Summer Glau spent the hours before last night's premiere of her new series, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, hanging out with fans and posing for pictures at the Los Angeles Comic Book and SciFi Convention. We were able to snag a few minutes with the newest addition to the Terminator factory line before she was whisked away in a frenzy of marketing and fandom. In the new show, Glau plays the good Terminator, sent to protect John Connor. You can catch the second hour of the two-part premiere tonight — an hour that in our opinion kicks a lot more butt. Find out more about Summer, and hear a rumor about the all-singing, all-dancing mystery version of Firefly, in our interview.
You've been involved in Firefly, Serenity and The 4400. Are you particularly attracted to science fiction or do you choose the the projects based on the roles?
Well, scifi has sort of chosen me! The first scifi I ever auditioned for was Firefly, and it was the first television series I'd ever read for too, as a regular. Scifi fans are so loyal, they love to see their actors working, and I think that's why I keep going back to doing scifi.
The characters that you've played are all superwomen who kick ass, but they've all been "tweaked" somehow, or in some cases aren't even human. Do you feel like that's anti-feminist?
Well, look at Lena's character. She's a powerful woman, but she's normal but thrust into extreme circumstances. I like playing roles that are very vulnerable, and I think that Cameron is very vulnerable. Even though she's a robot, there's a vulnerability about her because she's alone in this new reality. She's childlike in that she's absorbing everything around her and trying to fit in and find her place. That's what's interesting to me. I don't want to play a character that is one-dimensional. I think that the women, I've played, while they're powerful, they're also vulnerable, they're emotional, and they are multi-faceted.
We've hear that Joss Whedon likes his actors to have some input in their characters, did you do that when you played River Tam in Firefly?
Oh, you heard that did you? *laughs*
Was it true?
No, not for me! We don't change anything about the characters. Although it's important for every actor to answer their own questions about our characters... we used to joke with Joss like "Hey, I have idea for this scene!" And he'd be like, "Uh, yeah. We're doing it my way." *laughs*
I trust him completely, and there were days when I came for scenes and I didn't know how I was going to do them. If Joss hadn't been there, I would have been lost.
Let's say something magical happened tomorrow, and they said Firefly was coming back on the air. Would you be up for it?
You know, I never had another experience like Firefly. It was very different for me because I'd hardly worked before. I was like a little sister and it was a very safe environment for me. I've never had that since, and I would definitely go back in a heartbeat.
Your character changed the most on the show, going from an innocent, lost little girl to a superweapon who could kill everyone in the room at the drop of a hat. Did you bring some of that to the role as Cameron?
I've wanted to make them very different. My main concern when I got this role was 'How do you make people care about a robot?' I've been trying to do that in a lot of different ways. What happens in the show is that you're drawn to her and you start to care about her, but then you see her do something that is so cold, and so inhumane that it's scary. That's what I'm going for!
You have a background as a dancer, do you still do that?
I do, although it's not easy. I go to classes often. I have a very physical role and I have to work out a lot, but I'd much rather go to dance class than go to the gym.
Do you have any shows or projects coming up where you dance?
Well, you could ask Joss about that. We might have a little something coming up...
Firefly, the musical? Summer had to run off to her panel, but we'll be checking into this!