THE FOLLOWING's Connie Nielsen on the Lily Twist: 'I Knew This Was Exactly Where It Was Going' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE FOLLOWING’s Connie Nielsen on the Lily Twist: ‘I Knew This Was Exactly Where It Was Going’

April 15, 2014 by  


[THE FOLLOWING spoiler warning: This post contains major spoilers for “The Reaping.” If you have not seen the hour yet, go watch it, and then come back to see what THE FOLLOWING’s Connie Nielsen has to say about the episode.]

THE FOLLOWING’s Joe and Ryan came face-to-face in last night’s episode, “The Reaping,” but it was another face-off that proved to be more deadly: Mike and Lily saw each other for the first time since she killed his father, and despite the fact that she was unarmed and willing to turn herself in — and that Ryan and Max begged Mike to not shoot her — Mike shot Lily multiple times in the chest.

In light of Lily’s death, I spoke with Connie Nielsen (Lily) about her time on the show, when she knew her character wouldn’t be around for long, what she wished she had gotten do, and more…

Well, as bummed as I am that Lily died, I have to say, that was a pretty great/tense death scene.
Connie Nielsen: I know, right? It was cool! I thought it was a pretty decent death scene. I was wondering how they were going to kill me, and I hate being covered in [fake] blood, I hate having to do this interminable death scenes. But this one was clean, and beautiful, and dignified, and I love it.

When did you actually find out that Lily would be dying?
CN: Well, first of all, I kind of suspected it the entire time. I said it literally on the phone with my agents after I talked with [THE FOLLOWING creator] Kevin [Williamson] about the character: “Guys? I’m definitely going to die. Don’t even think I’m not going to die, because I’m going to die.” [Laughs] And then they were laughing. I knew this was exactly where it was going.

When did you know the specifics of it? Did they give you a heads up before you got the script?
CN: They call you ahead of time. And you can tell based on what your character chooses to do. But they called me before, and I was like, “Aww.” But it made perfect sense.

Have you gotten any fan reaction to her death yet?
CN: I don’t really have a relationship with my characters once I’m done working with them. I really live in the moment as an actor while I’m doing the scenes. When people stop me on the streets, I’ve forgotten that’s how they see me — it’s always a surprise to me! [Laughs]

You mentioned you weren’t a big fan of the fake blood, so how was it for you to shoot some of the show’s more gory scenes?
CN: I just never pay attention — my character never did much of the actual killings; she was more of the planner and left the actual stuff to other people. And so that really helped my character: people who have psychopathic tendencies or people who have personality disorders…they have this wonderful self-defense mechanism where they tell themselves what they’re doing makes perfect sense within their world.

So in a way, I was able to do that with my character, too; where I basically disregarded all of the bad stuff and really just took her side the way she would have. She would have taken her side on what she was doing because that’s how her brain functions. She’s able to do these terrible things because she does not have empathy.

How was it on set as you were filming Lily’s death scene with Shawn Ashmore’s Mike?
CN: Can I tell you, everybody was so laid back. It’s the most laid back place. We’re actors. We come at this with everything we got. I turned around, and all of a sudden, there was Shawn [as Mike], and he was crying, and I felt really bad for him. Like, “Aw, you poor guy. He’s really been through some bad stuff.” Just like my character probably would have: she didn’t connect [his pain] to herself. [Laughs]

He chooses to embrace the dark side, by basically buying into all of the horrible things she’s done. You know, in that moment, she knows that, too. He has chosen to buy into her side of the world. By reacting to it, and by allowing himself to shoot her, she’s in a way also won, because she’s made him lose what’s kept him able to function normally in a civil society.

Right. For as long as he lives, she is not someone he’ll ever forget: she’s played a vital part in changing this character forever.
CN: Right. And that’s how she wins. That’s how people like that win. That’s all that matters to people like that: that they win.

Now that you’re looking at the show in hindsight, what stands out to you the most about your time on THE FOLLOWING?
CN: I cannot tell you how much fun I had working with those wonderful characters and all those amazing actors. I absolutely love Kevin Bacon (Ryan) and James Purefoy (Joe). And Natalie [Zea (Claire)]. I love them. They’re great, great actors. It was such fun. And Sam Underwood? Could I have been so lucky to have such a lovely kid to play my kids? Such a lovely person. And so accomplished, all of them.

It’s rare you get a place where you go, I like everybody here. This is a good place to work. And it was so much fun. I always went at this character as full-on [as possible], I’m going be true to this character. And it was just going to work and playing this truthfully, and that’s just the best thing: when you’re going to work and you believe in the truth of what this character is doing, that’s the best thing. You need good writing, and you need good actors, and we had all that. And you need great actors to act with, because you can be true, but if the person in front of you isn’t able to be true, it’s much harder to work with. And that was simply just this luxury we had on this set that we had this extraordinary crew of able people and just wonderful actors. It was a great experience. I could only say, I loved every minute of it.

Is there anything you wish had gotten resolved with Lily before she was killed?
CN: Well, I kind of wish her obsession with James Purefoy’s character — I wish that that had been more profound and we had more time to go into what was that? Where did that come from? What does that mean? What was that alluding to? I would have loved to get more into her life in Europe. What was she doing there? It’s such an intriguing story and character, and I just feel I would have loved to have the opportunity to go in and know even more about her. Because what a rich character that is, you know?

So basically, we need a Lily prequel series.
CN: We need a Lily prequel, you’re exactly right! Now that she died, how did she live? Why would she give up everything she had for a guy. If you do that, I want to know why.

Right, what flipped in her to make that decision?
CN: There was something going on. So that’s my one question: what was going on?

It’s THE FOLLOWING, so for all we know, in Lily’s time in Europe, she nurtured someone who will raise all sorts of trouble in the future. We could get another bite of the character at some point.
CN: That is true. Absolutely. And people really responded to her, because she was just so fabulous, too. [Laughs] She was a fabulous woman.

There’s this rage, but it’s almost done with grace. [Laughs] A kind of rage that is expressed with grace. It was just so fun to play with those contrasts.

What did you think of Lily’s death?

THE FOLLOWING airs Mondays at 9 PM on Fox.


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