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Interview with Alberta Watson
USA Network, December 2000
INTERVIEWER
What was your awareness and involvement with all this fan support that was so incredible to help bring the show back?

ALBERTA WATSON
Uh, I'm trying to remember....Well, I, I mean, we'd heard, certainly on the, um, on the  board, that's where I heard a lot of the fans, you know, were rallying to do this and I'd heard that, you know, they were sending money, they were writing letters, a lot of....They were doing a lot of different things, um, and I didn't...I had no idea it was gonna, you know, make a difference or mean anything.

INTERVIEWER
Um, the chemistry between you and Eugene and....

ALBERTA WATSON
Uh-huh.

INTERVIEWER
....and you and Peta, I mean was...do you feel like that was something that was instant or did that get more intense over time?

ALBERTA WATSON
Oh, I think the chemistry was just, uh, automatically there. Gene and I, course spent most of our time...most of my scenes were with Gene and we basically laughed for three years.

INTERVIEWER
This is what everybody says -- everybody says that, uh, for such a serious show y'all were a bunch of practical jokers. Any good stories to share?

ALBERTA WATSON
Uh, just, mmm... Oh, God. Gene and I were just....We'd pretty much laugh at anything. I think Eugene and I got sort of yelled at once. Just 'cause we were laughing so hard. But we pretty much saved most of our takes, even through our laughing, or when we were working together. We couldn't look at each other after...like the last couple years. When the camera was on Gene, I wouldn't....I'd either have my eyes closed or I'd be looking away. And the same with him when the camera was on me, we could not look at each other 'cause we would just start cracking up, and once we started, we couldn't stop. It was, you know, the kind where, where tears are just falling down your face.

INTERVIEWER
What was so funny? Was it just spending too much time together?

ALBERTA WATSON
Um, probably the lack of oxygen in the studio. [LAUGHS]

INTERVIEWER
Okay....

ALBERTA WATSON
You know, getting to be really comfortable with one another. Um... [PAUSE] Really respecting and liking each other and Gene and I really like each other, it was just...it was so easy to be together. And when you're working and you're putting in those kind of hours, rather than getting impatient and bored because you're waiting around a lot, you try and fill in that time and with Gene and I it happened to be laughter.

INTERVIEWER
There were things about Madeline's life....Were you ever surprised to learn these things yourself?

ALBERTA WATSON
Um, I guess I was, yeah. I would have liked to have...I liked a lot of the mystery around her as well; I liked the fact that you never really...you never knew where she lived, how she lived. What she did in her spare time, if she had any spare time. Um, so having, you know, been given personal information from the writers was always kind of fun. It certainly made, I think, for the audience, made her more human.

INTERVIEWER
Yeah, there were some things that were said in the last couple of episodes of Season Two. Uh, Adrienne accuses Madeline of sleeping with every male operative in sight....

ALBERTA WATSON
[LAUGHS] That's right. Molding and shaping them as it were.

INTERVIEWER
[LAUGHS] Was that true, do you think? Or was it just a mean thing she said?

ALBERTA WATSON
Um, I, you know what? Tthat's just gonna be me guessing -- I would like to think it was true. But that was....I mean, it was never, uh, it was never, in any of the episodes, it was never verbally said, but I would like to think it was true. [LAUGHS]

INTERVIEWER
And in "Adiran's Garden" also, that last couple of episodes of Season Two, um, I think it's Walter who says that Adrian's the only person Madeline was ever afraid of. Do you think that's true, or is there someone else on the set that she was also afraid of -- any fear of Operations or anybody else, really.

ALBERTA WATSON
Um, I never quite put it that way. I always sort of saw Madeline as everything was black and white. And how she lived was to do her job as best she could. She had...boundaries on what was, um, good or not good for Section were very clear to her.

INTERVIEWER
You just seemed....Madeline seemed to almost take some pleasure....I just remember seeing her shoot some guy in the leg who was strapped into a chair, like he couldn't do anything. Do you think that, um, she took any pleasure in that kind of pain?

ALBERTA WATSON
You know, that's never something that ever, ever went through my head as an actor when I was playing. I never thought, Oh, this would be a thrill for Madeline or this would be, you know, she would get any pleasure out of this; I never, ever saw that or thought that, I always truly just saw Madeline doing whatever she felt she had to do to get the result she needed or the information she needed.

INTERVIEWER
Would you call that cold?

ALBERTA WATSON
Um, some would. [LAUGHS] I don't think Madeline, in particular, had an objectivity to say, "I have to remove myself from this." I think she had long ago removed herself. Or maybe was even born that way.

INTERVIEWER
Do you think Madeline loved Operations? Or was it just convenient?

ALBERTA WATSON
I think in the....I think she loved him, but I think, uh, if it came to what would come first, Section or him, Section would. I was...that's how I always played it. I mean, Section was always first.

INTERVIEWER
Were you surprised when you found out about Mick Schtoppel being Mister Jones?

ALBERTA WATSON
Oh, yeah. Made me laugh.

INTERVIEWER
Any other little plot twists that made you laugh or made you say, "Oh, my God"?

ALBERTA WATSON
Um... I think Birkoff coming back as his twin brother from New Orleans had me chuckling.

INTERVIEWER
Did that -- the addition of Jason, the killing off of Birkoff, the addition of Quinn -- how did that affect the show, do you think?

ALBERTA WATSON
I don't know but I just remember it being, um...it was great to have some new blood around and a breath of fresh air; having, you know, adding a new cast was just great.

INTERVIEWER
Were you surprised when they decided to kill off the Birkoff character?

ALBERTA WATSON
Nothing on that show surprised me in terms of the writing.

INTERVIEWER
Do you think that role changed over the course of four years?

ALBERTA WATSON
Yeah, I did. Well, I'm not even quite sure when it happened but, um, Operations and Madeline sort of became the...along with Michael and, um, Nikita -- we'd become these, like, enemies, these... It's like we were on the opposite team sometimes. And we were always trying to keep them apart and we were all of a sudden frightful of what they would do or concerned of them. Doing what, I'm not sure -- maybe taking over. And so there became this untrusting relationship between Madeline and Nikita.

INTERVIEWER
When do you think that that sort of sprung up?

ALBERTA WATSON
I'm trying to remember. Maybe.....I think maybe it was in maybe [the] third year.

INTERVIEWER
Were you surprised by Madeline's fate in "Four Light Years Farther" -- in the last episode of Season Four?

ALBERTA WATSON
They called me and asked me; they said, "Would you mind if we...." I said "No."

INTERVIEWER
What was it like to watch then, when they played it back and the show was finished? I mean, did you see that scene?

ALBERTA WATSON
I did and I thought...I kind of was, um, I was happy with it; it wasn't over the top or dramatic, uh, which I think Madeline would like to have gone out sort of quietly.

INTERVIEWER
What was it like coming back for the one episode?

ALBERTA WATSON
I had a ball. It was great seeing a lot of the same crew return.

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

ALBERTA WATSON
So that was pretty terrific seeing everybody. I have to say the crew was exceptional. The entire four years I was there they worked their buns off, and were highly personal and very sensitive and, and just a wonderful group of people. So that was really, really nice that I, I got to go back and see a lot of the same crew. Um, Jamie Paul Rock is, bar none, a wonderful producer. And a really, really nice man, and a lot of fun. And I was on a green screen, so it was just Gene and I. And of course we just laughed for 14 hours.

INTERVIEWER
[LAUGHS] I see.

ALBERTA WATSON
That was about it.

INTERVIEWER
Was there any scene that was just impossible to shoot because you guys were cracking up?

ALBERTA WATSON
I think there might've been one time when we were just laughing so hard, you know, it's like we had to do lots of retouches 'cause the makeup was just sort of coming off, we were laughing so hard.

INTERVIEWER
What was the mood on the set when you were shooting what you thought was gonna be the last episode last year?

ALBERTA WATSON
It was good. Well, remember, I mean it was the end of four years, people were tired. A lot of people were ready to expand and, you know, try different things and go in other areas and have that creative part of their lives filled elsewhere. But I remember people being, you know, quite, quite okay about it.

INTERVIEWER
How many times do you think that there's been a call for Nikita's cancellation, if you had to put a number on it?

ALBERTA WATSON
[LAUGHS] Since the beginning?

INTERVIEWER
Since the beginning.

ALBERTA WATSON
Oh, my God. [PAUSE] Oh, I don't know, ten, fifteen. It seems to me. It seemed for a while there, that every show, I think we were supposed to cancel her.

INTERVIEWER
When I saw "Four Light Years Farther" and I thought the show had been cancelled at that point, I finished watching the show....

ALBERTA WATSON
Mm-hmm.

INTERVIEWER
....and I came storming out of my office and went into the office of the person sitting next to me and said, "I can't believe they did that." Did you....how did you respond to that? I mean, it was a very shocking episode all around.

ALBERTA WATSON
I mean I certainly didn't mind dying. Um [PAUSE] I....You know what, though, the show was called La Femme Nikita. So I'm assuming she's going to have to be the heroine. And as far as the fans are concerned, you can....You have different, you know, you have all different kinds of fans for the different performers or the different characters. You know, one group of fans, I'm sure, were thrilled that Madeline died, and another group of fans that were mortified. I'm sure there was....ou know what I'm saying?

INTERVIEWER
Mm-hmm.

ALBERTA WATSON
So I'm sure there were fans that were just completely horrified that Gene basically had to stay put. Or that Operations has to stay put and that Nikita sort of gets to make the judgment calls. Um, I found that -- excuse me -- a little bit of a stretch, in that, you know, all of a sudden Nikita has all this power. But, again, you know, I mean, there [were] a lot of strange situations and abilities that had been thrown at us over the course of four years so it was just another one.

INTERVIEWER
Did you ever have trouble remembering any of those technical....

ALBERTA WATSON
Oh, are you kidding,? Absolutely. [LAUGHS] I'd have to....That's probably one of the funniest things, that I'd have to pin my lines to either Gene or he'd have to hold them for me. And we'd do that for each other because, yeah, a lotta that technical stuff, it's like learning a foreign language. Gene, I thought, did a really great job, especially when he had those briefing scenes. I don't know how he did it. But, oh, yeah, I have, I have a... .If it's technical, I have a really lousy memory so yeah, I'd be writing my scenes down, on every nook and corner and prop, wherever I could put 'em, I would. And the, you know, and the guys on set were always great 'cause it's like, if I had a computer in front of me they'd tape 'em up on the computer for me. They're all very helpful. You know what? The whole thing was funny. [LAUGHS] Gene and I just laughed all the time. And, uh, thank God for Gene. He really, uh, he kept me afloat a lot of times, you know, when it got...if the material was too frustrating or it was a long, long day, um, Gene would keep me going, keep me laughing. And again the crew, the crew was amazing.

INTERVIEWER
Was Gene like your best friend on the set?

ALBERTA WATSON
Um, oh, as far as the actor, yeah, definitely, I mean I got close to hair and makeup people. Uh, all the crew, you know, the crew were great. But, as my acting buddy, I mean, yeah, Gene and I were pretty much paired up, and, and he was....He became my buddy.

INTERVIEWER
I mean if there's anything else you wanna tell the fans, you know....

ALBERTA WATSON
Thank you. Really just....it's been overwhelming. They're...what they've been willing to do, and how much they've put out, in terms of time and effort and money. Um, I just wanna say a big fat thank-you. and again, like with the fans, just...uh, I can't say strongly enough, they were pretty amazing. Pretty, pretty amazing, and I loved, um, what Kathy Atkinson and the board has put together for me, and I love going on the board and talking to the fans 'cause...they make my day.