PERSON OF INTEREST: Amy Acker Teases What’s to Come for Root in Season 3
September 30, 2013 by Marisa Roffman
On PERSON OF INTEREST, Root is in quite the interesting dilemma: on one hand, she is connected to her beloved Machine in a way she could only have imagined in the past; on the other hand, she’s locked up in a mental hospital, unable to really take control of her own life.
I spoke with POI star Amy Acker (a newly promoted series regular) about what she knows about Root’s arc for the season, her biggest episode of the season (so far), and more…
How have things changed for you now that you’re an official series regular?
Amy Acker: I would say the actual filming is not different because everyone was so nice to me all along. I guess, hopefully, they weren’t just scared of me because [Root] was always torturing them. But it’s been exciting to see all of the scripts and where the surprises are and where…this character in particular has been so fun because I started off the show as this psychiatrist that wasn’t Root at all; I was portraying this other person. So when I got the first script [in season 1], I didn’t really know the part I was going to be playing. [PERSON OF INTEREST executive producers] Jonah [Nolan] and Greg [Plageman] have done such a great job — and it’s been such fun for me — of taking this character in so many different directions. So it was fun to see at the end of last season, like, what’s going to happen this year? Who am I going to be? What they have in store, it’s been exciting. Ooh, I get to do that!”
Have they shared Root’s arc with you for this season? Or do you find out as you see each script?
AA: No! Have they told you anything? They’ve been so secretive, and then we find out as the scripts come in. Occasionally, they’ll give us a little hint of something that might be happening in the future, but we never really know if it’s something that will actually happen or when it might happen. But for the most part, we kind of find things out as we get scripts. Which is fun.
It makes scripts like little weekly presents — you never know what you’ll find.
So how is Root fitting in with the team beyond the premiere? When she gets free, will there be teamwork? Or will she in many ways be their foe?
AA: I think that’s kind of what interesting about the whole show. Even with Shaw being introduced to the team this year, and they’re clearly counting on her to be a part of the team, they still have this trust issue of where is she, and can they count on her. It’s made for lots of really funny and great moment in the season so far.
At the moment, the whole team is a bunch of individuals, but nobody really knows everything about anyone. As of right now, Root is still on her own. But…now she has contact with the Machine, so the Machine is kind of her leader, so she believes in the Machine; whatever the Machine tells her to do, she’s going to do. That is going to be the tying element between the team, because I spend some time in the mental institution.
Since Root does have that connection to the Machine now, has anyone tried to exploit her or her new knowledge in what you’ve shot yet?
AA: The audience at the end of last year is the only one who knows the Machine is talking to Root…this year, as far as Finch and everyone else knows, the Machine hasn’t contacted me. I’m just safely tucked away, somewhere I can stay out of trouble. That makes for fun surprises a few episodes in.
That’ll give her a card to play at some point…
The producers have teased there’s a big female-centric episode coming up. Is Root at all involved in that? Or is she still locked up?
AA: Root is not in the ladies’ night episode, but I was reading it and thinking that I can’t wait to see that episode. There’s so many funny things for the three girls together. That’s probably the one I’m most excited to see. Look at the girls on the show and they’re so pretty and what’s going to happen! You know they’re going to hurt people. [Laughs]
It’s a little sad Root isn’t a part of it, because that could have been an amazing hot mess.
AA: [Laughs] Maybe [all the girls] can go out for drinks sometime.
Maybe! What has been your biggest episode this season?
AA: We just finished an episode that was a lot of fun — I get to do a lot of good stuff with Sarah. It was Root coming out and the Machine giving her some orders, and it was fun to see what happens when she’s in contact with the Machine and she’s free.
Has there been more exploration into Root’s backstory in what you’ve shot this season?
AA: So far, there hasn’t been any Root backstory, but there’s been some really neat backstories that have been explored. They’re definitely sticking with that model of going back and telling you how these characters came to be. And I think another great episode is to seeing a flashback to one of the other characters and how they came to be.
At this point in your journey of playing Root, do you have any questions about her?
AA: This has been such a fun character to play because I’ve learned a lot more about [things]. I started doing research because I was having lines, and I was like, what am I talking about? I have no idea what I’m saying. So I started talking to Jonah and Greg, and reading all these books, and exploring futurism and transhumanism, and all these things Root delves into as a character, and it’s been exciting for me that what I pictured as the future is actually going to be reality, some people think, sooner versus later. It’s a fun character, like, is she crazy, or is she just ahead of the times? And what’s going to happen? What I’m looking forward to most is seeing how much of what Root believe is going to happen is going to come true.
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