THE FOLLOWING: Valorie Curry on the 'Real Test' of Emma's Devotion to Joe - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE FOLLOWING: Valorie Curry on the ‘Real Test’ of Emma’s Devotion to Joe

February 3, 2014 by  


Emma, one of THE FOLLOWING’s fiercest characters in season 1, has undergone a massive transition this year as she struggles to find her way in a world without Joe.

Of course, as the audience knows — and Emma just found out — Joe isn’t really dead.

I spoke with THE FOLLOWING Valorie Curry (Emma) about what that eventual reunion might be like, having a fairly new cast for season, Emma’s drastic new look, and more…

There’s been a fair amount of cast turnover on the show due to the high fatality rate. What was it like on that first day back on set?
Valorie Curry: It was like being on a new show again coming back for the table read of episode 1. There were more new people than returning people. Which in some ways was good — not that there wouldn’t have been a level playing field, anyway, but then there’s not that sense of being a new kid at school. So we were all kind of coming in totally fresh.

And there was a bit of trepidation because [of how good season 1 was], not only in the caliber of actors and their work that came up, but everyone was lovely, and we all got along so well, and [was] so professional, and there was that fear of, “Oh my God, are we going to get lucky again?” But it’s been a dream. It’s been wonderful. And it’s been great to see how these characters — and the introduction of these new characters — has affected our little dwindling universe. [Laughs]

Who have you been working with the most this season?
VC: Honestly, for the beginning, and for a while, I was kind of on my own for a lot, because Emma is on her own. And they’re exploring that. I didn’t get to work with a lot of the new people for a while…I can only say I get to work with returning as well as new characters, and it’s all been really fascinating to see how the energy affects each other.

When you hear comments like the ones THE FOLLOWING creator Kevin Williamson made about Joe Carroll possibly not surviving the entire run of the series, do you wonder — or look for more signs — that perhaps they’re gearing up for Emma to be the next Big Bad?
VC: I think it’s possible. I think she’s capable of it, and I do know that when Kevin Williamson says that, he’s not just saying that to try and [falsely tease fans]; that’s part of why people tune in: he’ll do anything. He will kill anyone, no one is safe, assume nothing. So I do think it’s possible they’re grooming her.

From what we saw in season 1, Joe was grooming her for that. She of all people emerged as the chosen prodigy of Joe Carroll and the only one that’s worth being the heir to his throne. It’s just a question of motivation: without him, does Emma want to be a killer? Does Emma want to lead people? Because she’s not particularly bloodthirsty, and she was never really into the whole cult thing — she was obsessed with Joe. The cult was always just a bunch of interlopers. So it’s like training someone who is a perfect candidate for something she doesn’t necessarily want to do. So, that’s something we do explore this season: what does she want to do?

Well, we have seen her kill somewhat independently from Joe, especially in the case of Jacob. Since it’s been a year later, is her involvement with Jacob’s death ever really addressed again? Or it it just something that’s a part of her past at this point?
I can go into Emma’s motivation behind it, which weren’t bloodthirsty at all.  She felt extremely responsible for the position he was in, where he couldn’t stay, but he couldn’t leave, and he had no life, and if he did leave, he was either going to get killed by the cult or the FBI. So as far as she was concerned, the most loving act she could do was [that] — it was a mercy kill.

It was an emotional scene, and it was sad for her, but there was a relief afterwards, because it seemed like it was done. So it’s not guilt that she carries, but it’s grief. And it’s grief compounded by [her thinking she was also] losing Joe. And it’s loneliness. She’s never been on her own and not have the very particular relationship she has with Jacob. He was the warmest, most human relationship in her life. And it’s very lonely [for] Emma…she doesn’t grieve him like someone who killed him, she grieves him who had been killed by Ryan Hardy. Because it’s his fault all this happened, and this course of events led to her having to do this.

At this point, what can you tease about what might happen if Emma were to come face-to-face with Joe?
VC: What she would deal with in the eventual reunion with Joe is an immense sense of betrayal. Because in that year that passed, she went through a bunch of horrible things to survive. She did a lot of horrible things, she experienced a lot of horrible things, she changed a lot.

She has enough ego to think that after a while, when he doesn’t contact her, that he must have been dead or he would have contacted her. And the idea that he could abandon her after everything she has done, after everything he has done to her — he created her — it’s an unspeakable blow. And in that moment, that’s the real test. [As far as she’s concerned] if he’s alive and abandoned her deliberately, that’s the real test of her devotion to him.

And you don’t know what Emma Hill is going to do next; she is truly capable of anything. And I feel fortunate as an actor to get to play some really challenging scenes and go to some really dark places.

At any point does she think about just getting away from everything she’s gotten herself into?
She’s spinning a lot, and that made me, as somebody who really loves Emma, sad to see. But that’s really an issue of circumstance: she’s FBI’s Most Wanted. She’s constantly hiding. It’s a day-to-day struggle to survive, so she doesn’t have the luxury of thinking how she could change her life or where she would want to go, because she’s just surviving. And that’s the most miserable existence. She’s not living.

Her hiding has been pretty remarkable. I did a double-take when we first saw Emma in season 2.
So many people didn’t recognize me in the end of the finale when she’s crying [over Joe’s presumed death]. My grandma didn’t believe it was me!

We got to play with some awesome costumes, awesome hair and makeup. I feel I have run the absolute gamut, and it’s been great. My makeup artist and I have had a blast this season.

Does she get to massively switch it up at some point? Or is she sticking with what we’ve seen so far?
There’s been a bunch of different looks in the alternative genre. She’s very chameleon-like, and it’s it’s interesting to find out how much you can change; how much makeup can do, how much hair can do, and to look into the mirror and see that. It’s a great tool as an actor to see something so external to put on.

That’s great. Is there something in particular you feel that’s really stood out from your time playing Emma so far?
Not something I learned, but it’s been a constant exercise in not judging. Especially a character that everyone else judges and you find yourself defending, constantly. [Laughs] the biggest thing for me is it’s a constant lesson in being in the moment, because she changes. People think she lies, and it’s an idea of separating what’s true from manipulation. She never lies. She always tells the truth, it’s just the truth changes. And she doesn’t hold on to the past.

I get asked that a lot: “What’s her dream?” And I’m like, she doesn’t exist that way, like a wild animal. She is of the moment and in the moment. And that’s so freeing as an actor and incredibly challenging to constantly just be in the moment.But that’s what makes her so fun to play. I get to play 100 different people every season. She’s just this chameleon.

Speaking of seeing all those different sides of Emma, will be seeing any more flashbacks of her this season?
We get flashbacks, mostly from the other characters, of the year, and we get some interesting flashbacks with Ryan Hardy from even before that. But it’s not as much of a devise as it was in season 1. And it’s not as much [used] for Emma.

THE FOLLOWING airs Mondays at 9 PM on Fox.


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