INTERVIEW: America Ferrera on tantalizing web series Christine
WIGS breaks new ground for the digital age with scripted dramas featuring all female leads. SheKnows had the opportunity to speak exclusively with America Ferrera about the series Christine, in which she leads an all-star cast as a young woman on an interesting night of speed dating.
In the official synopsis of Christine, the series is summed up in this way:
Christine (America Ferrera) is a warm but enigmatic woman attending a speed-dating event. As the evening progresses, she meets 10 different men with a variety of personalities and backgrounds — from the sweet to the neurotic to the totally smug. As the men open up to Christine about their lives and what they are looking for in an ideal partner, Christine's own intentions grow increasingly unclear.
Watching Ferrera tackle the role of Christine as each of the 10 men drifts to her table for their timed dating segment is fascinating. What unfolds is a story worth watching, perhaps more than once. Don't let the channel name WIGS fool you. It's not about hairpieces, but is an acronym for "Where it gets sinful." Ooh la la!
SheKnows had the opportunity to chat with America Ferrera by telephone about her experience playing Christine and you can enjoy the full interview below.
SheKnows: With your eclectic background, what drew you to the WIGS project?
America Ferrera: Well, first and foremost, I think Rodrigo (Garcia) who I'm a huge fan of. I've been a been a fan of his for a really long time and also I was really intrigued by the character and the script and also kind of intrigued by the innovative platform they are going for on WIGS — you know, telling kind of deep character stories in an online way. It just seems it's sort of the new frontier of drama and, you know, it's all very exciting so I was very compelled to take part.
SK: Well, you touched upon my next question which was: What about Christine did you identify with?
AF: I don't know necessarily what I identified with, but I was definitely intrigued by her secrets and why she was there, what it was that she was looking for and needed from this experience. I just thought it was fun to see this character, who seemed like one thing, sort of unravel and become something else. And that at the end of the series there were kind of no kind of easy answers, it was all kind of messy, complicated human stuff that has no right or wrong answer to it.
SK: You met your husband in college, right?
AF: Sort, of yes. We went to the same college, and some friends introduced us, but we didn't really meet in school. But in school is the easier way to say it.
SK: Would you have ever have considered speed dating?
AF: Um... I don't know. Maybe. I never did, but it sounds fun. I have friends who have, and it definitely sounds like an interesting experience. I think it's fun that the way people meet each other has really changed in so many ways and there's not as much of a stigma on making it a mission and putting some work into finding someone. So, who knows? Maybe if I had been single I would have speed dated, but I've never tried it.
SK: If you were Christine, were there any of the 10 men from the series you would have chosen?
AF: Well, I think what was fun was the one episode with the character who challenged her the most — the one who called her out on being unhappy and being angry.
SK: Was that Martin Starr's character?
AF: Yes, exactly. He was sort of the one who was patient and kind and didn't take the bait that she was putting out there and that sort of surprised her. I think that would be the most interesting second date to go on. So for Christine, I probably would have picked him.
SK: Are there any further plans, now that it's on a wider platform on Hulu and FOX is behind it, to further explore the Christine portion of the series?
AF: You know, I don't know. I know they've definitely further explored other characters they've created on WIGS, and I guess it's always a possibility. I also know they've expanded the speed-dating topic to other series as well; it's kind of a thing where other characters in other series go speed dating as well. I don't know necessarily what their plans are for the character of Christine.
SK: They left it open for her at the end.
AF: Yeah! They did, so I guess anything is possible.
SK: You did mention it's different than filming other television and movie projects. I was wondering how long it took to film the whole thing.
AF: It took about 12 days. Each episode is somewhere between six and eight minutes, and we shot an episode a day. We shot the whole thing in 12 days and it felt like we were shooting one long script. It was natural to cut the shooting off doing one date a day, but the overall arc of the series felt like we were shooting a one hour and 20 minute movie. There got to be a real arc to the character, so it didn't feel particularly different from shooting a film or an hour-long episode of television, but it was definitely faster and more contained. That made it fun. I think it really spiced it up to know that it was naturally broken up, but that ultimately I could stay inside an arc that was going to complete itself in a really satisfying way, quickly.
SK: I think it's also very interesting that there are several ways to watch it. You could originally watch it in pieces by date, and now it's available on Hulu in three 30-minute installments. People can get their fill in whatever way fits for them.
AF: Absolutely. As we all do, as I do now. With television I can watch a half an episode if I want or I can watch eight episodes if I want — of anything! Definitely, it is sort of viewers' choice and the hope is that they're excited at the end of every episode to see what's going to happen. And it's great, you can watch it on your phone, you can watch it on your iPad, you can watch it on your lunch time — an episode or two — it's just a whole different viewing experience. It's changed so much, which is a very obvious thing to say, but it still blows my mind.
Be sure to catch America Ferrera in Christine on Hulu. It's available now and also features Eric Balfour (Haven), Sean Astin (24), Joshua Malina (Scandal), Gary Dourdan (CSI: Crime Scene Investigation) and other hunky guys as her speed dates. You won't believe the ending and do not want to miss it!