Q&A with Blair Redford of ABC Family’s “The Lying Game” (J!-ENT Interviews and Articles)
August 19, 2011 by Dennis Amith
Blair Redford (“The Day the Earth Stood Still”, “Burlesque”) stars in the new ABC Family series “The Lying Game”.
In the new one-hour scripted drama, actress Alexandra Chando plays Emma Becker and Sutton Mercer, twins who did not grow up with each other.
Emma Becker grew up in foster care, while Sutton Mercer grew up with a loving, wealthy family. And the two have come face-to-face and realize that both are sisters. Emma agrees to impersonate her sister while Sutton goes to Los Angeles to find her real biological parents. But for some reason, when Sutton is supposed to return back home, Emma feels that something may have happened.
Now Emma may have to come clean and risk her own safety in the hope of uncovering her twin sister’s whereabouts.
In the series, Blair Redford plays the role of Ethan Whitehorse, Sutton’s secret boyfriend who figures out that Emma as Sutton is not the real Sutton.
Also, starring in”The Lying Game” are Alexandra Chando (“As the World Turns”) as Emma/Sutton, Andy Buckley (“The Office”) as Ted, Helen Salter (“Supergirl”) as Kristin, Sharon Pierre-Louis (“Lincoln Heights) as Nisha, Kirsten Prout (“Kyle XY”) as Char, Alice Greczyn (“Lincoln Heights”) as Mads and Allie Gonino (“10 Things I Hate About You”) as Laurel.
With the premiere of ABC Family’s “The Lying Game” set for 9pm on August 15th, Alexandra Chando recently took part in a media Q&A to promote the series.
Here is a transcript from the media Q&A:
Moderator What do you think it is about The Lying Game that is going to attract viewers to it?
B. Redford In my opinion, I think it’s going to be the cliffhangers they leave every week. I think if a person can just be sold on watching one episode then they are going to get hooked from there. Every week when they turn in new scripts to us to look over, I’m just really pleased and blown away at how strong the cliffhangers are, and it makes you want to see the next script immediately.
Moderator The audience is only one episode into The Lying Game so far, but after the twins it’s sort of been all about Ethan’s story, and without giving too much away, what can we expect from your character as the story unfolds?
B. Redford I think the main thing that you’ll get to experience with Ethan, the most interesting part of his story is that he’s obviously in this relationship with Sutton, which is more of a secret relationship, and then when Emma comes along it’s a very peculiar situation. It’s like when a guy gets a duplicate of his current girlfriend and she’s everything she is and maybe a little more, so it’s sort of this fantastic idea. We’ve all got problems with our girlfriends, and what if there was a twin out there of her, a clone, that was slightly better? And so you’ll see him struggle with that, because he has an allegiance to Sutton, in a way, but then he starts building feelings for Emma, too. I think it was a fun thing to act, and I think it will be a fun thing to watch.
Moderator You were cast on The Young and the Restless pretty early in your career, and other actors have told me that daytime soaps can be like TV boot camp, because the work schedule is such. Has that been your experience, and how is that compared to working on The Lying Game?
B. Redford Yes, I did The Young and the Restless pretty much right away when I moved to Los Angeles. And that’s a good word for it. It’s definitely like a TV boot camp. The pace is really fast, you have to cover a lot of pages a day, shooting, so it definitely preps you for other television work. And did you say what’s the difference shooting that and The Lying Game?
B. Redford Yes, it’s obviously—you have a little more time. It’s mainly just general differences between daytime and prime time. In prime time you are spending almost a week and a half on an episode, and you’re on locations a lot. With soaps you’re pretty much in the studio the entire time doing interiors, so yes, those are the main differences.
Moderator Now what is it about Ethan that allows Emma to continue to her charade as Sutton?
B. Reford Well, I think he definitely feels so close to Sutton, first of all, and so I think the main reason he goes into this is he wants to help Sutton out, which is kind of like his girlfriend, even though it’s his secret girlfriend. I think he cares deeply for her right now, and with her twin sister Emma telling him the plan, I think he’s on board to help them reach their goal of solving this mystery of their birth and the separation and their mother. But then I also think immediately he feels a strong connection to Emma, and so whether he wants to admit it to himself or not, I think he’s glad to be along for the ride because he’s enjoying this time he gets with Emma.
Moderator Now considering you were a member of Black Knights Stunts, how much action will we see from your character?
B. Redford That’s funny that you ask. I remember having lunch with our executive producer, Chuck Pratt, when we got the pick-up for the series, and I told him right away if there’s any room for stunts or action we’ve got to write it in. And he sat back in his chair and looked at me and he’s like, “Dude, you’re going to get in a fight like in every other episode in this show.” I was glad to hear that. It’s nothing major, no boxing matches, but they’ve made it a choice that Ethan is definitely a bit of a hothead. He has some anger issues, when he gets revved up it’s hard to calm him down. In protecting the twins and things like that, there are definitely some fists thrown here and there.
Moderator Sounds like fun.
B. Redford It is.
Moderator You mentioned the cliffhangers, but when you’re reading the scripts are you surprised by Ethan’s actions and responses as well, or are you already pretty in sync with him and generally know what to expect?
B. Redford I definitely feel I’m pretty in sync with Ethan now, but still the writers are so good at what they’re doing and crafting these surprises and theses twists and turns that are vital to a story like this. So, the fun part about it is they may surprise me with a plot point, or a particular storyline, and then immediately my mind is racing on, “Oh, this is great because Ethan would do it like this, or he would experience it like this,” so it’s kind of a collaboration between me as the actor and the writers doing their thing. If that answers your question, that’s kind of what takes place.
Moderator Obviously you and Alexandra film a lot of scenes together. How does it compare for you when you move from a one-on-one scene with her to something that involves a bit more of the cast?
B. Redford I would say that 90% of my work is with her so far. Well, because we’re shooting a lot we’ve become really close, and we’ve got all our inside jokes down on set and all of that, so it’s like working with a best friend. And then everybody else comes into the mix and it’s fun too, then it’s like a party. We have more people to play off of. And honestly, I guess it kind of welcomed sometimes. I’ve always joked with her, I’ll be like, finally, I’m doing a scene with another actor besides Alex. I’ll make sure she overhears it in the makeup room or whatever. But, it’s good all around.
Moderator I noticed that it looks like your Twitter account is fairly new.
B. Redford Yes, I just started that up.
Moderator Do you hope to interact more with fans, not just keeping tabs, but kind of dropping a line?
B. Redford Yes, I think that’s a nice point of it. I mainly did it because the fake ones kept popping up, and there’s no way for people to know whether or not it was me, so I had to stop other people from putting words in my mouth.
Moderator Do you think that now with your Twitter account and your Facebook account, do you think that would try to attribute to more success of the show with you interacting with more fans? You know, keeping them more abreast of things?
B. Redford Yeah, I hope so. I think it’s kind of a tool that shows and actors are using these days, and you almost can’t deny it anymore, so I wanted to hop on board. If it helps the fans get into a series, if it helps them feel more connected to the actors, then that’s great, I think we should be there for them. I mean, we wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing without the fans. But, I will say you mentioned the Facebook page, and if you’ve been looking at one of those, I don’t have one of those yet.
Moderator That’s not you on there.
B. Redford No, no. None of those are me.
Moderator Oh, alright. That’s pretty interesting to know because—
B. Redford That might be my next step, to clear that up—
Moderator and get an official page on there.
B. Redford Yes, yes.
Moderator After helping to launch—this is your second hit show in one summer, which is kind of cool, what would you say is next for Blair Redford? Where do you want to go from here?
B. Redford Well, we’re so early on in the launch of The Lying Game, I think it’s hard to say, strategically, what I’m going to try to do next, because I don’t know what my schedule is. I’m really hoping we do well with this show, and if that’s the case, I’ll be busy through the majority of the year and other seasons with this. That’s what I’m hoping for, for now. I really like this character and I like this show, I like the writing, I like where they’re going with it. So, beyond that, I’d love to find a nice film to do during my hiatus, whether it’s between this and our pick-up or a backorder or if it’s between first and second season. I’d love to find a nice film to do in that spare time.
Moderator A good action movie, right?
B. Redford It could be action. I’m kind of game for a couple different genres. Whatever seems to fit right.
Moderator If you could go back to 2004 and talk to your younger self, sort of when you were first starting out, right? What advice would you give?
B. Redford That’s funny. I guess there’s a lot I’d want to say. I think when you’re an actor moving out to LA, one of your main concerns is that you don’t know how it’s all going to start. But, I think that’s part of the fun too, kind of that nervous energy, and it make you hustle, and everything’s a surprise that should be enjoyed each step of the way. Well, part of me would want to go back and just like throw a hand on my younger shoulder and say, “Hey dude, it’s all going to be good. It’s going to be ups and downs and you’re going to have fun the whole way,” because it has been.
Moderator Now, since Ethan is a hothead, can you talk about his relationship with his father?
B. Redford Yes, sure. The short answer is it hasn’t been established yet. He lives with his brother who is played by Tyler Christopher, and I’m not quite sure if they’ve made any concrete decisions on the parents of both Ethan and Tyler who plays my brother on the show. His name is Dan, Dan Whitehorse. So, I think that will come up in the future. I’m not sure when they’re going to want to bring that info in. But, right now, I don’t know anything about the parents.
Moderator I thought I read somewhere that your dad was supposed to be a cop or something.
B. Redford That may be printed somewhere, because they originally wanted me living me with my father. Then, when they hired Tyler Christopher, when we were shooting the pilot they brought him in, they looked at us side-by-side, and he’s a pretty young looking guy so they said there’s no way he can play your dad. And they decided to make us brothers. Which I call it one of those happy accidents that just worked out beautifully, because there’s a lot of parents on this show, and I really like the dynamic that me and Tyler have as brothers. I think it adds a nice color to it that wouldn’t have been brought to the table if he was playing my father, or if they had found someone older to play my father.
Moderator Okay, cool. I’ll guess I’ll have to wait and see what happens.
B. Redford Yes, you’ll see in this coming episode.
Moderator Was this the first time that you have ever met or worked with Alexandra?
B. Redford Yes, I don’t think we crossed paths before in work or just around town. So yes, this was the first time.
Moderator So, did that make it easier when you met each other, was it easier to get to know her and get to have a working relationship with her?
B. Redford Yes, I think we got along really well from the very beginning. We knew right away we were going to be able to work together really easily, and we had a good chemistry together onset. So, everything went really smooth there, and it’s continued to go really well. I love to work with Alex. She’s got great instincts and what’s she’s doing is no easy feat, pulling off two characters on the same series. It’s pretty fun to watch her do what she does.
Moderator My second question for you was, are you more like the character you play in real life, or is he different from you?
B. Redford Yes, there are some similarities that I guess are already there, that were written I suppose. It’s kind of a difficult question to always answer because I kind of try to merge myself and put myself in the character’s shoes as much as I can, so we’re already going to have some similarities. I’d say just off the page Ethan has a really strong sense to protect his friends, protect those that he’s close to and his loved ones. I think I do that as well in life. I’m really quick to stand up for people that are in my circle. I think that’s a big part of Ethan’s makeup.
Moderator I was wondering if you have a favorite scene or a memorable moment or something that’s been filmed so far that you could tell us a little bit about?
B. Redford Oh, man. Gosh, there’s been a lot. Well, there’s a lot. I’m just going tell you one off the top of my head. They’ve had me training on some motorcycles lately, like dirt bikes and motorcycles, because Ethan rides several bikes in addition to his Jeep. So, they had a scene just the other night where I was coming out to have a rather serious conversation with Emma, and I’m just kind of like cruising through the desert on my dirt bike at night. I pull up to her, it’s just one of those scenes, you kill the engine, you hop off your bike, and pull your helmet off and the wind is blowing. It was pretty fun. It felt pretty epic.
Moderator Only one episode’s aired so far, so I’m not sure how often this will occur, but when you have scenes with Alexandra, do you have issues at all, like keeping track of whether you’re talking with Emma, or whether you’re talking with Sutton?
B. Redford So far that hasn’t been a problem at all, because most of my stuff with Sutton is through Skype conversations. So, I know that if I’m talking to Alexandra in the flesh, it’s going to be Emma. I’ll say so far. That may change.
Moderator Do you try and watch your finished works, or do you prefer not to?
B. Redford No, I actually prefer to watch what I’ve done. It takes a lot of work to put all of this stuff together. I mean, I know I put a lot of my time into each role that I do, so I’m very interested to see the finished product, and I think you can also learn from it. I think I like to see a scene and say, “Well, I did that well,” or see something and pinpoint something I could work on. So, I think, for me, it’s important to watch my work. Yes.
Moderator You already went back in time and gave yourself advice, but if you could give Ethan one piece of advice, what would it be?
B. Redford If I could give Ethan one piece of advice, I guess I’d say don’t get so excited by the hot, mean girl, because when you’re young they can seem more attractive than they are, and then they end up hurting you. That’s what I would say.
Moderator We were just wondering over here, of all the characters on the show, why do you think it’s Ethan who questions Sutton’s identity, who is really Emma?
B. Redford Well, I think part of it is attributed to the fact that she can take a guess at how she was supposed to respond to her parents and her friends, but a big thing is that Ethan, she had not idea she was supposed to be romantically involved with him. So, that was going to be a huge, red flag. I mean, even though him and Sutton had a secret relationship, it would be like you showed up to school one day to give your boyfriend a hug behind the bleachers, and he walked right by you and didn’t even look at you. So, it was just an immediate glitch in the switch that they did.
Moderator If Sutton ever comes back, we definitely see some sort of triangle between Sutton, Emma, and Ethan.
B. Redford Absolutely. Yes, Ethan and Sutton are still together, that’s his girl. He’s worked himself into an interesting situation with these two.
“The Lying Game” is on ABC Family, Mondays 9/8c
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