June Starlog article with Emilie de Ravin

Thanks to shapeshifter for this :)

Record: 1

Title: THE Fourth ALIEN.
Subject(s): DE Ravin, Emilie; ACTORS & actresses
Source: Starlog, Jun2001, Issue 287, p28, 4p, 8c
Author(s): Florence, Bill
Abstract: Profiles Emilie de Ravin, an actress who plays the character
Tess Harding in the television series `Roswell.’
AN: 4425878
ISSN: 0191-4626
Note: CRC Library does not own title.
Database: MasterFILE Premier

Best Part

THE FOURTH ALIEN

Emilie de Ravin learns all about otherworldly love in Roswell.

Tess Harding was an enigma when she appeared on the scene for the
final six episodes of Roswell’s rookie season. At first, Tess
pretended to be just another new kid at Roswell High, but Max was
strangely drawn to her, raising suspicions about her true identity.
For a while, it seemed that Tess might be the dangerous,
shape-shifting Nasedo. Finally, it became clear she was the long-lost
fourth alien, left behind when Max, Michael and Isabel came out of the
pods. Even more intriguing was the discovery that in another place and
time, Tess–not Max’s human love Liz–was his wife.

All of these dizzying plot revelations threw the group of human and
alien friends into turmoil, but Emilie de Ravin, who plays Tess on the
WB’s SF-teen romance show, took it all in stride. “Tess is a girl who
is very sure of herself in some ways, but also very unsure in other
ways,” she says of her screen persona. “Tess came to the group much
more self-conscious of her alien side, because she didn’t have the
same upbringing as Max, Michael and Isabel. They had humans around
them. Tess wasn’t brought up by human families like they were, so she
was isolated from the human world. She only had Nasedo, which made for
a totally different experience. But now that she has spent a year with
these aliens and their human friends, she has taken a lot from her
experiences and learned from them. Tess is coming to understand her
own human side. It’s quite hard for her, but she’s dealing with it
pretty well. She’s a sweet girl who just wants to let the others know
what she knows from their planet, while not stirring up any
unnecessary danger for them all.”

Alien Stranger

Being the newcomer in a close-knit group made Tess feel like an
outsider at the beginning, says de Ravin, but those feelings have
faded–just as they have for the actress herself. “The other three
alien characters have really accepted Tess and they’ve come to realize
it’s inevitable that they stay together,” she comments. “They have to
be together for their powers to work, and that kind of thing. Besides,
they’re great friends now.

“As for myself, I thought joining the cast midway through as I did
would be much harder than it turned out to be,” she continues. “The
other actors had all been together for months. But everyone was really
great and accepted me in a friendly way. The only hard thing was that
I didn’t have as much of a grasp of the ongoing storyline as everyone
else. When I got the role of Tess, I went back and watched all of the
episodes–it was my own Roswell marathon. But it’s not the same. Being
a part of the filming gives you more of an insight toward what’s going
on.”

It was only 18 months ago that de Ravin traveled to Los Angeles from
her native Australia. A few days after her arrival, she auditioned for
the role of Tess, and after the requisite call-backs, she got the
part. “It has definitely been a big change, moving from Australia,”
she muses. “It has been great because I’m working. I am doing what I
wanted to do.”

Even so, playing an alien teenager every week is not without its
unique challenges. “How do you play an alien?” de Ravin asks
rhetorically. “You can’t draw from anything, can you? I try to look
for any strange experiences I’ve had in my life, and draw from those.
I also try to alienate myself from the rest of the world in my
thoughts. I mean, at some point, I just have to use my imagination to
picture what it would be like [to really be an alien]. I try to make
it realistic, as hard as that can be, but I think the tour of us are
doing OK. We pull it off.”

She speaks highly of her working relationship with Jason Behr (Max),
Brendan Fehr (Michael) and Katherine Heigl (Isabel), who share the
challenge of breathing life into alien characters. “We get along and
we strategize well. When we have scenes together, we rehearse for a
while and get it down, really working at the intricacies we find. We
talk about the movements of the scene and the things we may want to
change. We work well together, and we’re usually pretty happy with the
scenes involving the four of us.”

But de Ravin is quick to point out that, in terms of on-set
relationships, she hasn’t seen any gravitation of the actors into
alien and human camps. “We all realize none of us are aliens,” she
laughs. “We all get on. It’s a fun set.”

Some of Tess’ most engaging moments have come in her scenes with
Sheriff Valenti (William Sadler) and his son Kyle (Nick Wechsler),
such as those in “A Roswell Christmas Carol” and “To Serve and
Protect.” “Those two guys are crazy,” de Ravin says with an
affectionate laugh. “It’s so much fun working with them. I can’t stop
laughing, especially with Nick. They’re both great actors and very
funny people. The scenes we had at their house were fun because I got
to sort of let loose, get pissed off, tease Kyle and so on. Those are
a more human kind of interaction than the scenes I often have with Max
or Michael, for example.”

The budding relationship between Tess and Kyle will not blossom into a
romance, however. In the season’s final episodes, says de Ravin, “Kyle
tells Tess he feels she is like a sister to him. He really cares about
her, but not in a romantic way. Tess is totally fine with that. She
never really had a thing for him, although she has played with his
emotions–but not in a bad way. She likes him a lot, but just as a
friend. They’re both relieved about getting all that out into the
open.”

Does the actress agree with the writers’ resolution to that
relationship? “Yes, I do, because of the way that my relationship
grows with Max. It’s going to be, um, kind of full bore.”

Max and Liz have a big blow-up, de Ravin relates, and Liz tells Max
she’s not interested in him anymore. Besides, Liz has a new love
interest at the moment: Sean de Luca, Maria’s cousin. “Yes, another
little hot boy,” de Ravin chuckles. “That’s a funny, cute relationship
Liz and Sean have going. And it leaves it open for Max and Tess to get
together. I think the writers have been trying to make this happen for
a while, but it was a hard transition for the viewers. It had to be
taken very gently because the fans were so used to seeing Max with
Liz.”

Genre Phantom

Roswell plunged deeper into science fiction this season, departing
somewhat from the romance and teen angst of the first year. It’s de
Ravin’s opinion that the series works best when it has equal portions
of both elements. “The combination broadens the audience,” she
observes. “It’s nice when we concentrate on both things. Of course, we
do some episodes that are more about relationships and some that are
more SF, so it tends to equal out.”

“Meet the Dupes” and “Max in the City” gave fans a wild look at punk
versions of Tess and her fellow aliens. “That was kind of
schizophrenic!” de Ravin exclaims. “But it was fun, too, dressing
totally differently, having that different mindset, the accent, the
whole thing. Then the next day, I would be back as Tess. It was hard
for us all, but we had a great time doing it and hopefully it looked
good.”

Before Roswell, de Ravin had a recurring role as the Demon Curupira on
BeastMaster. In fact, as the innocent yet petulant forest spirit, she
blessed the hero with his animal powers to begin with. “I’ve only been
acting professionally for two-and-a-half years, and that was my first
job. Let’s start with that,” she says. “Daniel Goddard [who plays the
BeastMaster Dar] was great, a real professional. We had fun doing
scenes together. I actually hung out with him the other night; we’re
still friends.”

On the whole, de Ravin remembers her BeastMaster experience fondly.
“For one thing, it was shot back home [in Australia]. For another, it
got me noticed and led to my role on Roswell. Also, we shot on
location in the Queensland Rainforest, which was just beautiful.
BeastMaster was a fun show, a great first thing to do.”

Of the very strange costume de Ravin wore (see right), she says, “I
was a ballet dancer until I got that part. During ballet performances,
we would wear lycra body suits [reminiscent of the BeastMaster
outfit]. So to me, it really wasn’t a strange costume at all.”

Turning to the future, de Ravin ponders the fate of Roswell, which the
WB will announce this month. “I think we have a good chance [of being
renewed], especially because the last six episodes to air at the end
are so good,” she says. “The previous set [“The Hybrid Chronicles”] were really interesting, intense episodes, too. I hope we get renewed.
But, at this point, we have no idea.”

Beyond Roswell, de Ravin admits to having many of the same dreams that
most television actors seem to share. “I want to move into films. I
want to pursue as much of a serious acting career as I can, not just a
flimsy overnight career. I take it very seriously,” she says, “and I
really want to pursue it for the rest of my life.”

Emilie de Ravin closes with a direct expression of thanks to Roswell’s
fans. “They’ve been so supportive; they pretty much brought us back
last season. I doubt we would be where we are now without them. Thank
you for watching!

“I’m glad you enjoy Roswell.”

PHOTO (COLOR): Emilie de Ravin’s life as a newcomer to America
reverberates in her role as the alien Tess, raised on Earth but a new
arrival in Roswell.

PHOTO (COLOR): De Ravin isn’t ready to turn her back on fans. She’s
grateful for the support they’ve given Roswell.

PHOTO (COLOR): According to de Ravin. spending time with her Earthly
friends–like Alex (Colin Hanks)–has allowed Tess to get in touch
with her inner human.

PHOTO (COLOR): Recalling strange past experiences in her own life
really helps de Ravin to act alienated as Tess.

PHOTO (COLOR): Relationships constantly shift on Roswell, and de Ravin
reveals romantic changes are in the offing. Maybe not for Michael
(Brendan Fehr), though.

PHOTO (COLOR): For de Ravin, the only problem with joining Roswell
mid-stream was not fully understanding its complex storyline.

PHOTO (COLOR): The actress is hopeful that Rosewell will earn a
renewal, pointing to the season’s strong final episodes.

PHOTO (COLOR): Her first big break came as the strangely garbed
Curupira, protector of animals and patron to TV’s BeastMaster.

By Bill Florence ier