NC Actress Maria Howell Talks About ‘Revolution’ [Interview]
When the lights go out and Revolution begins this Monday, keep an eye on Gastonia, North Carolina native actress Maria Howell, who promises of her character, “Grace has a secret”.
Howell (The Color Purple, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) is currently filming the new NBC series Revolution in Wilmington, and we recently caught up with the accomplished actress and singer to get the scoop on what brought her to this highly anticipated project and what viewers can expect from her character, “Grace”.
Maria told us that having the creator of ABC’s groundbreaking hit mystery series Lost and director of Star Trek and Super 8 leading NBC’s big budget Revolution instantly attracted her, even before she knew how significant her character would be to the show’s mythology.
“First of all,” said Howell, “I’m a J.J. Abrams fan to the end. I love his work, so when they called me about the audition, I think I was definitely down more because it was J.J. Abrams. I was like, ‘Yeah, let’s do it!’ Once I read the script, I was like, ‘Wow, this is great. This is getting me to where I need to be.’
“I never really wanted to be pigeonholed. I’ve wanted to be more of a character actor in the sense that the world is wide open for all the different things that I can do, and Revolution was the start of that.”
Iron Man‘s Jon Favreau directed the pilot episode in Atlanta, while the rest of the series itself has been filmed in Wilmington, NC, from producer J.J. Abrams and writer/creator Eric Kripke (Supernatural).
“It was wonderful working with Jon Favreau and Eric Kripke. Just wonderful people. The role itself, it’s like layers of an onion being peeled back, because with so many cast members you can’t tell their whole story in one episode.
“With Grace and her role before the blackout, she knew about the blackout and probably has some of the answers about why the blackout happened.
“Grace has a secret. I’ll just leave it at that.”
Howell said much of the overall mystery of the show is still a mystery to her.
“Even I don’t know what happens after episode four,” she said.
“There will be some flashbacks. I like that part, because first of all I love period pieces.”
Maria explained that the series’ post-apocalyptic production is the size of a major Hollywood blockbuster.
“This is a huge undertaking,” she said of Revolution, “not just from my perspective but from everyone I’ve talked to that’s working on the production. I mean, when we did the pilot, it felt like a feature film. It did not feel like TV at all, because there’s so much involved and so many details.
“Of course, with any period piece, that’s a whole lot of work right there. You have to age things and put things into the future. It’s a challenge.
“All of it feels like a feature film, which is great for me, because as an actor I love feature film, simply because you have more time to spend with everyone and the story is developed a little differently. When you’re actually on set and you’re having the opportunity to be around those people, the relationship is developed differently. It’s co-active, you know? It’s just deeper, it’s moving to another level of it.
“I don’t know which one I enjoy most, and thank God I have them both in my life, but I think when it comes to just getting your teeth sunk into something, you can do that with feature films.”
In addition to a pivotal role in the series, Howell says the best part has been the new relationships that she has formed with her other cast members.
“I fell in love with Graham Rogers,” she said, “because on my first shooting day, that’s who I worked with. I call him my little bro. He is so wonderful. I enjoyed working with him so much.
“Giancarlo Esposito, I’ve been a fan of his for ages. It’s crazy because when I lived in New York, I saw him on the street one time and was too intimidated to go up and talk to him. But things come full circle and you don’t imagine getting to work with that person.
“He is so wonderful because he’s so helpful. There are some actors that are just selfless, and Giancarlo is very giving and very much a teacher. It’s amazing how you can learn something from a co-actor in five minutes and you don’t have to take that class. I learned from him.
“Elizabeth (Mitchell), I could just eat her up. She’s wonderful. And Tim Guinee, of course, I can’t say enough about him. The whole experience has been wonderful, but those are the ones that I’ve been close up to more frequently.”
The day of our interview was the same day it was announced that Maria would star as “Seeder” in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, which has just recently started production in Atlanta, GA. She says the two high profile gigs will keep her traveling back and forth, but she is thankful that it’s only between North Carolina, where she was born and raised, and her current home of Georgia.
“I’m not in every episode (of Revolution),” she said, “but whenever they need me, I’m there. So those two projects have me right now, and I’m very glad.”
Catching Fire opens in theaters on November 22, 2013, and Revolution premieres on NBC this Monday, September 17 at 10pm.
If you can’t wait until Monday, you can watch the full pilot episode online right now via Hulu in the player below!
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Posted on September 14, 2012, in Exclusives, Interviews, Movies, NC Talent, TV and tagged Gastonia, Maria Howell, Revolution, The Color Purple, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Wilmington. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.