THE FOLLOWING: Connie Nielsen on the Show's Upcoming Twists: 'So Much Happens in the Next Couple of Episodes That You Won't Believe It' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE FOLLOWING: Connie Nielsen on the Show’s Upcoming Twists: ‘So Much Happens in the Next Couple of Episodes That You Won’t Believe It’

February 7, 2014 by  


THE FOLLOWING’s Connie Nielsen can keep one heck of a secret.

Fresh off the twist that her character, Lily, isn’t quite as innocent as she might appear — and has some jaw-dropping family ties — I hopped on the phone with Nielsen to see what she could share about Lily and her new-found relationships, having to keep all these secrets, the twists viewers won’t see coming, Nielsen’s real-life passion charity, and more…

Well, Lily is a heck of a lot more complicated than people might have guessed. What kind of reaction have you been hearing?
Connie Nielsen:
It’s so funny to hear people’s reactions to the last episode. It’s been actually quite fun to talk about it.

I will tell you this: in the beginning, everybody from my family and all my friends were texting me, “I get it! I know what this is about.” And I would just write back, “Nope, you don’t get it. Nope. No.” And they’d be like, “Come on, tell me, I won’t tell a soul!” And I was like, “No can do. I have literally signed away everything, I can’t say a word.” And then, when it happened on Monday, they were like, “You’re kidding me! That was so crazy.” It’s been really fun to see.

When you were approached for the role, did they give you a full rundown of her manipulation? Or was it the bare bones that, she’s a bad woman, who will be manipulating Ryan in the beginning?
CN: [THE FOLLOWING creator Kevin Williamson] was very cool: he gives you a really great balance of things that you can work with — a lot of really key information you need to do a good job — but then there’s a lot of stuff you don’t know happens, which in a way is exciting for you [as an actor], because you’re discovering it, too. But a lot of those underlying stories were very clear when I started, and he gave me this really great background story to the character, and I’ve been playing with that a lot. Especially in those scenes with Ryan, where we had a lot of fun being very convincing, almost playing her straight as a normal person, despite the fact that she most obviously is not.

Did you know she was Mark and Luke’s mother when the season started, or was that one of those surprises you found out when you got the script for episode 3?
CN: I knew that.

That’s good. Now that relationship is in the open, what can you tease about that family dynamic?
CN: Well, what you will discover is there’s a whole lot more to that story. And I can’t tell you what that is, but there’s a lot of stuff you will discover about that relationship. There’s a lot more [to it].

What’s great about Kevin Williamson is that you think you know where it’s going, but you don’t. [Laughs] It’s just incredible. Every time I think I know, I just absolutely do not. But it’s always consistent with the character that he set you out with.

Does she have a closer relationship with one son versus the other?
CN: No, I definitely think she is close with both of them equally. In that sense, you will discover that other side to her, which is really this deeply committed mother as well. And you will see that. That was really exciting.

Has the show touched on who their father is?
CN: Um…I’m not going to tell you about that! That’s going to be revealed very soon.

Fair! What can you share about her relationship with Joe?
CN: I can’t really say anything about that yet! [Laughs]

Will we be seeing it play out on screen soon?
CN: [Laughs] I think there will be a lot of things playing out soon.

Will we be seeing Lily-centric flashbacks to fill in some of the gaps?
CN: No, you’re not going to be seeing those things in flashback, at least not right now.

Interesting. What can you tease about Monday’s episode?
CN: Monday’s episode is definitely taking us to a new space, where we haven’t seen Lily before. And we’re also discovering some of the bigger architecture that has been set in motion by her. And we’re going to be seeing a lot of very sort of huge movements in the story.

The show really has been progressing really quickly this season — the reveal that Lily was bad, for instance, you would think they could have held that another couple of episodes, or so. Does this kind of pacing last all season, from what you’ve filmed?
CN: I can tell you that so much happens in the next couple of episodes that you won’t believe it. It’s a lot.

How tough is it to keep all these secrets?
CN: It’s really hard! It’s very difficult. I’m always used to not giving away the important things about a movie, because you know people need to not know certain things in order to discover the stories the same way we discovered it when we read it. But this is really…there’s a lot of things I’d love to talk about, but I can’t. And also, people really want to know.

Right, I do think the fans really are so used to analyzing everything and have it ingrained in them to be suspicious of everyone and everything at this point.
CN: Which I also think is part of the fun, isn’t it? Everybody on the show, by the way, is a detective, too. Everybody is trying to figure out what Kevin has in mind for us.

Do you think she is a redeemable character? Or do you think she’s so firmly bad that she can only be on that path?
CN: I cannot tell you that!

Interesting… What is Lily’s take on Emma and Emma’s relationship with Joe?
CN: I think that what you’ve seen so far of what my character does — what you’ve seen Lily do — is that she’s very subtle. She’s very subtle in everything she does, and she’s also doing everything she’s doing for a reason. She’s trying to obtain something. And I think that one of the things that’s been really fun for all of us is trying to figure out what things are ahead of time, and yet, no matter what we knew, there’s a lot of stuff we just didn’t see happen at all. At all.

Does she view Emma as a threat?
CN: I can’t tell you that. I’m sorry! [Laughs]

No, I totally get some things have to be kept quiet.
CN: And we just don’t want to take away the fun of being completely taken by surprise.

Absolutely. I know you mentioned your friends were shocked by the Lily twist, but do you look at what social media is saying when you know a big twist for your character is coming?
CN: No, I don’t. I have this thing where for me, when I’m working, is when I’m having this relationship with a character. Once that work is done…I want to stay with [what] my character is experiencing and then tune the other stuff out.

That makes sense. Lily and Ryan had some chemistry before he realized she wasn’t innocent. What is that relationship like going forward?
CN: Well, you know…she really likes him. She really likes him, but she also has some plans. And I don’t think they involve him. What she tends to do is, she tends to follow what’s in her mind, first and foremost, and I really can’t say more than that.

I’m intrigued. I know you’re passionate about your charity, Human Needs Project. Have you recruited the cast to help yet?
CN: I haven’t done that yet. We’ve been so busy working really, really hard, so I think all of us have been trying to get through the shooting. And as soon as the shooting is over, they’re all being recruited, you’re absolutely right.

In the meantime, is there anything you want people to know about what your charity is doing right now?
CN: I would love for everyone to go on and think of how they can be a part of helping people living in slums. We have very strong ideas about how to provide water, education, and an opportunity for access to a larger network, instead of living in this completely circumscribed prison of poverty that we’re in right now.

And I would love for anybody to think for a second, if they could use some empathy and compassion for just a minute, what they would feel like if they were going through some of the things we describe on the site. We have people from the slums themselves in a video under “The Problem” page. You can just click on that video and hear people from the slum about what makes it so hard for them to get out of there. Why is it so hard for people to get out of this kind of poverty. And how difficult it is for them to survive with that kind of poverty. We try and describe [on the site] what we think we can actively do to change that. I think it’s a very exciting project, and I hope everyone will take some time to check it out.

So, what do you think Lily’s up to??

THE FOLLOWING airs Mondays at 9 PM on Fox.


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