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Interview with Peta Wilson
USA Network, December 2000
INTERVIEWER
Let's see, how much did you know about this incredible groundswell of fan support that's been going on to help bring back your show?

PETA WILSON
I was informed of the...what was going on. I was told about the, um, you know, I was informed by Warner Brothers...because, um, you know, I was in Australia when all of it was going on. Sort of getting on with things really, you know? And they called me and said, "Did you know that this is going on and there's, you know, X amount of, uh, hits on the Internet" and so I was informed and then I was sent a whole lot of e-mails, you know, and then, um, that's when I realized that they were not letting it go. I don't know why that is with the show. I don't know, you know. But I think it's great, I think it's great. I think they're gonna be happy with the ending that's coming, you know? Or the way that it all ends, I think they're gonna be pleased. You know, I, um, I'm, I don't know if they're ever gonna wanna let it go but, the way it ends is -- and you never know, we could come back -- you just don't know, you know?

INTERVIEWER
Were you a little surprised when they decided to bring it back for eight more?

PETA WILSON
I was really happy to do eight and I thought, well, it'll be great, you know, all the same people working together again and, you know, there's a chance of them to make more out of the ending. That's great. You know what I mean?

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
So I thought it was really good. I mean it's been a really good, um, you know, it's a really wonderful crew to work with, I really like working with everybody. So, I was really pleased.

INTERVIEWER
Back when you were shooting the last one from Season Four, "Four Light Years Farther"....

PETA WILSON
Mm-hmm.

INTERVIEWER
What was the mood on the set at that point? You guys thought you were done, and....

PETA WILSON
Well, this is....Being on the set now is like being...it's like, um, you know, it's like the last week of high school. You know?

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
And we know that, you know, that it's like, it's happy. We're really happy. You know, we're not, like, exhausted; we're not down, we're not, you know, we're just really happy to be going to the next level, you know? So it's like the last week in high school. This time last year for [Season] Four, it was really heavy, and kind of sad. And we were absolutely exhausted, all of us.

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
So, um, no, last one was really sad, 'cause we were just very tired, we were all really ready and happy for the end, you know?

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
That's where it was at, last time. And now it's like, oh, it's done but we're, we're not sad about it, we're happy and, you know, we're gonna see each other all again and it's just, it's a lot lighter. You know, I mean the ending isn't light. But, our attitudes certainly are, and I think it's got a lot to do with the fact that we're not so tired.

INTERVIEWER
How much of your own stunt work do you do and what do you think was, like, the scariest stunt you ever did?

PETA WILSON
I don't remember the scariest stunt but, I think, I do most....I do all of my fight sequences. Um, I don't -- I won't -- jump off buildings.

INTERVIEWER
Gee, I wonder why.

PETA WILSON
[LAUGHS]

INTERVIEWER
Do you prefer the hand-to-hand or do you prefer the gunfight sequences?

PETA WILSON
Um, hand-to-hand. I think hand-to-hand's good.

INTERVIEWER
What's it like fighting with Roy? Um...

PETA WILSON
What? Fighting with him?

INTERVIEWER
Well, there are several scenes where, um, I think particular[ly] in "Getting Out of Reverse" there's this wonderful scene of you and Michael sort of practicing.

PETA WILSON
Um, I'm in love with him. My character's in love with him. As much as she can love anyone, you know. She's in love, so I don't know what to say, um,[PAUSE] I'd have to say it's, um, quite playful. Sometimes it's like playing with a brother. It's like, you know, it's like playing with a brother, you know.

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm--

PETA WILSON
Playful.

INTERVIEWER
In terms of your relationship with Roy, what was it like? We know that he directed one episode this in this final eight. What was it like having him direct you?

PETA WILSON
I think he's a natural. I'd love....I think it'd be great if he kept directing. I really enjoyed it, it was very inspiring, having him direct.

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
'Cause he gets the rhythm of the show. And he's an actor. So he directs from a different point of view. Very sensitive, very good director, I really enjoyed working with him as a director. I really, really enjoyed it; I think I enjoyed working with him as a director...um, I liked being directed by him. He's good to work with as an actor, but I really loved working with him as a director. And I, I would, um, be directed by him again in a heartbeat. I think he's very good.

INTERVIEWER
Um, do you think that the chemistry between you and Roy was pretty much instant?

PETA WILSON
Well, I think we're so diff....I mean, yeah, I think that was, um, I think that was always there, because, you know, they provoke each other to a certain point, you know? I think that was always there. I think it, you know, it got better as it got on because -- of course it does, you know -- you build up a relationship, you build up a, you know. And it's their point of view. So it's really, it's really a performance, you know, between the two of us. It's totally professional, you know.

INTERVIEWER
Were there any plot twists that when you found out about it you were just shocked?

PETA WILSON
You know, they lost me, third episode, first season. You know, I was doing something else. You know what I mean. Um, plot twists, no, I don't know. No, I just went with it. There was no surprise, you know, it's like, nothing would surprise me with them, with the writers on the show. I mean you gotta understand, the character's been subjected to so much physical, emotional, psychological abuse. Do you know what I'm saying?

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
That, um, you know, it's, it's very far-fetched. You know what I mean?

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
The fact that Michel had a wife, I was, like, please. You know? And what upset me actually about that was they wouldn't let me be angry at him for it, for lying to him. Lying to me. 'Cause they thought it would be unsympathetic to Roy, to Michael's character.

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
And I said, "I just found out he's had a woman, you know?" And I wanted to have that there, I wanted to have that -- hold on one second -- Yeah, I wanted to have that intensity, because then we would've had somewhere to go with the third season.

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
You know, like if I....Of course I love him. Of course I'm gonna forgive him. But you've gotta allow me to react naturally to the fact that he's married and with a child, you know?

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
Even if, uh, you know, just for a little while, just for a few episodes, 'cause then it would've given the....II thought it would've given more tension. So that was the only thing I didn't really....That was the only plot twist that really threw me. That he had a wife and I wasn't allowed to react naturally to it.

INTERVIEWER
You had a new haircut last year. You have this new haircut this year. Um, do you like to start the season that way? Do you like to start a new project that way?

PETA WILSON
This year I cut it off short 'cause I thought, well, I'm gonna just go straight to New York and do a play, and then, potentially a new series, you know what I mean. I don't know if I would've cut it if I'd known we were really gonna come back. I would've kept it a bit longer.

INTERVIEWER
Do you feel like this role has launched female television action stars into a whole other level of power?

PETA WILSON
I don't know if Nikita's done it, I think it's just reminded people of it.

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
I think that, uh, women have always been there, women action heroes, but I don't know if, um, you know, I...don't think about her as having the most power, or any of that. I think it's great that women are doing well, you know?

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
And, uh, I think Nikita's a very realistic hero. You know? I mean it's totally out there and far-fetched but she's very, I think she's very much a modern woman. She's not a girl. You know?

INTERVIEWER
Right. Which I think is, it creates a lot of respect.

PETA WILSON
Maybe, I don't know, I'm in it, you see; it's very hard for me because I'm doing it, I don't think about it. I'm not thinking, "oh, this is a powerful character on television and she's...." You know what I mean. If I thought that, maybe the show wouldn't be so successful.

INTERVIEWER
That's probably true.

PETA WILSON
You know, I've just gotta keep my eye on the ball and do a good job and stay calm and clear and connected.

INTERVIEWER
Let's see, um, can you tell us anything about your audition?

PETA WILSON
I destroyed the office. You know? Um, I just went in there to get better at auditioning. That's [why] I went in there, and I just went in there and did a....You know, I remember, I sort of thought to myself, I would never let my children watch a character that's a drug addict cop-killer. You know, how can one respect that? Admire? How can you let your kids watch that. So it was my idea that she was a street kid. You know, I told the producers I think it's better that she's a victim of circumstance, a street kid, if you wanna do a TV series out of her.

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
So I came into my audition with that as my, um, you know, doing that. Do you know what I mean? That was my choice.

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
So that was where I came from; so I came from a different place with the character, and I just made....She's like a, she's like an angel in wolf's clothing, Nikita. And I just came in, I was very, um, I just did....Obviously I did a good job, you know, I just did the character the way I saw her and they responded; Joel responded to it and, I mean, there was a lot of, you know, there [were] a few auditions, I think the first audition, the casting director made me wait and Joel came in and took me to lunch or he saw the audition and took me to lunch. And it took me a while to come around to doing it, you know; I wasn't sure if I wanted to do TV and, I just wasn't sure, you know, it was my first sort of job and, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go, you know, and, um, it became apparent that this was a really good thing to do and I'm very happy that I did it, you know, I'm really happy. Um, but what happened,I just remember there being the one big audition with Joel and then after that they had to sell it so I went and did like six or seven other auditions for networks.

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
That was pretty full-on, you know, pretty....You don't know who you're auditioning for, you just, you're auditioning, again, you know?

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
And, uh, I remember doing a, um, .I remember doing -- what else did I do -- I remember doing it in the president of Warner Brothers' office. He was bouncing his basketball, I think. One of his basketballs and, uh....It was so long ago, huh?

INTERVIEWER
Mmm, it was.

PETA WILSON
You know, um, I remember it being cathartic. It was a very cathartic experience, you know. Yeah, it was very cathartic.

INTERVIEWER
Yeah, I sort of have wondered if, you know, all that very intense acting sort of relieves a lot of, whatever, you know, if that's an outlet.

PETA WILSON
You know, I was in...I was in a theater company at the time, I was studying very hard and, you know, I had two other auditions the same day that I went in for Nikita.

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
And Nikita was the last one of the day and it was just me auditioning like every....There's so many actors, you know? And I just went in and auditioned just like I did for the other ones and had done my homework and, you know, when I walked out the door I sort of let it go and said let's just see what happens. You know? But it was fun. I remember it being fun. I had fun, you know. I had fun--

INTERVIEWER
Have you had fun on the series?

PETA WILSON
Uh, yes, I've had a lot of fun, but I've also had a....It's been very, very grueling. This is my life. Not life on the set, this is my....This has just been my whole life. My whole life changed when I started this show; it became....There's not much room for anything outside of this show.

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
You know? It's becoming more, in the last year it's become better, um, for me, as far as like, you know, the last two years my schedule and so forth has allowed for more but, you know, this is my....This has been my family and has been my life. You know, I've...I try really hard to do other things but it's pretty...it's been pretty dominant, you know?

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
It's, uh, I've been the lead in this and that's pretty well taken up most of my time, you know, um, life on the set, it's like, uh....What is it like? Um, surreal. You know? Surreal and, uh... [PAUSE] Life on the set. Like it's so normal for me now. I mean what's gonna be interesting is life not on the set. You know?

INTERVIEWER
Are you looking forward to it?

PETA WILSON
I'm, um, I'm happy for the next....I'm happy for every.....Whatever tomorrow....Today is good, tomorrow'll be good. You know. I'm looking forward to other things, you know. Um, maybe more balance, less work, more relaxing. More of a, more of an even-keeled kind of life, not just acting. Not just a television series, you know, a family. Um, I know I have other projects that I'd like to do. It's like, it's like going to make-believe every day, you know? And, uh, I have this family that I work with; I love the crew, I really love them. And, uh, it's just like, come into the office but, coming to work with a whole lotta friends, you know.

INTERVIEWER
Were you satisfied with the way "Four Light Years Farther" went? There was quite a strong reaction to that episode. That was the last episode of Season Four.

PETA WILSON
I thought it was great. I thought it was exactly how it should go. If I had to turn....Everyone's saying the problem was that I didn't turn back and look at him.

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
If I had to turn back and look at him, he wouldn't have come. He would've, um, you know, he wouldn't have, uh...he would've come back. And that's not what I wanted to do. How could I save his life and protect him, if he came back? If I hadn't've gone back on the inside, how could I have protected Michael? You know? So if I'd looked back at him, he wouldn't have kept going. And I loved him, you know, like true love is, you love them when you're with them and you love them when you're not with them. It's still the same, even if you're not with them you love them. And I would rather him be alive out there somewhere and me know[ing] that he is... than him be dead. You know? Do you see what I'm saying?

INTERVIEWER
Yes.

PETA WILSON
I'd rather be dead with him or alive without him. Do you know what I'm saying, him be alive without me.

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
I don't know what, what, I think, that the fans....I'm not sure, I just think they weren't ready to let it go. But I thought it was exactly what needed to happen. You know, because otherwise Michael would've come back. You know, that's the thing, it's, it's totally unpredictable and I thought the ending was really good, last year; I thought it was a great way to end the show, you know.

INTERVIEWER
I think in hindsight it really was.

PETA WILSON
You know, um, the way they're ending it now is good, too. You know, it's just, maybe the fans'll have enough now, you know, but the way it's ended now they could bring me back, one day, you know, if it works, you know what I'm saying, it's... Um, I think they'll be happy with this ending. You know, they'll be happier. It's not as, um, I don't know, I really loved the other ending. You know, this is a good ending. I don't know. I think it was a great thing to happen for television, you know? I think it was, um, you know, it was on USA which was a great place for it to be. I think it was exactly right where it was, it was cool, it w as very... I think it was a very, um...it was like a cult, the show became like a cult show, and I think that, you know, in years to come, it'll still be looked at and, uh, thought of as something that happened in our time, you know. And I think that, I think the character of La Femme Nikita-- is a character that is, uh, a strong character. You know, she's a, she's an amazing female, but I think she was the ultimate anti-hero, La Femme Nikita. You know?

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm--

PETA WILSON
A modest, modest hero. And I think, um, I don't know, I think it's been amazing the support that the fans have given and how much they've liked it and, um, you know, that their love for the show wasn't in vain, you know?

INTERVIEWER
Just on the note of her being an anti-hero, what do you think of her reaction to authority figures, I mean this just continues to go....

PETA WILSON
Well, I think her....It's all about her reaction to truth. She hasn't got a problem with authority figures if they're respectful. You know, if they're coming from truth and they wanna help people, she's got no problem with authority figures. So when authority figures act in a way that's without integrity, that's what bothers Nikita.

INTERVIEWER
Do you think the character has changed?

PETA WILSON
Um, no, I think that it's all about truth for her, you know. I think she's definitely changed, of course, you know, I'm 30. I've changed, you know, the character's definitely changed, she's not a little girl or she's not a girl anymore; I don't think she ever was really a little girl. But, she's not a girl, you know, she's a woman.

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

PETA WILSON
A very strong, independent, vulnerable, you know, powerful woman. And I think she'd be, she'd be a great mother one day. You know what, I think, uh, maybe the fans are attracted to a lot of the character, the world and what it is and, um, so forth but, you know what's interesting to Niki -- about Nikita?

INTERVIEWER
What?

PETA WILSON
Nikita's attracted to a normal reality. She would love to just have a normal life. And I'm gonna -- you know what? -- I'm gonna miss the fans for this show. I'm sure I'll....Hopefully I'll see them again with the next thing. I'm gonna miss all the cast and the crew. But, the good news is I have my memories, and they'll be there forever, and I've got 95 hours to reflect upon, you know?

INTERVIEWER
That's wonderful--

PETA WILSON
And it's been a wonderful experience and, I wouldn't change a thing.