and fun facts about working on the series.

Celebrity Extra: When you first knew you were going to play Gwen, were you a little intimidated, knowing what an intense and gory show it can be, or were you excited to take on the project?

Zuleikha Robinson: I can’t say I’m a huge fan of anything gory, in general, but this is a really great show. I was drawn to it by the actors in particular. They’re just brilliant, and they work so well together. It is really well cast. When I watched the previous seasons to prepare for the role, I got so caught up in all the performances.

So, I was actually really excited to get to work. I worked with James Purefoy on “Rome,” and of course Kevin Bacon is incredible — very well-respected actor, deservedly so. I was really looking forward to getting into it. And also, it’s probably the first time that I’ve ever played a role where I haven’t had some sort of bad streak — unless, of course, something changes.

CE: Yeah, no offense, but I just don’t trust Gwen. I’ve learned not to trust anyone on that show after season one, when we found out Joe Carroll’s crazy cult members had infiltrated the FBI.

ZR: Of course — I totally understand. Kevin’s character, Ryan Hardy, feels that way pretty much all the time. It’s so hard to trust anyone. I’m sure it’s very hard for him to bring women into his inner circle for that reason. Not only because they could possibly turn out to be planted, but also just because of what he goes through from all the threats of death to his loved ones and losing people. It’s really hard for him.

CE: And that has to have an effect on Ryan and Gwen’s relationship.

ZR: It’s a real challenge for him. He never really allows himself to fully be there in a safe and loving way. There’s always been so much turmoil around everything he’s had to deal with. It’s clearly hard for him to open up, but he does his best. That is certainly where we tend to butt heads the most.

CE: What’s it like working with Kevin?

ZR: It’s really lovely. I met him before I started working. We had a lunch to just talk about stuff. It was really nice that he reached out. And we’ve had this wonderful progression to our relationship. It’s really lovely working off him. I’m enjoying it. He’s a very generous actor and extremely present and wonderful to work with. It’s been a real joy.

CE: Now that the show is well into its third season, you can tell that the actors have really developed a chemistry and camaraderie. What’s it like working on that set?

ZR: It’s one of my favorite sets I’ve ever worked on. Everything is pretty seamless on the show. Everyone gets on really well. It’s comfortable — it’s a very nice, comfortable energy. It can be challenging when you’re always going off to some other city or town to work on something. Well, most of the time, it’s great. But there have been a couple of instances when things haven’t worked so well. So, it’s always refreshing to come onto a show like “The Following,” where everything just kind of melds together in a beautiful way. The cast and crew are the best group of people I’ve worked with.

CE: Can you give me any clue as to what viewers can expect as the season progresses?

ZR: There’s not really much I can say at all. The difference between, I think, last season and this season is that family and relationships are a lot more front and center. That goes for both the heroes and the villains of the show. It’s nice to be able to learn more about people’s personal lives. So, we will definitely be seeing more of that this season.

CE: And I love that we are seeing more of Joe Carroll as well.

ZR: I think people really love James’ character. My mother, she’s never really excited about TV, but when I told her I was going to be on the show, she was like, “Oh my God, I love that show.” She just loves James’ character. He definitely has a huge following.

CE: Can you tell me what you know about Gwen’s future? As you know, many of Ryan’s love interests don’t make it a full season.

ZR: I can tell you that I’m in the full season, so far. We’re almost done filming, and so far I’ve pretty much worked the whole season.

CE: But Gwen could still die — we just don’t know with this show!

ZR: That’s true. I could be gone.

CE: With so much killing and gore on the show, how do you keep the mood light? Is there a prankster on the set?

ZR: There’s one instance I can think of, but I don’t know. I don’t want to embarrass anyone, so I probably shouldn’t say exactly what happened, but it was pretty funny.

CE: It’s good to know that you guys can keep your sense of humor amid all the carnage.

ZR: Oh, yes; it does tend to be very light in between takes, before all the killing starts happening. It definitely breaks up all the tears and the screaming.

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