Transcription by Katrina King. Katrina could totally secure Global Dynamics. Totally.
Erica Cerra has appeared in many genre shows over the last few years including Stephen King’s Dead Zone, Battlestar Galactica and Smallville. Since 2006 she has portrayed Jo Lupo on the hit Syfy series Eureka. In anticipation of the July 11th return of the fourth season of the series, I recently talked to Erica by phone to discuss her character and what we can expect on upcoming episodes.
ERICA CERRA: I thought it was a really, really great restart for the show. I think it was kind of needed, almost. I think that where the show was kind of sitting was, I don’t want to say limbo but, I think we needed a restart and I think that’s what the new timeline gave the show. And I think since then it’s really surpassed our expectations. The show is just really, really getting a lot of really great critical acclaim and I think the show’s getting better and better every season. I’m really proud.
PCZ: It seemed like it was a nice way to get Jo out from under the shadow of Sheriff Carter without him having to lose his job!
EC: Oh absolutely! And I think for all the characters, it gave us all something new to do. It was almost like starting a new show, but not. Do you know what I mean?
PCZ: Yeah! It seemed almost like that first episode of season 4 was kind of a brand new show in a lot of ways. It was really nice.
EC: Yeah, I agree.
PCZ: The change resulted in some romance for some of the main characters, but, unfortunately for poor Jo, it ended her romance. What was your reaction to that part of it?
EC: I thought it was fantastic! I thought it was so much fun. I loved that. I think, with the love relationship between Zane and Jo in season 3, I didn’t really know that there was anywhere else really to go other than marriage. And then they kind of started it off there, and kind of basically have us on rewind and went all the way back.
PCZ: Between you and Niall, you kind of probably had this rhythm going with the relationship that the characters had, but then you have to kind of start that all over again. How was that adjustment?
EC: I think that that was really fun, because for two people who when working together were always very close and very comfortable, we had to become awkward. That was different, and that was kind of interesting, with every scene we did. I In a relationship you feel comfortable touching someone’s arm, and then all of a sudden you can’t. It’s like when you break up with somebody, really. It’s like the minute you break up with somebody, it’s like all the rules don’t apply anymore. Do you know what I mean? So it was kind of that. It was that feeling of like, he had no idea what was happening between us, and if I had any familiarity with him, it was unusual. So, yeah, for sure, I think it was a lot of fun for us both to have to play. The things that we would normally do, or the interactions we would normally have, were completely different because the two characters don’t even get alone in the new timeline.
PCZ: Did that kind of help both you, the actors and the writers kind of rethink how the relationship should be and progress?
EC: I think so. And I think it was a decision as to whether they even wanted us to or not. I think they liked that. They liked the heartache. That’s opening Pandora’s Box. It’s like, “Well, what’s this all about?” I think it kind of just opens up new opportunities for them to take with us. Do they get back together? Do we want them to get back together? Do they like each other? All those questions that they have, what would that be like in this timeline? What would that relationship be like? What would their interaction be like? It was a lot of fun for the writers as well.
PCZ: Are there some interesting things we’re going to learn about Jo from the new timeline that even she doesn’t know about, from her past possibly?
EC: So far, not really. I had so many questions when it came to the new timeline. I was like, “OK. So is my mother alive? I think that the way that they wanted to kind of tell the story is that not much had really changed with respects to Eureka and the life. Jo didn’t take her job back, that was the only difference. When Sheriff Andy came on and Jo quit, Jo didn’t take her job back, and that was kind of the only new story as far as the timeline was concerned. Life wasn’t really all that different. But who knows? It’s Eureka. They could decide halfway through the end of this [the fifth] season that they want something to be different. I don’t know, it’ll be interesting to find out though.
PCZ: Is it kind of weird being 7 or 8 episodes into season 5 but still talking about halfway through season 4?
EC: It’s terrible! It’s so confusing. And every interview I’ve had, people are like, “What’s your favorite episode?” I’m like, “Oh wait, we just did 7 right now, and they’re really fun but oh wait, we’re not talking about those!” It’s been really, really difficult. In my opinion, season 5 is the BEST season we’ve done so far. Because we’re filming our new season, I don’t really even remember a lot of the back half of last season. It’s like it’s hard to remember! You’re so caught up in this storyline, that you sort of forget what that last storyline is. I think they all sort of blend together. The little details of the story they get muffled and you kind of forget. I know what happens, the end of it all, but how we got there is a little blurry.
PCZ: And it’s tough for us, because I’m wanting to ask if this season finale for season 4 is going to be as big as the last one. I’m wondering if the timeline gets fixed, or does that continue into season 5? And I know you can’t really talk about that.
EC: No, obviously, I can’t. Like I said, I think this is by far our best season, in 5 we’ve got some really fun stuff coming up, but I know we’re not supposed to be talking about this, but yeah. It’s tough, I know!
PCZ: For the rest of season 4 at least, I know there’s a big storyline over several episodes with Wil Wheaton and Felicia Day, did you get to do much work with them?
EC: Oh yeah, I worked with them quite a bit. You just mentioning that just made me remember like a whole bunch of stuff about that season actually!
PCZ: Oh good!
EC: I just remembered one of the main storylines actually, it’s quite funny. Yeah, I got to work with them quite a bit and, the reaction that Jo has to both of them is quite funny. Her relationship to both of them, is actually quite, quite unique. The two of them sort of annoy Jo, it’s quite funny.
PCZ: I’ve seen the first 3 episodes back, and the first one that they’re both in, it seems that Jo kind of just suffers through them to a certain extent.
EC: Yeah, that is one thing I love about my character though. Is my character isn’t always roses, she’s not always liking every body. People annoy her. Everybody just gets along really, really well, the characters within the show. I kind of like that Jo has some irritation with some of them. I think it’s more interesting.
PCZ: It seems like with the new timeline everyone has sort of been, “Well, we’ll just kind of go with it”, but Jo still seems to be just kind of ill-fitting, like she doesn’t feel comfortable being a new person, basically.
EC: Oh yeah, for sure. I think that there’s elements about the new timeline that she loves. The fact that she’s the head of Global Dynamics Security and the fact that she kind of has her own position of power that she gets to embrace. I think all those things she really loves about the new timeline. But obviously losing a love is incredibly difficult, and I think that’s something that she’s going to have to struggle with for a good period of time. There’s a lot of stuff that she’s going to have to figure out over the course of the next few episodes.
PCZ: I saw from Amy Berg on Twitter that you guys are planning another Christmas episode this year. Was that pretty fun getting to do, even though it wasn’t Christmas time when you filmed it, but getting to do a Christmas episode?
EC: Oh my, the Christmas episode was a blast and it was actually just really fun! No it wasn’t Christmas, it was just really fun to do. It was great having Matt back. We’re doing another Christmas episode which I think is going to be amazing. I’m actually incredibly excited about it and I think the fans are gonna love it. I wanna do a Halloween one! That’s what I was trying to pitch, I don’t know if anyone was buying it. They’re like, “Yeah that’s fun!” And I dunno, we’ll see what happens.
PCZ: It seems almost like the science aspect, and science gone awry lends itself to a Halloween episode of some sort!
EC: Yeah, it would be fun! I think we should do a Halloween one. We’ll see what happens.
PCZ: 5 years on now, have you had any interest in wanting to do any writing or directing on the show?
EC: No, not at all! (laughs) I mean, everyone’s directing, and everyone keeps asking me, they’re like “Do you wanna direct?” I have never really had any desire to tell the story from any other point of view than a character within it. I’m getting more interested in directing, but not becoming a director. I’ll watch a movie from a different perspective now, I’ll watch it from the director’s way of telling the story. I find it fascinating. But as far as camera angles and shots – no, none of that interests me. I’m not writing for Eureka, but there’s a couple things that I’m interested in putting together. I have absolutely no talent as a writer. I wouldn’t know the first thing about it. I’m an idea person. I’ll come up with a concept for a story, but as far as putting it together I haven’t the slightest clue how to even start. Someone even said to me, write the treatment for the story and then pitch it. I’m like, how do you write a treatment? What’s a treatment? They’re like, “How do you write a treatment? The beginning, the middle and the end.” I’m like, “Oh! Yeah, maybe I can handle that, maybe I can throw that together.” Otherwise? No clue. Maybe producing. I’ll leave the directing to Colin and Joe! They can have at it.
PCZ: Do you at least get some input into your character, thinking that maybe Jo wouldn’t react a certain way or might say something differently than what is written?
EC: Absolutely. All the time. I think at this point, Jo’s mine, I think of Jo as mine. I think it’s bad to say, but I don’t think Jo belongs to Jaime Paglia or Andy Cosby any more. I just don’t think that it’s there. I definitely give my input and I’m so fortunate that they listen. I don’t really know what I did, but I think I convinced the writers that Jo is also mine. So they actually trust me, which is really, really, really wonderful. Of course they write really well for Jo, but definitely there’s times where I’m like, “Uh… no, she wouldn’t do that,” or “I have a different idea, can I try it?” I’ve been really, really fortunate with the amount of trust I’ve been given with the character.
EC: Um. It’s hard to say. I think that there are pieces of me in Jo, and pieces of me over the course of my life in Jo. I think at this point in my life, I’ve become much more feminine. That sounds so weird. When I was growing up I was such a tomboy. I think Jo and I have grown together. When I first started the show and Jo was sort of naive and kind of maybe more narrow-minded and as Jo has grown, I think I’ve grown with her. I think I’ve become more of a women now. I’ve always been like a little boy. So it’s quite funny, but now I find that, yeah, I’m actually becoming more of a woman, the things that I do.
PCZ: During the breaks between 4th season and 5th season, were there any projects you worked on?
EC: I did a movie for SyFy called Mega Cyclone, I played a scientist actually. I did Supernatural, which was a lot of fun. I played kind of like this little tough-cookie barmaid.
PCZ: Well, I’m definitely looking forward to the rest of season 4 and highly anticipating season 5 of Eureka, and hopefully we’ll be seeing you on Eureka for many seasons to come!
EC: Cool! Thank you very much!