Starlog Magazine – Earthy Girl

By • Jan 4th, 2000 • Category: Leading, Majandra Delfino

Thanks to TropiLisa for sending this in:

When i went to a bookstore to buy some magazines for my christmas break away
from school, i went in the store and i looked on the magazine rack and who
was a big picture in the corner of the Special Sci Fi Tv Issue but the
Roswell gang, ALL OF THEM! Including Nick and William Sandler whom they
always seem to forget, but they are in the picture. The article was about
Majandra playing a human and here it is:

SPECIAL SCI-FI TV ISSUE of STARLOG
Februarly 2001
Earthy Girl
pg 42-45

On the set of Roswell, Majandra Delfino and Shiri Appleby don’t sit around grousing about the various alien gals out to steal their alien guys. Rather, the actresses chat about far more realistic matters, like portraying humans on the run.

“We’re always laughing because they put us in these situations with Maria and Liz freaking out. We’re two humans with no powers against all these powerful aliens; we’re alone, running for our lives.,” Delfino says. “We love that stuff. We get to do some stunts, be silly and hold onto each other, screaming like two little girls. There was a really good freak-out scene in ‘Wipeout,’ where a Skin came after us. He locked the door [behind us] with his mental powers. So i went in one direction and Shiri went in another, and we ran into each other. It was very funny. All Liz and Maria had on the brain [at that moment] was getting out of the situation, and we could not even get it together. Shiri and I love that kind of stuff.”

ALIEN AGENDAS

Chances are that Delfino and Appleby will get to laugh and run often, as Roswell looks likely to be around for a good, long while. But that happy scenario seemed pie-in-the-sky at best in spring 2000. Roswell after a strong start bolstered by positive reviews, slipped in the ratings and was, as they say, on the bubble. The WB could easily have not renewed the show, but a late first season emphasis switch from romance o SF, combined with a shift in nights and a save-the-show Tobasco sauce campaign by fans, worked wonders to preserve the series. Ratings rose and after keeping fans waiting until the bitter end, the network renewed the show for 13 epsiodes. When season two kicked off to solid ratings and success in the WB’s chosen demographics, Roswell quickly won a green light for another nine outings, enabling it to finish the season.

Anyone who watches Roswell regularly knows that it’s not the same series that debuted in fall of 1999. Delfino in particular can vouch for that.

“The show definitely has changed,” says the actress, who figured prominently in such first season hours as “Monsters,” “285 South,” “The Balance” and “Independence Day,” among others. “It has gone in the SF direction. Maria has changed a little bit, too. She’s not overwhelmed anymore with her fear of the aliens and of what can happen she seems to be more relaxed and nonchalant about it. She used to take everything so seriously and she doesn’t anymore. I love the changes. I like the [emphasis on] SF, because I don’t like the romantic stuff that much. Too much romances bores me. You can always have a little of it in there, but if it’s just all about high school and relationships, it gets very boring for me.

“So, considering the type of girl I am , taking the show in an SF direction was a wonderful decision. I don’t know how many girls are with me though. I also like what they’re doing with my character; I had always thought, ‘God, this girl has no backbone sometimes!’ They made her the dumb one who didn’t get what was going on. This season they’ve made her the woman with a plan. I really like laying her now. at first, it was very hard for me to always be so hysterical, but now its all right. I’m used to it and Maria has become less hysterical.

“I really like what we’ve done this season. I usually have no idea what’s going to happen, not even in the next episode. We’re only a few episodes ahead of what has already aired. But besides liking the SF and what they’re doing with Maria, I like the fact that itsn’t not as glum as it was last year with all the love stuff. The aliens are really starting to learn about themselves and their powers, and that’s really cool. It shows that these kids can get their acts together and focus. I like that they added Tess [Emilie de Ravin], because I think we needed to see the fourth alien. It was important for Max [Jason Behr], Isabel [Katherine Heigl] and Michael [Brendan Fehr] to meet the fourth alien.

“As far as my character goes, I really like the ‘Summer of ’47,'” she continues, “I wasn’t really playing MAria, and it’s always fun to do something completely different. It gets very tiring sometimes being the same person every day. so to do ‘Summer of ’47,’ which was set in another time and had nothing to do with Maria, was great. I loved the whole package- the hair, the clothes, the chance to play someone else, someone from the 1940s. The Dupe episodes were cool, but Maria wasn’t duped. I liked that she really didn’t care. That was her attitude. All of the wierd stuff that goes on? She doens’t care. She only pays attention to her close friends-to Liz, Max and Michael. I like that they’ve made Maria very close to Max. Both have something in common; they’re obsessed with someone who wants nothing to do
with them.”

Delfino isn’t kidding. Max still pines for Liz, who came to the realization (thanks in part to a time-traveling future Max) that as much as she cares for him, she-not to mention mankind, her alien friends and their whole race-might be better off it she swore off her alien beau. As for Maria and Michael, he told her that he loved her too much to be with her. With those words rattling around in her head, Maria moved on as best she could, though every so often the writers toss in moments of mutual affection. “I don’t know where they’re going with Maria and Michael,” Delfino admits. “Right now, they’re putting me in a different relationship. Maria’s love interest is Brody [Desmond Askew], the guy from the UFO Center [who was introduced in “Ask Not”]. So that’s cool I like having stuff with somebody else, because I don’t think anybody would hang onto Michael that long, especially the way he has behaved. So someone has come along who treats Maria better and she gets distracted and now we’ve hired a friend of mine, Devon [Independence Day] Gummersall, who has been added to the cast as liz’s love interest. He’s also Maria’s cousin, just out of jail. Devon’s so cooll; it’ll be great to have him on the show.”

HUMAN MOTIVATIONS

For one brief shining moment, it seemed as if Michael had moved on, too, straight into the arms of Courtney (Sara Downing). However, the character perished almost as quickly as she appeared. “It was funny, because Maria got really jealous,” Delfino says, “She saw this girl flirting with her boyfriend. And even though he didn’t really respond, it still pissed her off. Then Michael went to investigate something and ended up making out with Courtney. What they cout out of the epsiode was that a scene where she touches him and he starts having these wierd flashes; there’s this obvious alien connection. It’s why, even though he never really liked her, he made out with her. But something happened right there that made him kiss her. It wasn’t supposed to be Michael cheating on Maria. It was supposed to be this undeniable force. But he ended up looking like the bad gy, which wasn’t really the story. I guess they thought it was already implied, so they didn’t need to add the flashes. But there relaly as’t much time for Maria to be mad at Courtney[In “Wipeout”] she became our friend and then started dying. And even though I had my problems with her, I was sad. She ended up killing herself; she was dead before anything could really happen.”

If one were to make any argument against the revamped Roswell, it would be that too much is happening too quickly. Last season, story arcs spread across three or four episodes. Now they seem to be condensed into two or three. courtney is a good case in point and so, too, is the promising story thread of involving Congresswoman Whitaker (Gretchen Egolf). “I think our audience is into a quicker pace,” Delfino argues. “It as necessary to rev it up. It gets boring. Not that Roswell is boring or that it was boring. But I watch all of these teen shows and they sit there and they drag out everything. I get so bored. I’m flipping the channel, flipping the channel. Pacing it up keeps you entertained and it holds your attention. Maybe I have Attention Deficit Disorder, but I think a fast pace keeps you more interested as a view and as someone working on the show.”

The fans are clearly as into Roswell now as they were last season. Many of those fans are plugged into the Roswell universe via their computers, voicing their opinions about episode moments after they’ve aired. There’s an endless array of Roswell sites, some devoted to the show itself, others devoted to specific characters, actors or even
relationships. “There are more sites devoted to Maria and Michael than to Liz and Max,” Delfino marvels. “and while there are Maria and Michael sites, there are also these Maria and Max sites. They hook you up with somebody. They’ll read into everything with Maria and Max that we’re getting it on. That’s what I find really wierd, when people read into it too much. They can do sites. That’s cool. Even before the Web, people talked to each other about characters. I remember that there were clubs for My So-Called Life. It helps the fans feel more attached to a show, to the character. They stand up for the characters they believe in.

But what’s strange to me is when they’re like, ‘And then the officer held the gun in his left hand when, in the scene before, he held it in his right hand.’ You’re like, ‘Woah!’ Thats what makes me
think, ‘OK.’ But if you’re into SF, it guaranteed that you’re also going to be into the computer. Our fans are that type. They’re into computers andknow how to voice their opinions with them. I don’t know if the people who follow Popular are as computer-savvy. and, really, I love it. I signed all the petitions to save My So-Called Life. I know what its like to love a show. Its fine with me. And the sites that are about me, thye’re cool too. They’ve got photos of me when I was like 16 or 17. Some of the information is wrong. They make up these stories. It’s better that the fans say I’m dating Brendan than Justin Timberlake from N’Sync. I was NOT pleased. So better they think it’s Brendan, who I’m so close with than letting them come up with some crazy stuff. but it doesn’t get too personal.”

Thespian Origins

Delfino was born in Caracas, Venezuela, and is the daughter of a Cuban-American mother and a Venezuelan father. Growing up in Miami, Delfino knew early on that she wanted to act, and she quickly secured an agent and landed work. Her earliest credits include the film Zeus & Roxanne and the TV series The Tony Danza Show. More recently, the actress co-starred in the horror movie spoof Shriek If You Know What I did Last Friday the 13th, which aired in october on the USA Network and hits video next month. Delfino saw neither the cut that was intended for theatrical release nor the edit that ran on USA. She’s currently back on the big screen in steven Soderbergh’s drug drama Traffic, part of a stellar castr that incluedes Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta Jones and Benicio Del Toro. “it Was two weeks in Cincinnati,” she says. “I play a girl named Vanessa who is the bad influence friend of Michael Douglas’ daughter. Vanessa is an insecure girl who does all these drugs, but pulls it all together the next day at school and earns straight As. It was a really good role to play, because she’s so pathetic. i do so many drugs.”

Right now, thought, Roswell is Delfino’s priority. She loves the show, gets on great with her costars and is perfectly happy to be laying a human being and not one of the aliens. “if this was real life, I would love to be one of the aliens and have their powers,” she says. “i don’t know, though, how I would feel using the powers on a mission to save some planet. That’s a bit too stressful for me. But I’m pretty happy being a human on the show. We find out later, by the way, that anybody who has been healed by the aliens is now half alien/half human. Somtehing wierd happens to them. That means Liz is no longer fully human and neither is Kyle [Nick Wechsler]. So I’m basically the only human girl. It’s only Alex [Colin Hanks] and I who are fully human. It’s cool to be the token human.”

And if Delfino were to encounter real aliens, might her pseudodress
rehearsal as a Roswell cast member serve her in a good stead? “No!”
Majandra Delfino shouts in conclusion. “I think i would die. i watched that
scene in ‘Summer of 47’ whree Michael was there with the older man who’s
telling him how he messed up his life by trying to save the aliens. Michael
put up his hand and broke the bottle and said, ‘You saved my life.’ I would
turn around and run for my life if I were that guy. so no matter how sweet
this alien might be behaving towards me, just the idea that they’re far more powerful than i am would scare me so much that my instant reaction would be to run from them. I don’t think I would be prepared at all, even after several seasons of Roswell. If I met the Rock, I would think, ‘Is he going to kick my ass?’ And my instinct would be to run away.
Fight or flight? It’s the same thing with aliens.”

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