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Sophia Myles Moves To America Television For Moonlight

11 November 2007   |   Written by Christina Radish

One night, years ago, a single act of kindness changed Mick St. John (Alex O’Loughlin), when he saved a young girl’s life, making him want to be a better vampire. Now, their paths cross again, as Mick develops a distinctive bond with Beth Turner (Sophia Myles), who has grown into a beautiful, ambitious Internet investigative reporter. Reconnecting with her unleashes feelings Mick knows he can’t pursue, as he struggles not to become the monster that he already believes he is.

British actress Sophia Myles, the romantic lead on the CBS drama Moonlight, talks to MediaBlvd Magazine about making the move to Los Angeles to work on American television.

MediaBlvd Magazine> What were the events leading up to you getting this role?
Sophia Myles>
I got a letter from the producers, asking me to come join them on the amazing adventure to make this series. It was like finding a golden ticket in a Wonka Bar. I couldn’t believe it. And, I’m in a haze that Warner Bros. is my office now. I keep pinching myself. I can’t get my head around it.

MediaBlvd> Is it weird to take over a character that had already been filmed by someone else for the pilot?
Sophia>
It was a strange thing. I didn’t realize that Hollywood worked that way, and that sometimes it could be so brutal. Obviously, none of us set out to take anyone’s jobs from them, at all. I had no idea. I didn’t audition for the role.

MediaBlvd> Had they seen you in a particular role?
Sophia>
I think they might have. I don’t know. I’m too scared to ask, really. I’m just very grateful I’m on the show, and I leave it at that.

MediaBlvd> Did they do rewrites for the character, after you were cast?
Sophia>
Yeah, they did a lot of rewrites.

MediaBlvd> What made you want to take a full-time role on an American TV show?
Sophia>
Various different reasons. First of all, the film industry in England is really non-existent now. Our government is putting no money into the industry back home, so we’re not generating anything out of the U.K. I did a film before Christmas, called Outlander, with Jim Caviezel and John Hurt, which is a science fiction/period drama, set in 709 A.D. It takes place in Viking times in Norway and, on about page four of the script, this alien ship crash lands onto planet Earth with Jim Caviezel on board, along with this terrifying creature called a Moorwen. It’s an epic adventure, where we go on this quest to kill the beast. So, I did that, and then I went back to London and sat around for six months and started to get twitchy. I needed a job and the bills were coming through every month. And then, this came up. For quite awhile, I’d said no to American TV, just because I didn’t want to be away from England. My family, my friends and my life is there. But, as an actor, you have to go where the work is. And, a lot of the time, nowadays, American television is almost of a higher quality than a lot of the movies that are out there. Back about 10 years ago, it was like, “Oh, you’re doing TV? What happened?” Whereas, now it’s enormously credible. As an actor, we’re self-employed. We’re always worried about where the next job is coming from. However daunting it was to sign up for something that could potentially go on for X amount of years, just knowing that I had a stable income, and a bit of stability in my life, was massively appealing because I haven’t had that for awhile. And, also, it was a straight offer to come work on the Warner Bros. Lot in Hollywood. I would have been an idiot to say no. Even though the idea of doing it kind of scared me, and I knew it would be a massive life upheaval, I knew that if I said no, I would feel miserable, sitting at home in my apartment in London, waiting for some dream movie to come my way.

MediaBlvd> Where are you shooting the series?
Sophia>
At Warner Bros. Studios. We have two stages there, and then we use various locations, all around L.A.

MediaBlvd> Are you commuting back and forth?
Sophia>
I haven’t yet had a trip home. Judging by the way the schedules work here, I’m not sure if that’s going to happen. You can’t go to London for a weekend trip. It’s just too far.

MediaBlvd> How is shooting an American show different from shooting a British show?
Sophia>
I had done a one-off American TV show for CBS, called The Hades Factor, that was a two-part drama. But, in terms of doing a series, I’ve never done one at all, not even in England. I was a guest star on Doctor Who, but I’ve never been a series regular. It’s a lot of work. It’s more than just a job. It’s a lifestyle. In a working week, we shoot five days a week and, on those days, you’re just working. There’s no time to do anything other than that. It consumes you. And, that’s good. I’ve come all the way from England, and I’d rather be busy than sit around, twiddling my thumbs.

MediaBlvd> How are you handling the work load?
Sophia>
It’s all very new and exciting for me. You just have to make a really concerted effort to take care of yourself. It’s all about the vitamin C, and lots of water. It’s really grueling on you, mentally and physically, so you have to take care of yourself, otherwise you’re just going to be dead.

MediaBlvd> Is there a chance of you going back to Doctor Who, at some point?
Sophia>
I don’t know. I’m totally up for that. I want an action doll. I’m deeply offended that they never made a doll. But, then again, what little boy wants to play with a girl in a dress. They’d have to make me a doll. I’m really angry that I’ve done so many sci-fi things, and I’ve never had a doll. I never got one for Thunderbirds, I never got one for Underworld, and I never got one for Doctor Who. That’s an ambition of mine, career wise. I want to have a doll. I’d love to go back to Doctor Who, if they ask me. But, it was such a fabulous episode, and it was so beautiful, that I wouldn’t want to push it. That would be a bit greedy. But, you never know.

MediaBlvd> Mick is Beth’s protector and potential love interest, but he’s a vampire. How will that work?
Sophia>
Beth is an Internet news reporter, so she goes to crime scenes because she covers really hard-hitting, dangerous stuff, and then she does a live feed to an Internet news site, called Buzzwire News. In the first episode, Beth meets Mick at the scene of a really horrific crime. This girl has been murdered and is lying dead in the fountain. She sees him at the crime scene and she thinks she knows him, but she isn’t quite sure. There’s some kind of connection. They had a history that is made clear to the audience in the pilot, but not to Beth. He saved her when she was a very young child. It makes for a very interesting, romantic story to tell because vampires don’t age and Beth, obviously, will. It could get really interesting.

MediaBlvd> Will Beth continue reporting on the crime scenes that Mick is working on?
Sophia>
Yeah, that’s the kind of vibe that will keep happening. They will become a Mulder and Scully type. They’ll have a working partnership. The minute these two characters get together, the show is over, in my opinion. Every episode, you’ve got to want them to get together.

MediaBlvd> Will there be a love triangle with Mick, Beth and Coraline?
Sophia>
Coraline is part of his history. She’s the one who turned him into a vampire, back in the war. And, she’s incredibly beautiful and very seductive. She reappears throughout the show. She was involved in Beth’s abduction, when she was younger.

MediaBlvd> Can you talk about working with Alex O’Loughlin and what that dynamic is like?
Sophia>
It’s really good. I was really delighted to find out that I had an Australian co-star because I think I would have really felt like the black sheep, if it was just me and everyone else was American. Even though he’s not from England, to have another foreigner is nice. We get along really well.

MediaBlvd> Did they want you to change your look at all, in order to play an American?
Sophia>
She’s an L.A. girl, so they’ve given me all these fake hair extensions. Joel Silver came to the set and I was summoned to his trailer, where he said, “How would you feel about having your hair changed?” I’ve done so much period drama that my natural hair has been so processed, from taking the hot tongs to it, that it’s not Hollywood glam, on its own. And, on American television, the standards are very high. So, when he asked me how I would feel about having my hair changed, I said, “Yeah, of course, Mr. Silver. Anything you say, Mr. Silver.” I was taken to this very expensive Beverly Hills salon. I looked like a scruffy dog, going into one of those dog parlors and, when they’d finished, I was all clean. I had the whole Hollywood treatment, so it was very exciting.

MediaBlvd> Is the accent hard for you?
Sophia>
No, it’s not too bad. I love doing accents. When you’re submerged in the culture and you’re hearing it every day, it gets easier and easier. Because England is an island and we hear a lot of different sounds, maybe we can hear the differences in accents better.

MediaBlvd> Are you aware of the dedication of genre fans, and does that give you an added pressure?
Sophia>
Science fiction fans are the nicest fans in the world. I’ve done a couple science fiction films, so I know. They’re really cool. They’re really respectful and into it.

MediaBlvd> Growing up in England, were vampire stories popular? Had you seen many vampire shows or films?
Sophia>
I didn’t grow up with them at all, actually. It’s been through working in the film industry that my relationship with vampires has been discovered. I have seen so little American television that I’ve never even seen an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Angel. I seem to get involved with vampires a lot, in my career, like with Underworld and an adaptation of Dracula that I did for the BBC, where I played Lucy. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s the pale skin. I’m not sure. It’s weird. It’s not a genre that I’m personally a fan of. I don’t have that chip in my brain that is obsessed with the genre, but I have total respect for those that are. There’s a huge culture out there for it. People love vampires. I’m a human in this show, but I’ve played a vampire, and I’ve had the whole stake-through-the-heart thing, so I think I’m well-equipped.

MediaBlvd> How do you see the tone of the show?
Sophia>
It’s much lighter. It’s going to be very scary in parts, but there’s a real lightness to it. There’s a lot of irony. It’s quite self-deprecating, it’s funny, it’s adult, and not stupid.

MediaBlvd> Do you think viewers want Mick and Beth together?
Sophia>
Yeah. They’re not going to become boyfriend and girlfriend, straight away, but you’re going to want to watch them fall in love with each other. It’s going to get messy. It’s really complicated. He’s not going to age and she is, so that’s weird.

MediaBlvd> Do you think that Beth might eventually become a vampire herself?
Sophia>
I’m absolutely positive that might happen. I don’t know, but I’m sure. As long as it doesn’t involve lots of prosthetics and I don’t have to spend hours in make-up, then it’s fine. I’m sure, at some point, she’s going to get turned, but who knows? Our vampire rules are slightly different. Garlic doesn’t affect them, and they can go out in the sun. There are some changes.

MediaBlvd> How are you adjusting to life in Los Angeles?
Sophia>
I have been to L.A., on and off, over the last few years, and it’s a lovely city. It’s really different, especially working here, but it’s lovely.

MediaBlvd> Is it important for you, as an actress, to make your mark in America, on American television?
Sophia>
It’s a huge deal for me, yeah. We don’t really have an industry in England anymore. And, American television, especially in the last few years, is on par with, if not better than, a lot of movies that are out there. As an actor, you have to travel where the work is, so here I am.